Diversity Dialogue brought to you by your NADTA Cultural Humility, Equity and Diversity Committee...

Big D, Little d – What Does this Mean for Me?

Sunday, March 24th at 5 PM EST/2 PM PST
With Kamran Afary, Kristin Long, and Amy Rubinger

Please provide 72 hours notice for interpretation or any specific accommodations needed for access to this online call.


Many people have never considered deafness when thinking about culture. Deaf culture does exist, and a part of understanding this is distinguishing between the two separate spellings of the word "deaf."  Deaf with a capital D means a person identifies as a member of the Deaf community. "Small d" deaf means a person is deaf or hard of hearing (hh), but doesn’t identify with all the aspects of Deaf culture, including the primary use of American Sign Language as a form of communication. 

This discussion will include basic information about Deaf culture, including a brief introduction to Deaf poetry. Working with Sign Language Interpreters and Deaf patients in medical settings will be reviewed. Also we will offer a general understanding of best practices for hearing therapists working with Deaf persons and Sign Language Interpreters, and allow plenty of time for questions, concerns, and stories!


Kamran Afary is an Assistant Professor of Intersectional Identities and Relationships and a recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Lecturer Award at Cal State LA. He is the author of Performance and Activism: Grassroots Discourse after the Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992 (Lexington Books 2009). He is a member of the Cultural Humility, Equity, and Diversity Committee in the North American Drama Therapy Association and has taught interpersonal communication to prisoners and worked extensively with Middle Eastern and South Asian refugee-immigrant populations. He is currently working collaboratively on a book manuscript about the diaspora journeys of Iranian-Americans. Afary received his PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Kamran has navigated hearing loss in personal relationships and public spaces such as education and clinical settings since he was a teen. He's excited to be part of this Equity Call dialogue. 

Kristin Long, RDT/BCT, LCAT, LP (Licensed Psychoanalyst),  has a full-time private practice in New York City working with children, adolescents, families, and adults. As a graduate of the Institute for Expressive Analysis, she currently serves on the Board of Directors as Public Relations/Membership Chair and is faculty member/supervisor at the postgraduate institute where she teaches classes on the therapeutic use of the body, and ways to integrate expressive arts with psychoanalysis.  She has taught Expressive Therapy with Children at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.  Kristin has completed training as an EMDR practitioner from the Parnell Institute and has a specific interest in the non-verbal transmission of intergenerational trauma.  She’s presented nationally and internationally on the importance of attunement within relational dyads, specifically around adolescent and parent/infant treatments.  

Prior to her private practice, Kristin worked as a Deaf Rehab Counselor after completing the Drama Therapy program at NYU.  She also taught American Sign Language to parents and infants through the Music Therapy program ‘Baby Fingers’.  Kristin co-founded Sign of the Times Theater Company in 1997, a NYC based children’s theater program that produced works in ASL and spoken English. 

Amy Rubinger graduated from LaGuardia Community College’s interpreter training program in 2000, and has been working as a professional Sign Language Interpreter for 19 years.

She holds a B.A from SUNY Oneonta in Speech/Communications and Theatre; as well as two national interpreter certifications –

CI (Certificate of Interpretation) and CT (Certificate of Transliteration).

Amy works primarily as an educational interpreter at a college. She interprets often in the mental health field, vocational rehab, professional conferences, and medical environments. Amy has interpreted on stage at the NYC Women’s March 2017, 2018, and 2019; as well as coordinated interpreting services for events surrounding the March.

Amy coordinates a mentorship program focusing on the support and further development of newer Sign Language Interpreters. She is also mentor, a workshop leader and was a guest lecturer at SUNY Oneonta as part of their Alumni of Distinction series.

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