13 March 2012

Paper on Deafness

Wrote this in 2008, for a class

The Many Aspects of the Deaf World

                Children, hearing or deaf, tend to thrive more equally in the Deaf community than in the Hearing community.  Hearing parents teach hearing children to speak as they do and they have a tendency to try the same thing on their deaf children.  The problem there is that English is an auditory language, it takes years to master for hearing children, for deaf children it can be an impossible wall leaving them unable to communicate effectively with their families and peers.  On the other hand, hearing children born to deaf parents can learn right along with deaf children born to deaf parents.  That is because ASL is a visual language, you don’t need to be able to speak or hear to absorb ASL.  The road block hearing children of deaf parents have to deal with is speech development which is easily rectified with exposure to hearing people and possible speech therapy.  The hearing children of deaf parents end up fluent in two languages while the deaf children of hearing parents struggle to communicate with others.
                This isn’t always the case, and just as there are hearing people who only expose their deaf children to auditory language there are some in the Deaf community who refuse or are unable to expose their hearing children to other hearing people.  Growing up in any of these situations  doesn’t mean they won’t succeed in life, on the contrary, depending on the child’s abilities, a deaf child may thrive in an English only setting or a hearing child may thrive in a deaf only setting.  No one method is the absolute method, each child is different and maybe they will be okay in even the rashest situations.

Other Accommodations for the Deaf

                The Deaf community has the unfortunate reality of living in a world not created for their needs.  Telephones, alarms, doorbells, and many other necessary items have been modified over the years to make them accessible to the Deaf community.  The first example is the telephone.  Originally a solely auditory system, it now has TTY which makes it possible for deaf or hard of hearing people to use them.  Another modification that benefits the deaf community is the ability to text message with cell phones, now they can communicate with friends and family where ever they are.  Alarms and doorbells have changed to suit the Deaf community as well.  When the doorbell rings and when the alarm clock goes off in the morning flashing lights can be an effective method of alerting people.  Another alarm clock method is a bed vibrator, shaking the bed to wake up its occupant.  Some in the Deaf community acquire hearing dogs, which basically follow the same concept as seeing eye dogs.  They alert their owners to things that the owner can’t readily observe-a ringing phone, a knock on the door, a crying baby, even the smell of smoke while the owner is asleep.  These types of accommodations allow Deaf people the ability to live independently.  

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