News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 27, 2008

ISU to host several disability awareness events in March

TERRE HAUTE — March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana, and Indiana State University is sponsoring and hosting a variety of activities to support and raise awareness.

Activities are sponsored by Indiana State’s Blumberg Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Special Education in conjunction with Cunningham Memorial Library.

The monthlong series of activities kicked off Monday with the showing of the film “Children of a Lesser God,” sponsored by the President’s Commission on Enhancement of Diversity Resources and the library.

The film was shown in advance of Marlee Matlin’s appearance at Indiana State next Monday, March 3, as part of the University Speakers Series.

In the 1986 film, Matlin plays Sarah Norman, a deaf and troubled young woman working at a school for the deaf and hard of hearing in New England. An energetic new teacher, James Leeds (played by William Hurt), encourages her to set aside her isolated life of frustration by learning how to talk. As she already uses sign language, Sarah resists James’ attempts to get her to talk.

Romantic interest develops between James and Sarah and they are soon living together, but their differences and stubbornness eventually strain their relationship to a breaking point.

Matlin received worldwide critical acclaim for her motion picture debut in Paramount Pictures’ “Children of a Lesser God,” earning her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

At age 21, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar, making her one of only four actresses to receive that honor for a film debut. In addition to the Oscar, Matlin was honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.

The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in Cunningham Memorial Library, with a discussion following the film led by Tracy Haupt, a teacher of the hearing-impaired with the Covered Bridge Special Education District.

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