“We must have the spiritual audacity to assert our somebodyness.”

~ Martin Luther KingJr

heye all

Warning – my spell check is not working (OMG pure badness) and im in a rush so im sure LOTS of typos and incoherence in places – will try to tidy it up later

wow wee – the Deaf world is a rumbling

& when we say world – we truly mean world – as in global as big ole marble called the planet earth (geez i wish we would take better care of her)

LIS issue art by Ramon Woolfe

so what am i talking about re: the Deaf world – no i aint gabbering about Ms. Marlee and what she done right and didnt do right.  It aint that i dont care about her its just YAWN – i am not a reality tv show kinda gal.  and i am not a celebrity click click click chick either – ie i didnt even know that Prince whatever oh william got married until i saw it on FB

re: Marlee – all i got to say is GET YOURSELF to the Tilden Walk/Run for Deaf Humanity – if u got another gig that day at least get a bunch of sponsors to toss some money there way – u r very persuaive.  Im sure that trump would be happy to write a check or two in ur name.  Starkey – NO THANKS.  Seriously girl.  Divest urself from that mess.  they do  not need u and u do not need them.  Eject, eject.

now the Deaf-World a rocking

well folks its largely due to the fact that the 2nd wave of Oralism (“WTF – not again” we say – wasn’t once enuf?) is full-force now – at least it is picking up steam and making itself a bit more OVERT and BUSTABLE.  Mask has come down here and there and we r seeing the wicked witch behind the scenes.

now by Oralism we mean – a system, practice and belief that to TALK is superior to signing and thus BANS signing.  and this belief and attitude is RAMPANT and has been for a mighty bloody long time and all it has left it its wake is:

– some folks who can yap (yaddy hoo ha so what)

NOTE: i can hear and speak a great deal – it is no big deal.  it just is.  the problem is not with what a person can or does not do – the problem is how the person is treated because they can or don’t – that there is the issue and ORALISM is an extreme approach that EXCLUDES sign language from the living rooms, classrooms, and lunch rooms of Deaf kids and that aint cool.

– some folks who yap but ouchie on the ears (they are unintelligible to the average uninitiated listener but they 1. dont know it or 2. cant stop it cuz they have been co0nditioned “ordered to speak” – see peter cook’s cool poem on this subject – yes he too is a survivor of oral / only ism.  WTF u say – this guy whose bread and butter is ASL performance was raised oral / aural only  YEP!   odd, eh?)

– some folks where physically, emotionally, culturally, spiritually HURT on the way to the quest for the near hearing-like existence (wrapping of hands with rulers – knuckles or palms, hands bound, kneeling while hold stacks of books, SOLITARY CONFINEMENT – this was a popular one – little black rooms or moprooms, badges for good speech, points docked for bad speech or for signing, sitting in the corner little jackie and jillie horner why? cuz u did what came naturally – u pointed, u gestured, u disobeyed, naughty naughty etc etc)

still happens today folks – dont tell me it dont.  i thought it didnt but reports from Deaf oral school survivors tell me they get punished for pointing at a poster (all together now folks WTF!) and they are forbidden to sign or gesture during lunch – YES this is happening in 2011 in the US of A.  so how is that for OPTIONS folks

(for one near u – see map of options schools – meaning a program that actively DENIES a Deaf child the option of gesturing or signing even during lunch or while walking down the hall)


educational systems that basically CREATE feral children – WTF folks!

so pls do NOT confuse the ability to speak or having been raised orally with U being oralism.  U r not what u were raised

ORALISM is the system.  Folks who oppose oralism are NOT opposing u.  They are not even opposing your parents, they are not even opposing your teachers – they are saying the SYSTEM of Oralism sucks and #ucks with u and should STOP

its inhumane

so hear it comes again (the system is messing up your mind an fillin up your senses with a bunch of crap)

don’t believe me – well skeptism can be good at times but down right IGNORNACE s not cool and DENIAL SUCKS (yes i see u naysayers – lord u r tiresome and so so so out of tune with reality)

so proof that the 2nd wave is a cometh and we r not just hollow may 21st town cryers:

1. AVT audioverbal therapy is the rave even though it has been around since the 1970s and hasnt improved Deaf kids literacy skills or mainstreamability


and the byproducts of AVT often remark on how much they hated it.  some even cringe when u mention that wittle fan thingy that u hold up over the lips so the acoustics come through but no cheating but usiing ur eyes to lip read (yes they actual manufactor and SELL such a “device” but others use their hands to cover their lips – yes irony of irony – u cant point or gesture but the oral pathologist CAN use her/his hand to DENY u even a smudgeon of access via ur eyes by covering ur lips)  ahhhh torture in the 21st century

who said water boarding was not legal?

its for their own good – its “therapy”

oh really so why do so many byproducts of this therapy need THERAPY later?

2. cochlear implants are RAMPANT and there are problems

big problems folks – recalls, lemons, infections, deaths, explanting, re-implanting, effacicy?, data problems – like why dont they work consistently, reliably and well?

Yeah sure they got some star pupils who get lots of PERKS in exchange for their promotion of the device but there are far more who have had less then stellar and less than luke warm results

why isnt anybody tracking the rate in which folks JUNK their CI?

and how does one JUNK their CI when it is inside their HEADS?

headaches, dizzyness, skin breakdown, magnet dissenigration, LANGUAGE DEPRIVATION (say the word “hotdog” say the word baseball” but mommy i want to say I Love you in ASl and i want to say #uck off to the oral pathologist (ie SLP)

The Scream by Edvard Munch (nothing to do with Deaf folks yet everything to do with us "Ice SCREAM"

but i cant cuz she keeps smiling at me with th creepy RED lipstick im not allowed to lip read and the freaky monkey in the audiologist booth is creeping me out and … ok ok “icecream”  – i sssssssccccccccrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmm

3. Deaf schools – the Auditory Industrial Complex is taking them over.  if the govt aint trying to close them down due to budget cuts, the AIC are trying to rule them.  See Brazil, Newfoundland Canada, NY 4201, Indiana, etc etc

now dont think this is crazy talk well take a look at how Wisc had an ORAL school law – thank u Frank Booth (a CODA himself – yep wolves in sheep clothing we got! see AG Bell)   See PA push for Oral only.  When they didnt legislate it formally they institituted it De Facto

and hence we had the reign of error for a might long time across the globe.  Since it was an abysmal failure after a hundred years +, signing got reintroduced but in very BIZARRE and unacademically sound forms – SEE, SEE II, Sim-Com, LOVE, MCE, Cued Speech – u name it crude and yuck.

Sure there too were some success stories but all these WEE successes are largely attributed to:

parental involvement

love of reading

there are a million other factors like social economic background, education level of parents, geography, time periof birth, etc etc but the 2 above are the biggy – dont matter what language u r gonna use or DENY

now back to the point of DENYING – it is WRONG to deny sign language to Deaf kids.  plan and simple  ICED 2010 New Era and Accord of the Future clearly states that so STFU and stop that #hit NOW

no more shoving it into legislation and school board etc

EHDI – we have to watch this BIG time folks HUGE TIME
see France – they are NOT happy

EHDI is being used and abused as a gateway mandate to implanting and oral/aural only

they will only relinquish their choke hold on the children until they are beyond repair ie a failure then they will send them ur way and u have to try to undue the damage of language deprivation POST- the window of acquisition (about 5 yrs old)

#uck – havent we been there and done that?

yes sure some CI work well and help the kids talk and hear ALOT

but they are still WORKING for their words and there are still RISKS with CI soooo why all these efforts when there is something that they are entitled to

why DENY?

that must be looked at folks – look at it hard

i aint saying deny the kids a right to listen or speak – i am saying DO NOT deny them the right to sign

do NOT

yet we do all day and every day and in every way – slap, hit, yell, isolate, accommodate, regulate, click on and off (yes CI are now operated by remote control by the parents and teachers)

4. Legislation – Language and the Right to be … Deaf

Italy has the insanity to try to demote Italian Sign Language (LIS) to a Language of Mime and Gestures (LMG)

and who is pushing for this demotion?  FIADDA (an AG Bell-like Italian organization)


everybody now – WTF



UK – already passed legislation saying u can not implant a gamet that u know to be Deaf

Tracking mandates – states across the US demand bloodwork on infants to track them re: Deaf genes

CDC and NIH have some MAJOR creeply language when it comes to discussing Deaf babies and people

so those are the WTFs – there are more but im getting depressed so lets move on to the Ya Hoos shall we?


folks are waking up

i LOVE the Deaf community

i love ya – i really do.  u rock. when u r pissed – geez u get busy (yes i know that it takes alot to get u pissed and this is unfortunate but when u wake up u really do WAKE the #uck up so lets just focus on that – the positive)

LIS Si LMG No  – wow im speechless but thankfully we r not signless

see grumpy old deafies (TU Alison Bryan!!!)

see Respect and Recognize Global Signing Community (TU Amy Cohen Efron)

see Stop the Discrimination about the world of the deaf!

– NAD – National Association of the Deaf

the NAD is rocking the house.  I know i know they aint answered Joey Baer yet that i know of but they have been doing MORE than just advocating for captioning lately.  Do do?

– STRONG letter re: John T. Williams murder by a Seattle Police officer – family won $1.5million in civil settlement

– Postion on Deaf schools – see their posts and Howard Rosenblum (CEO) vlog

– Letter re: LIS situation

– Rosenblum and Shane Feldman attend LIS protest at Italian Embassy in DC

and more – ya hoo!

NOTE: Rosenblum has only been CEO since APRIL – this is rocking folks!

– CSD Fremont new supt

seriously how did that third choice get in there.  just safety issues alone – come on! but u took care of it.  good for u – fingers crossed for the best. and GEEZ where are the ladies????   come on Deaf-world start grooming and empoweringDeaf Women.  if this is gonna forever be an Old White Boys network – you are loosing more than HALF of your potential – Deaf Women and Deaf folks of Color (Male and Female) rock – just start creating worthy opportunities and selecting worthy candidates

– Indiana School for the Deaf

oh please that is just so lame and wrong – the appointment of three folks who are CLUELESS about bilingualism-biculturalism and endorse and support programs that EXCLUDE sign language.  UNQUALIFIED, UNQUALIFIED, UNQUALIFIED and insulting and unjust and wrong and geez governor Daniels! how about we put three people on your cabinent that no comprenda English and infact they think English is not a good idea for their own children – enjoy have fun and look forward to ur all working together.  im sure u will be able to accomplish alot together

Douglas Tilden Walk/Run for Deaf Humanity June 5, 2011

Cochlear Implant Petition

click, sign (u might have to register and click again), and circulate

AFA has been circulating this for a while but it was set up before some more friendlier online petition systems emerged so it has the same one up in – have over 2,000 signatures in the old form and hard copy.

Some of the signatories are big named Deaf and Hearing folks

the petition is just, right and fair.  some folks have been weary to sign – they say “its sticky”

they say cuz folks will think they are against CIs -and/or against folks who have CIs

Truth is – signing the petition shows that you CARE for folks who have CIs and you care about CIs – we need answers not ignornace, not denial, not heads in the sand.  There are problems with CI – that are not by and large horrific – THANKFULLY but they are present and some SYSTEMS are working MIGHTY hard to cover up these problems and working MIGHTY hard to sell these devices and make the govt foot the bill and soon they will be stripping away folks with CIs right to other accommodations because they will say – u can not have ur cake and eat it too.  Dont believe me?  it has already begun – i seen it and i aint lying.

We sign for them and for the future babies.  It is the right and just thing to do.

Pls sign and circulate to all ur friends and all ur hearing family members and…. on and on.  We do not want to look back at the end of this reign or error and see we did NOTHING!

– Upcoming Conferences and Activism

– Folks speaking out:

there are alot of amazing voices out there – in vlogs / in blogs etc etc but two blogs crossed me path that have alot of authenticity and make my heart sing

they make it ouch too cuz the truth does hurt sometimes but they r important – i hope u will read them

Abuse of Deaf people by Hearing Professionals

(TU mishkazena Elizabeth)

– Hey YOU!  YES, YOU!  (TU Deafjeff Jeffrey)

Nancy Rourke is pumping out great Deaf-centered Artwork (and no i aint just saying that cuz she saved me when i had dispair) She rocks – i said it before and ill say it again.  All artists that make works about us – affirmation and resistance totally feed my soul.  (the role of the artist is to disturb the peace ~ james baldwin. false peace he meant.  we r blessed to have many GREAT Deaf artists)

there are more rays of hope but the outdoors calls

Keep shining folks

Keep jumping at the sun

this is gonna be a LONG HARD haul

The Civil Rights Movement in the US took several decades and was several hundred years in the making

Do not dismay – truth and love win – think of it always (loosy paraphrased from Gandhi)

NOTE: this is not a place for bringing up other old issues or for dissing any of the above folks.  take it up in ur own spaces.

NOTE 2: i have named alot of folks here but there are MANY unsung heros – folks who drove hours to attend a rally on wed, folks who looked in basements for conulates, folks who wrote letters, folks who made vlogs, folks who uttered prayers, folks who took walks, folks who forwarded links, folks who woke up and said “what can i do?” and did something!

thank you – i see u


Patti Durr

Signmark – Against the Wall

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Don G.
    May 27, 2011 @ 15:37:33

    I love your plays on “Deaf” words. And the “freaky monkey in the booth”….. HA!

    Just one thing…. I think you meant to type “Munch”, not “muh” — had to work to figure that particular typo out!

  2. handeyes
    May 27, 2011 @ 15:43:58

    ohhhh bless u don
    yes u r so right – muh is a Deaf German community historian
    Munch – YES – ok im gonna run an fix. shhhhh dont tell anyone i blundered on an artists name – i like folks to think im perfect – HA.

    re: the monkey – well i have an original painting by Susan Dupor called pushed the red button – with Institution green background and frame and a million tiny holes pounded into it to simulate the audiology booth and there sits the mechanical / maniaical monkey – clapping the clangy things with his glass eyes starring.

    cant tell u how many folks from all over the globe get disturbed by it and say “i know that monkey”

    we all have survived that room

    geez why wont spell check work – dang my laptop crashed and im regulated to our clunker unit.

    thanks again don



  3. Dianrez
    May 27, 2011 @ 18:09:40

    What a massive rant, and resonating with many Deaf people the world over. Seriously, even though there are also many “oral successes” like yourself and Mishkazena, THANKS for beating the drum for the rest of us.

    Re. that cymbal-clanging monkey in sound booths: I never saw one of those as a kid. Instead, it usually would be a little bear with flashing red eyes, just as creepy in that strange environment.

    When I finally saw that monkey, it was a toy brought to my office by a coworker…apparently a gift to her child. It would bang cymbals, stop, and mechanically show teeth. Another coworker laughed and said “It’s making monkey noises. Eeep, eep, eep!” I thought: flashing lights, baring teeth, strange noises. No wonder HOH and Deaf kids would have bad memories. Hearing professionals can be SO clueless.

  4. Larry H.
    May 27, 2011 @ 23:04:20

    I am going asking to you, do you known all about this situation in before, uh-huh?

    “The Psychological World Of Deaf People”

    To begin this presentation we would like to point out that we have changed the name from Psychology of Deafness to the Psychological World of Deaf People. The wording may seem insignificant or not important, but if you analyze the impact words and labels we use have for people, then the significance is great. If we talk about deafness, we are viewing it as an illness, something to be cured; if we talk about psychology of deafness then we are looking at this from a pathological perspective, something that is wrong. But seeing it as the psychological world of deaf people we are viewing the world of people who are deaf and how their culture and world is defined and perceived.

    The psychological world of Deaf people.what is it – what type of world a world of visual language, culture, education, psychology, sociology, biased testing, pathological perspectives, oppression, prejudice, discrimination, stereotyping, linguistic centrism, audism, solidarity, customs, traditions, families, abuse, addiction, faith, amazing stories, authentic love, identity, a Deaf identity, and simply stated Deaf is a way of being.

    In viewing the psychological world of deaf people, we will explore various perspectives in this world; deaf people’s perspective of deaf people; deaf people’s perspective of hearing people; hearing people’s perspective of deaf people. As we begin this exploration into the Psychological World of Deaf People, basic information needs to be outlined; i.e. deaf versus Deaf, pathological/medical versus culture/cultural, and ethnocentrism and audism.

    When speaking about hearing loss or deafness, the world is full of myths. One in particular is “deaf and dumb” or “deaf – mute”. Many believe that if a deaf person cannot hear, he or she cannot speak. What about a person who lost his or her hearing at age 40? Is she or he already able to speak? Through speech therapy, people deaf from birth may be able to speak, perhaps the tone of voice and volume are not exactly the same as the hearing person’s, but sounds and speech are emitted. Language is not only the spoken word. It is a much broader concept that encompasses various channels through which we can communicate; including the senses, body gestures, movement, eyes, artistic expression, writing, signals, signs, etc. Hearing individuals often reduce these other avenues of language thus reducing the full potential to produce language in various channels, not only via the spoken word.

    For this presentation; Deaf compared with deaf, Deaf will encompass people who identify themselves as Deaf, use their native sign language, and embrace their own Deaf Culture.

    The lower case‘d’ of deaf denotes the absence of hearing; the medical diagnosis of deaf. As diverse as our world, our societies, our people are, so is the diversity of Deaf/deaf people; thus the psychological world is just as diverse.

    Deaf people, universally, comprise a complex, rich, and multi-faceted society. Just as each hearing person has unique, intrinsic qualities so do deaf people, whether the person is deaf, hard-of-hearing, hearing-impaired, or deaf-blind – all ‘deaf’ people bring some elements of homogeneity and heterogeneity to the arena of humanity.


    The term ‘deaf’ seems like a word that is easily understood and explained, but in reality, ‘deaf’ people are some of the most misunderstood people in society. Deafness can be viewed from two perspectives, pathological and cultural. The pathological perspective views deafness as an audiological deficit that needs to be repaired, something is wrong, something is broken, and therefore ‘impaired.’ The most intense and graphic example of deafness as a pathological condition was the eugenics and holocaust experiences of deaf people in 1930s – 1945. During this time frame, the passage of the Sterilization Law and the T4 Program were directly responsible for thousands of deaf people being forced to be sterilized or eradicated. The reason, they were deaf. Deafness in that place and time was seen as purely pathological and something that had to be erased.

    In the 21st Century, two constructs of deafness are dominant and compete for shaping deaf peoples’ destinies. The one construct is seen as deaf people in the category of disability; the other construct is deaf people as members of a linguistic minority. There is a practice of capitalizing Deaf when referring specifically to the second construct/category. In the disability construct, deafness is associated with the absence of hearing, silence, individual suffering, personal incapacities, and achievement in overcoming great obstacles. In the minority construct, deafness is associated with a unique language, history, culture, social group, and a set of social institutions. The first construct/category is governed by an audiologist criterion that decides which children will receive special education, consulting with audiologists. In most countries of the world, audiology and special education are intimately related; the role of special education is to achieve as far as possible what audiology and otology could not do minimize the child’s disability.

    The ‘labeling’ of the deaf child as disabled is legitimized early on by the medical profession and later by the special education and welfare bureaucracy. When the child is sent to a special school and obligated to wear cumbersome hearing aids, his or her socialization into the role of disabled person is promoted. In face to face encounters with therapists and teachers the child learns to cooperate in endorsing a view of him as disabled. Teachers label large numbers of these deaf children emotionally disturbed or learning disabled. The deaf child is then treated differently, placed in a less demanding academic program where he learns less, thus the label is self validating. In the end, the” troubled person’s industry” creates the disabled deaf person.

    From the vantage point of the cultures of Deaf communities, deafness is not a disability. British Deaf leader Dr. Paddy Ladd puts it this way: “We wish for the recognition of our right to exist as a linguistic minority group… Labeling us as disabled demonstrates a failure to understand that we are not disabled in any way within our own community” (Ladd, 2003)

    The troubled persons industry associated with deafness “the audist establishment” vigorously resists efforts to replace their construct of deafness. Audist policy is that Sign language is a kind of primitive prosthesis, a way around the communication impasse caused by deaf peoples’ disability.

    What constitutes the psychological well-being of a person? How do we define normal? What is normal? We define abnormal, but until we realize that ‘normal’ is largely connected with culture, language, societal norms, we tend to view people who do NOT fit into our culture, our language or our society as being ‘abnormal’ and/or psychologically impaired. However, there are bona fide diagnoses that do define abnormal behavior as measured using mental health standards. Does deafness adhere to these mental health measures? Do the psychological challenges/dilemmas that are within the D/deaf communities result from the pathological/medical issue of deafness or are the challenges/dilemmas within the D/deaf communities actually responses to years of frustration, prejudice, discrimination, paternalism from an outside, hearing population, the majority? Does different equal pathology?

    Dr Sussman and Brauer (1999) observe that psychotherapists, and in turn, societies in general, still pathologize deafness and are hard put to describe healthy deaf personalities. (Andrews, 2004). Our term ‘normalcy’ needs clarification. Where are D/deaf people on the standard bell-shaped curve that reflects our ‘average, ‘normal’, ‘non-deviant’?

    Exploring the psychological make-up of any individual, we have: parent/child relationships, attachment, physical characteristics, language and emotional development and sociological development. In parent/child relationships, approximately 90% of deaf children have hearing parents. Most hearing parents do not become fluent in sign language, the natural language of deaf people. Given the importance of communication for any relationship, the inability of a child to communicate effectively with a parent will compromise the relationship. Attachment with deaf people, deaf children, deaf infants; what is done to stimulate, foster, support and embrace the deaf person? The language development and literacy competency are directly related to the early intervention techniques used with deaf infants and children. Listening devices, hearing aids, cochlear implants do not make a deaf person become hearing. The assistive listening devices may enhance the residual hearing, but the devices do not make the deaf person hearing. Also, it is an erroneous assumption that those who learn speech-reading or lip-reading are proficient in literacy skills. Almost 2/3 of the 42 sounds of English are either invisible or look like some other sounds formed on the lips (Hardy, 1970), Literacy competency for deaf individuals is directly related to early intervention using native sign language, proficient signers, and signing linguists that teach using native sign language. All of the above directly relate and impact the psychological ‘make-up’ of a D/deaf person.

    Language and literacy; voicing and communication; linguistic centrism and audism, sign languages and speech-reading are aspects of psychology and D/deaf people. We as a society value the spoken language; as people we want to hear voice; we as society embrace linguistic centrism; we force the main language (spoken language) on a cultural group that use visual language (sign language). A component of the linguistic centrism influence is audism.

    Audism is a term used to describe discrimination or prejudice against deaf or hard of hearing people based on an auditory condition. We assume the culture of hearing people is superior to the culture of deaf or signing culture, or that deaf people are less capable (skilled, intelligent, etc) than hearing people. Audism accepts, unquestioningly, the attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of abilities based on auditory condition, a tendency to regard deaf persons as inferior, in need of medical intervention, unworthy of communication access, or unsuitable for employment.

    Language/Communication/Sign Language

    Culture and language are intertwined, especially within the Deaf Community. One of the components of Deaf Communities is sign language. But do all deaf people sign? No! Each person has their unique skills and talents for production and reception of language—THEIR language! But several things we DO know. From the perspective of American Sign Language, ASL, research has proven that ASL is a language with rules, grammar, syntax; a complete natural language, not like English. This research has been seen in many countries as well; Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Sweden, France, etc.

    In this brief presentation, one cannot present all the linguistic features of Sign Language, but a few that apply to the different languages in the world are: phonology, the simultaneous formation of a sign-handshape, location, motion, and palm orientation; morphology, the study of the smallest meaningful unit in language and how units are used to build new signs and words. In ASL, examples of morphemes are; summer, ugly, dry…location of the sign changes the meaning. Other elements of ASL linguistics, but definitely NOT the ALL of the linguistic structure are: temporal aspect (forms that are adjective and verbs, verb action is done TO time, i.e. ‘study continually’.), various types of classifiers, non-manual markers, eye gaze, facial expression, body shifts, and pauses. The linguistic features are numerous, and definitely Sign Language is a bona fide language!

    Linguists know that the brain has the capacity to acquire language, naturally, and pass the language to other people. This brain function happens whether it is a spoken language or a signed language. Many assumptions about sign languages have been debated, discussed, and researched.

    * Sign languages are pantomime—false.
    * Sign languages are highly pictorial or iconic – true.
    * Many people feel, therefore, that sign languages can only express concrete ideas – false. Some people also feel that sign languages are universal – false. Seeing all the interpreters working at this conference refutes that statement!
    * And last, many people feel that Sign Language is a primitive language, a lesser than Spoken type of communication system – false!

    Sign languages are not the same as spoken languages. Sign languages are languages with grammar, syntax, sentence structure and discourse…visual languages that are not spoken languages on the hands.

    How do we apply this to the psychological world of D/deaf people? What are the measures/characteristics/standards for recognizing the well-adjusted D/deaf person and removing the pathological view of psychology of D/deaf people?


    Self consciousness is an undeniable and inescapable attribute of all human beings. “Where did I come from?” “For what purpose do I exist?” So many of the unanswerable questions that come to mind of even young children, center on one’s sense of identity and his/her search for it. A person with a healthy sense of self can confront such questions, even as a child; and though unable to find answers, can accept the unanswered questions without inner turmoil, specifically when family and friends are supportive.

    There are many definitions of identity. “Oneness” and “unity and persistence of personality”. At the heart of a healthy perception of self is the sense of being “all together”. The expression “at one with one’s self”, which implies a healthy self awareness, meaning “to be comfortable in one’s skin”

    If a deaf person, child to adult, is viewed with the construct of disability, as one that cannot, they become very sensitive to the differences in what they can do and what hearing people can. They incorporate into their life the view of having limitations that exclude them. They become aware of the behavior of hearing persons that identify deaf person as different or inferior. All this takes a terrible toll on the self esteem and sense of personal identity.

    Is the acceptance dependent on WHO the individual person is as opposed to WHAT label a particular institution may place on that person? The Church has been a strong supporter of the worth of every individual, no matter what their status, class, ethnic identity or physical/intellectual capabilities. It is within that context that D/deaf people have the right to see themselves and celebrate themselves as fully human, fully capable of achieving goals, not to be restrained by artificial, oppressive, and ultimately false identities given to them by others.

    Self-concept, and self-esteem, self-image, are dependent on various factors. Bat-Chava (1993) has interpreted research findings in that the level of self-esteem is directly related to several variables, having deaf parents, communicating with one’s family using sign language, and using sign language in school (Bat-Chava, 1993 1994, 2000; Desselle & Pearlmutter, 1997)

    Characteristics of a Well-Adjusted Deaf Person

    How do healthy, well-adjusted Deaf people handle the “differentness” of being Deaf? The simple answer is they don’t. They don’t have to, because they are not different. Deaf people today define themselves as a cultural and linguistic minority. Yes, they speak a different language than do their neighbors, and they share a culture with each other, rich in poetry, art, social norms and every aspect of humanity that culture reflects. But having your own language and culture doesn’t make you more aware that you are different from people of other cultures. Language and culture are just aspects of existence. A fresh-water trout doesn’t feel the water around its body and notice how it isn’t salty, or wonder what it’s like to be a salt-water trout. Fresh water is that fish’s environment, as our language and culture are part of our environment.

    A Deaf person is like a member of any other linguistic minority dealing with life in the world. He socializes and lives with people who speak his language, and he deals with spoke language, and the majority culture, when he needs or wants to. No big deal

    We take the characteristics of a well-adjusted Deaf person (Dr. Allen E. Sussman) and apply them to our lives. We take the Hierarchy of Needs from Abraham Maslow and apply them to our lives and the lives of D/deaf people.

    From Dr. Allen E. Sussman, Professor Emeritus Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., the characteristics of a well adjusted Deaf Person are:

    * Positive self- concept and self- esteem
    * Positive psychological acceptance of deafness
    * Ability to effectively compensate for deafness
    * Ability to cope with negative and devaluative attitudes
    * Assertiveness
    * Ability to place speech ability in perspective
    * Ability to place residual hearing in perspective
    * Positive attitude towards sign language
    * Effective interpersonal relationship and social skills
    * Ability to be self-reliant
    * Ability to ask for and use assistance where and when appropriate
    * Ability to survive misguidance
    * Philosophical and unhostile sense of humor
    * Gemeinschaftsgefuhl (self-actualization)

    The Psychological World of Deaf People as perceived by Deaf people is often NOT the same as perceived by hearing people. Deaf people, generally, tend to see the cultural view, the linguistic richness of a signed language, the solidarity of a group of people sharing faith, sharing in the history of oppression, suppression, prejudice, and discrimination.

    Is there a Psychology of Deaf people… Deaf people have a different psyche than hearing people…..or is the Psychological World of Deaf People a world that strives to take the negativism, the pathological, ‘fix-me’ mode and convert the negativism to the “I Can”, “I Will”, “I am OK being Deaf”, World.

    The Psychological World of Deaf People is a world filled with possibilities, hopes, dreams, humor, language, skills, education, relationships, struggles, and solidarity. It is a world that is open for others to explore and embrace. It is a world that welcomes people who accept Deaf people for WHO they are, not WHAT they are. It is a world that is rich in culture. It is world that says, “We are here; we are of value; we are children of God; God makes no mistakes.” Cherish us, accept us and let us all embrace each other as God’s children.

    Suggestions for Successful Service to the Deaf Community

    For individuals and agencies who wish to best serve Deaf/deaf people and their families, following are suggestions based on these guiding principles. First, professionals should be sensitive to the cultural history of Deaf people; second, professionals should find ways to meet the variety of communication needs of all members of this population; and third, professionals should be aware of and have a working relationship with local and national resources that specialize in serving the needs of people with hearing impairments (Zieziula, 2001).

    If we are hearing professionals, counselors, psychologists, teachers, pastoral workers, priests, etc. we need to recognize that being hearing tends to afford us a higher status than might have otherwise happened. What we need to do first and foremost is to examine one´s own attitudes intensively, be sensitive to hearing-deaf relations in any arena, work toward a status of mutual respect, and understand that hearing professionals do not always have all the answers. Deaf professionals do not, either.

    This process requires mutual teaching. Hearing and deaf people must be open to understanding and working with each other’s perspectives as part of an ongoing educational dialogue. Many examples of positive hearing-deaf working relationships can be found in research and in daily life (for example today, two women from different countries, with different languages, one deaf – one hearing) churches, groups and schools for the deaf throughout the world. Forging alliances, building projects together, working collaboratively, promotes healthy examples to all deaf and hearing, and ultimately deaf and hearing are served in a more complete and unique way, training future generations to recognize this as a status quo.

    By: Consuelo Manera Soto, PhD, NCC

    Maryann Barth, MA, NCC, RTC


    Andrews, Jean F (2004). Deaf People, Evolving Perspectives from psychology, Education and Sociology,Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA

    Bat-Chave Y (1993) Antecedents of self-esteem in deaf people. A meta-analytic review. Rehabilitation psychology, 38(4), 221-234.

    Cornett, Orin (1994). Who Am I? A Deaf American Monograph, Vol. 44.

    Desselle, D.D. (1994) Self-esteem, family climate, and communication patterns in relation to deafness,. American Annals of the Deaf, 139, 322-328

    Humphrey, Jan, and Alcorn, Bob (1995). So you want to be an interpreter: an introduction to sign language interpreting, 2nd edition. Amarillo, TX: H&H Publishers.

    Humphries, Tom (1977). Communicating across cultures (deaf-/hearing) and language learning. Doctoral dissertation. Cincinnati, OH: Union Institute and University.

    Ladd, Paddy (2003) Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, Great Britain, Cromwell Press, LTD

    Lane, Harlan (1992). The mask of benevolence: disabling the deaf community. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

    Paul, Peter V., (1993) Toward a psychology of Deafness, Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA

    Pelka, Fred (1997). The ABC-Clio companion to the disability rights movement. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio.

    Scheetz, Nanci A., (2004). Psychosocial Aspects of Deafness. Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA

    Schirmer, Barbara R., (2001). Psychological, Social, and Educational Dimensions of Deafness. Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA

    Sussman, Allen (1995). Psychosocial Aspects of Deaf People/Psychology and Deaf People. Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.

    Sussman, Allen (1974). An investigation into the relationship between self concepts of deaf adults and their perceived attitudes toward deafness (doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1973). Dissertation Abstracts International, 34. 2914B

    Sussman, Allen & Brauer , B. (1999) On being a psychotherapist with deaf clients. In I. W. Leigh (Ed.), Psychotherapy with deaf clients from diverse groups (pp 3-22) Washington D.C, Gallaudet University Press.
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    Click here:

  5. Debbie
    May 28, 2011 @ 02:11:28

    Hey Everybody! I can feel the rumble, can you feel it? It’s beginning to shake up all over the world!

  6. patti
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 13:48:17

    Larry H – no i havent seen that article before. Thank u for sharing it.

    Debbie – yep – i feel the rumble too. Its the ground swell. Ya cant stop the flow of the truth – it be raising up and getting busy!

    shake it up so we can wake ’em up!



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