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.

The mission of to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights and quality of life of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the state of South Dakota. Furthermore, to furnish advocacy, aid and resources by all possible means to deaf and hard of hearing citizens of South Dakota and to encourage cooperation among all diverse organizations of deaf and hard of hearing citizens in the said State.


The South Dakota Association of the Deaf, Inc., (SDAD) is a statewide nonprofit organization serving the deaf and hard of hearing South Dakota citizens and their families. Established in 1900, SDAD has advocated for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing persons so that they can more fully participate in all aspects of society and life – without barriers. SDAD is committed to opening the doors of opportunity to deaf and hard of hearing people living in South Dakota. SDAD also promotes activities where deaf and hearing people can come together to learn about, understand, and value each other.

SDAD is a state association affiliated with the National Association of the Deaf.