About Us

Illinois Association of the Deaf (IAD) is Illinois’ leading civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing Illinoisans.

Established in 1877, the IAD was shaped by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the state level. These beliefs remain true to this day and inspire those who continue to protect and advance the interests of the Illinois deaf and hard of hearing community.

IAD is committed to addressing numerous advocacy causes, including early intervention, education, employment, healthcare, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership and more. The IAD carries out its statewide advocacy work through coalition efforts with deaf and hard of hearing organizations, as well as coalitions representing cross-disability organizations.

On the national front, the IAD represents deaf and hard of hearing Illinoisans to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the nation’s the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.

The IAD is managed by its board of directors, composed of its officers (elected at the Biennial Conference), chapter representatives and representatives for affiliated organizations. Individual and organizational membership makes it possible for the IAD to ensure that the collective interests of the Illinois deaf and hard of hearing community are seen and represented among our state’s policy makers and opinion leaders at the federal level.

The IAD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by the generosity of individual and organizational donors.


IAD strives to promote advancement of the social, educational, and economic well-being of the deaf and hard of hearing citizens of Illinois.


IAD advocates for equality, full communication access, and cultural preservation of the deaf and hard of hearing people in Illinois.