If you have something that makes you different from the people around you, it is possible that you will isolate yourself from them and withdraw both physically and emotionally. Especially, if this is a trait that is noticeable and can cause others to ridicule you or to be uncaring.
That happens frequently, with people who are deaf.
Because they cannot understand what is fully happening around them, and others are not able to communicate easily to them, they withdraw.
Hearing people in their ignorance, act a certain way or might do things like turn their backs or faces away when communicating with someone who has a hearing impairment.
However, when they are around others who share their disability, are from the Deaf community and know of their experience, they come out of their shell. That is why it is important and common for people of similar life experiences to cleave together.
You see this with addiction groups and people of ethnic similarities.
Learn About the Deaf Community
Just as how people from the same country huddled in the same towns and villages, for many centuries after they migrated to a new country, deaf people do the same now. Regardless of their ethnic background, you can find many deaf people forming a tight knit community, in the cities and towns across the country
They are fiercely supportive of each other.
What Does it Mean to be Deaf?
A person who loses their hearing is described as being deaf. The same is said for those who are born deaf. They can also be described as hearing impaired.
Not everyone, who is called deaf, is actually legally deaf. They might just have different degrees of hearing loss or are hard of hearing. So, they will require hearing devices to help them hear better. Or many cannot hear at all and need to learn sign language and lip reading.
Who Makes Up the Deaf Community?
If you make reference to a culture or community of these people, then you use a capital “D.” However, if you are only referring to the medical condition, you use a common “d.”
The Deaf Community includes a number of professionals and family members of people who are deaf. So that means sign language teachers, sign language interpreters, children and parents of deaf people. And these are generally people that can hear very well.
However, this community includes those who have the same experiences, beliefs or values.
The Language of the Deaf
Typically, people who have a hearing impairment, communicate using Sign Language (SL). This is the dominant feature of the Deaf culture, their language.
Looking on, this can seem like un-meaningful gestures, if you are not familiar. However, every hand movement, hand shape and hand gesture has a meaning. There are hand shapes for every letter of the alphabet and words as well.
It is not only English speakers that use sign language, but there is typically a form of sign language for every culture or region. These include:
- American Sign Language (ASL)
- Brazilian Sign Language
- British Sign Language (BSL)
- French Sign Language (FSL)
- Japanese Sign Language
- Jamaican Sign Language (JSL)
- Tibetan Sign Language (TSL)
There are numerous types of sign language and you can review a list of them here.
American Sign Language
People in Canada and the United States use American Sign Language. These gestures are powerful and are sometimes rooted in different dialects, poetry or history.
The language is so diverse, that you can travel to different parts of the US, and they have their own gestures or depiction of a sign, for the same words. It is similar to our spoken accents. You can distinguish an American, different from someone from London or another from the Caribbean, by their accent.
Because of this, many are not in agreement to accepting or wearing a cochlear implant. Because it will not provide for the Deaf Community to have these continued distinctions.
How Do Members of the Deaf Community See Themselves
It is an interesting fact, that people who are from the Deaf community do not view each other as having a disability. This is why they react so strongly to being discriminated against and treated differently. Even though it is a physiological difference, they do not think of themselves or their members differently from those who can speak.
Just as how people have different hair color, are of different height and have different eye color, so it is with not being able to ear.
Hearing people could learn a lesson from the positive force exuded by the Deaf community.
They are united, strong together and they have one language. Wherever there is a Deaf community, they share these similarities. And just as how the wider society have differences and form communities around these differences, so do deaf people.
Members of the Deaf community are also very social.
They often hang out together. They work together and raise awareness about their community, because majority of deaf children, have hearing parents. And if parents don’t have the necessary resources for their children, the kids can struggle.
So you will find many deaf schools, deaf awareness and education groups and deaf religious organizations in America.