Essay about American Sign language

Submitted By sje916
Words: 2843
Pages: 12

SILA 306 ASL 2

What is Deafhood as respecting in the deaf culture? Deafhood is a term that loosely means a Deaf person finding and understanding their Deaf culture. This is not a static term and it usually refers to a process by which a Deaf person must go through in order to discover themselves and their roles in the Deaf community. Deafhood is a word that was coined by the author of Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, by Paddy Ladd. With regards to deafness, the people of the past felt lost or upset with being deaf. The families of the deaf would force their children to go to a hearing school and assimilate with their culture. Schools would have to put labels on the children’s clothing to differentiate them. I think that these measures would make a child uncomfortable with his deafness. There were not many schools that a child can have access to so it would be understandable that the child will feel frustrated with himself about his situation. Ladd’s book asserts that deafness is a positive thing and that one should embrace their deafness. On a similar note, the deaf should not consider their inability to hear as a disease or handicap that needs to be cured. Deafhood is the understanding of how remarkable it is to be Deaf and be okay with that. These days with the internet and technology, it is easy for a child and his family to find a community near them. It is a lot easier to have a deaf person reach Deafhood, much like a normal child would reach adulthood. I believe that children and many deaf people today embrace their deafness. Their attitudes are now more optimistic and they are proactive in the community. Laws and measures also help the deaf gain equal footing in education with hearing. As we progress toward providing more rights to the Deaf, I think the deaf community will find more ways to share their experiences and have a better attitude on being Deaf. The hearing community looked at deafness as an impediment that needs to be removed. The success of cochlear implants was something that the hearing community hailed. When it was met with opposition, the hearing turned its head on the Deaf and criticized them for not wanting to be cured. The Deaf differentiate between the physical disability as deafness, and a mental disability. They argue that rather than being mentally disabled, they are just part of “linguistic and cultural minority” and should not be lumped together with others of more serious handicaps. Many Deaf people strong oppose cochlear implant surgeries citing that there are no significant benefits to their overall being. There is a surrogate making decisions for most recipients of the surgeries—children. Also they feel that the Deaf people did not get a choice in making medical decisions. They disregard, and often disprove, of what the Deaf children need to have a fulfilling life. They stand in solidarity with those who are part of the Disability Rights Movement because they also face similar stigmas. There are several areas in which the Deaf wish to have rights to—language, fundamental human rights, drive, marry and raise a family, work, dignity for women and minorities and social services. Along with these rights, the Deaf seek to have teachers who can communicate with their children and have sign language provided along with regular languages for the Deaf. In terms of deaf culture, I feel it is quite similar to the attitudes towards deafness itself. Perhaps people in the past felt that they were alone or did not have any means to preserve and make their own culture. When schools began opening up in various parts of the world, the Deaf really felt that they had their own physical communities. Clubs, theater groups, sports clubs and political organizations began springing up everywhere. This really helped the Deaf community come together and feel a sense of pride in what is uniquely deaf culture. This also allowed people to accept and understand what it really