There is an enormous untapped talent pool of fully functioning individuals, says Shireen Hafeez, founder of Deaf Kids Code. Deaf people are currently caught in the school to couch cycle, and Shireen discusses how we can help these fully functioning individuals break this cycle and assimilate into the work force.

Shireen Hafeez is the founder of Deaf Kids Code. Her root in Deaf causes goes back to the diagnosis of her own son. She spent many years being involved with heavy advocacy and activism on a variety of levels that have included efforts in lobbying for insurance companies to cover hearing aids for babies and children diagnosed. She has been a guest lecturer at Purdue University for years, and has served on the boards for several organizations; which support this population.

She embarked on a new initiative aimed specifically to impact the severe unemployment/ underemployment gap in the deaf/hard of hearing community. She started this nonprofit organization to help students and educators realize that computing skills will shatter the barriers that have prevented those from obtaining full economic and social participation. Based on the first principle that the ‘digital age is the great equalizer’, she considers herself an ‘itinerant STEAM stimulator’. Traveling around from various regions

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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