Born at Onitsha, Nigeria; deaf at age 4 from unknown causes. Attended regular hearing schools until age 14 in 1968, when civil war broke out in his region as it attempted to break away from Nigeria to become the independent country of Biafra. Atuonah was involuntarily impressed into the Biafran rebel army despite his deafness, and fought for 2 years until the civil war finally ended with a cease-fire in January 1970. He and his surviving family coped with hardships during the war and its ruined aftermath. He returned to high school and graduated, but was denied admission to the University of Nigeria because of his deafness. He learned about Gallaudet College and entered there in 1977, graduating 1981. Teacher and collaboration specialist in the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School for the Deaf. Married Sanremi LaRue.
World Around You, Jan./Feb. 1999, p.8-10.