Natchitoches native is deafness advocate, success story


Simona Blackshear Robinson is the daughter of Roy Blackman and Debra Spans. Born in Natchitoches, Robinson was raised by her grandparents, George and Bernice Holden, is married to Christopher Robinson and has a young son, Jace.
She attended North Natchitoches Elementary School and Natchitoches Jr. High where, as a deaf student, some teachers provided sign language to communicate with her. She transferred to the Louisiana School for the Deaf (LSD) in Baton Rouge and gained a new perspective and understanding of deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL).
Robinson chose to go to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID)/Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, N.Y., because of her desire for a better education and job opportunities. She graduated with an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Administrative Support Technology from NTID in May 2015 and a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and Arts from RIT in May 2017. “I realized that it is a blessing to expand my educational experiences and opportunities while studying at the NTID/RIT in New York state,” she said.  

This article published in the May 26, 2022, print edition

Robinson had jobs in several states due to her management skills and experience. She has been employed at the Massachusetts/Maine Navy Shipyard for over two years.
There are many obstacles in her path, such as deafness and lack of educational opportunities.  
Robinson said, “I do not let anyone oppress me or stop me from learning. I truly thank my mentor and college professors for motivating me and encouraging me to work hard and finish college. I can accomplish anything.”
Robinson is an example of why education is imperitive for deaf people to enjoy the same opportunities as their hearing peers. Teachers need to have the appropriate education and training in ASL and education of deaf students.