SDAD History

The history of the South Dakota Association of the Deaf (SDAD) can be traced as far back as 1899. At that time, a number of former South Dakota School for the Deaf students and graduates expressed a desire to hold a reunion for the purpose of social enrichment and to deliberate on matters pertaining to the progress and welfare of SDSD in particular and Deaf America in general. This expressed became a reality in the summer of 1900, when SDSD alumni gathered at the school campus with this purpose in mind.

"The Board of Charities and Corrections, through Superintendent James Simpson, kindly invited the former pupils to hold their gathering in this city (Sioux Falls) as guests of the school." (The South Dakota Advocate).

During this gathering, regular daily meetings were held and questions of interest and importance were discussed. A permanent organization was formed, titled the South Dakota Association for the Advancement of the Deaf (SDAAD) with a standard constitution and bylaws. The fundamental mission of the organization - which continues to this day - was to safeguard the civil rights of all deaf South Dakotans. Charles Loucks, a former SDSD student, presided over this first collective meting.

The second reunion was held on the SDSD campus four years later, in 1904 and it was at this time when resolutions were passed to incorporate the Association under the laws of the state.

SDAD, an affiliated chapter of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), is the oldest and largest consumer organization of, for and by deaf and hard of hearing people in South Dakota. SDAD is committed to empowering and enriching the deaf and hard of hearing community by increasing opportunities conductive to a self-sufficient, positive and productive life.