Archive | 5:44 AM

Deaf Culture or Disability?

9 Mar

I thought about it overnight, and decided this situation is different from race or sexuality.  I am taking a harder line.  Yes, the general public should try to be be inclusive of hard of hearing people and recognize and appreciate deaf culture.  BUT deafness is a disability.  It receives funding as a disability and is under the American’s with Disabilities Act.   Being such, it is less like a minority difference and more like a handicap or disease.  And if there’s a cure for a disease or handicap–without question it should be utilized.

As with anything, education is probably the answer to this controversy.  I will say it–this is a controversy in the first place because of ignorance.  Lack of education (ie ignorance) breeds fear.  Deaf people need better schools.  They need to know, not only how to read a standard newspaper (grade 5 skills) but how to interpret a recipe, do math, and analyse situations.  Deaf culture rails so hard against scientific progress because of unreasonable fear.  That is fine.  It is understandable.  But it is also unacceptable to deny children the ability to hear and have greater opportunity in life because of a fear of losing deaf culture.

Deaf children eligibal to receive cochlear implants should get them–and as early as possible so they can develop the speech sound skills of their peers.  Then, later on, they can learn sign language as a second language.  Their parents can teach them what deaf culture is all about.  And deaf people should be inclusive as well, and not stigmatize those with implants.