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On this Page:

Article 1   Pathological View vs. Cultural View
Article 2   Love for the Language Means Love for the People
Article 3   Just a DEAF Person's Thoughts
Article 4
   A Hard of Hearing Perspective  

 

 

 


Pathological View vs. Cultural View


The goal of this information is to provide you with some information about American Deaf Culture, along with resources available to help you learn more about this unique visual culture.

Perspectives on Deaf People

In recent years (beginning as early as 1980 with increased awareness of and acceptance of American Sign Language) it has become clear that one can adopt either of two opposing perspectives when interacting with the Deaf Community. While these perspectives have been given different names or labels by different authors and researchers, we will refer to the differing perspectives as the "pathological model" and the "cultural model." It is essential to understand which of these perspectives you might hold for each results in vastly different way of dealing with and treating the Deaf Community. Indeed, the first perspective, at least in some of its extreme manifestations, would seek to deny the very existence of the Deaf Community.

The Pathological View

The "pathological" view of Deaf people has also been called the Clinical-Pathological view or the Medical Model. Essentially this view accepts the behaviors and values of people who can hear as "standard" or "the norm" and then focuses on how Deaf people deviate from that norm. This is the perspective that has been traditionally held by a majority of non-deaf professionals who interact with the Deaf Community only on a professional basis. In a sense this is the "outsider's" view - a view that focuses on how Deaf people are different from non-deaf people and a view that generally perceives those differences negatively. It is also a view that deaf people have something wrong with them, something that can and must be "fixed."

Those who hold a pathological view might define the Deaf Community as: a group of people whose hearing loss interferes with the normal reception of speech; a group of people who have learning and psychological problems due to their hearing loss and their perceived communication difficulties; a group of people who are not "normal" because they cannot hear. It should be fairly easy to see that this view, the "pathological" one, results in paternalistic and oppressive behaviors and attitudes towards Deaf people. Recently this way of dealing with Deaf people, of treating them as incapable of self-determination, has been called "audism" to emphasize the fact that this view shares much with other paternalistic perspectives such as racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism.

The Cultural View

The "pathological" view stands in sharp contrast to the view based on linguistic and sociological research findings which is the cultural view. The cultural view recognizes that there is a complex set of factors that must be considered when examining the Deaf Community. Indeed, it is this very fact that makes defining the Deaf Community a complex task.

Those who hold a cultural view might define the Deaf Community as: a group of persons who share a common means of communication (sign language) that provides the basis for group cohesion and identity; a group of persons who share a common language (ASL) and a common culture; those whose primary means of relating to the world is visual and who share a language that is visually received and gesturally produced. Deciding which view of Deaf people you hold is crucial for it will, in large measure, determine the relationship you have to and with the Deaf Community. Your attitudes towards the Community's language and its culture determine your perspective towards Deaf people. You will hold either a medical/pathological or cultural view of the Deaf Community.

Taken from an unknown source on the Internet

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Love for the Language Means Love for the People
A Focus on Deaf Culture


By: Jojo I. Esposa Jr.

When we think of the Deaf, the first thing that comes into our minds might probably be sign language. Since they cannot communicate through speech and sound, they have to resort to gestures and hand movements. But, is that the long and short of it? That's the deaf? I beg to disagree.

I never dreamed of being engrossed with the deaf, much less being near them. But I was fascinated by their language. It's so beautiful. Every movement has meaning. The graceful flow of hands, moods of body, flickering of fingers, all suggest a variety of definition. I believe most of my colleagues would agree that we all started to love the deaf by loving their language first.

Deafness to some medical doctors is an incurable disease. Any residual hearing should be capitalized in order for the disease to be at least "superficially covered." Hearing aids, cochlear implants, therapy, etc. are needed in order to make the deaf appear "normal." These are their pathological assumptions.

After my first brief encounter with Charvie Arreola. a deaf student during a Campus Crusade for Christ Youth Camp last 1992, I began to look for ways to get near a true blooded genuine deaf. Three short years later, after completing my studies at Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, taught and mastered sign from my boss whom I hold in high esteem, Ms. Rosalie Maracaig of Gallaudet University, experiencing interpreting stints at "Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko" TV program and Sunday morning "Lagare" (doing many things at the same time) at Capitol City Baptist Church, Project 6 Baptist Church and Lighthouse Baptist Church (at least they are all Baptist churches) lighter moments with Ms. Tess Buenaventura (our English Instructor and one of my closest friends) and of course having a deaf best friend Nonoy and now Ervin Reyes whom I shared the gospel of salvation and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, I more or less acquired and loved their culture.

I believe that no culture is better than another culture. But deaf culture is a highly debated one. Most of us who are involved with the hearing impaired in this country don't believe that there exists such a culture. But let me first enumerate the attributes of a culture as compared to the so called "Deaf Culture".

STANDARD CULTURE

DEAF CULTURE

1. OWN METHOD OF COMMUNICATION EYES AND HANDS, TTY'S, IRC, EMAIL, LIGHTS FOR DOORBELL, ETC.
2. LANGUAGE AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE (ASL) PHILIPPINES SIGH LANGUAGE (PSL)
3. HISTORICAL INFORMATION DEAF HISTORY, FOLKLORE
4. COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE DEAF COMMUNITY
5. LEARNED BEHAVIOR DEAF WAY

 

Based on these facts, it is to be believed that deaf culture exist. Rutherfords, "The Culture of American Deaf People" study indicates that the primary objectives of Deaf Culture are the successful adaptation and survival of the group in its specific environment. The other is the maintenance of the groups' identity and unity through time.

The deaf cannot rely on their residual hearing to absorb information. Thus, eyes and body movement are generally used. Some tribes in Africa uses these gestures to convey a message or warn against danger. But for the deaf, it's a necessity. Modern amenities help them communicate well. The visual technology like captioned TV, use of TTY's (text telephones), flashing alarm clocks, vibrators, doorbells and telephone alerting lights, computers and modems all help in communications for the deaf. But sad to say, Filipino deaf don't have the luxury of having much less using these highly technical facilities. They completely rely on their own radar and satellites, the deaf way.

Another hotly contested issue is the Filipino Sign Language. The Deaf community believes, and we are in unity with them, that there is a sign language native to the Filipino deaf. Other skeptics believe that these are only homemade signs or some bastardized Signing Exact English.

We don't think so. In fact, MCCID is one of the advocates of the use of Filipino Sign Language both inside the classroom as well as in our daily conversations with them. They are more at ease with it. Staunch supporters of PSL/FSL are now documenting the vocabulary and will be releasing them soon. For our part, MCCID is now in the process of producing a book on sign language in computer terms. We invited some deaf who are working in computer companies and are in constant use of computer words.

For those who don't believe in PSL, try to observe the deaf communicating with another deaf. If the unbelievers can reverse interpret them with ease and freely flowing, then there is no PSL. But if not, well, you have to reconsider your ideas. The deaf has their own word order, signs and idioms peculiar to them.

One of the parents of our deaf student told a story of her daughter celebrating her birthday at a certain date. They didn't plan to celebrate her birthday until about one week before. She was surprised when so many deaf attended her party at such short notice. They came from various places even as far as Pampanga and Cavite. That is how they can contact their deaf friends through their own network.

In my subject, Deaf Culture ( MCCID is the only school in the country that has this subject ) we gathered ten distinct characteristics of deaf people. They are:

  1. When mainstreamed with hearing people, without moving, they can be mistaken as hearing.

  2. They make peculiar movements when communicating. You can differentiate them by comparing a genuine deaf from a hearing who knows sign language.

  3. They show feelings in exaggerated appearance. A very happy mood is easily noticed from an excited one.

  4. Views the surroundings and happenings in the world in a different way according to what they see, resulting to incomplete information.

  5. Keen on gossiping and making stories about other persons. (most hearing people are also guilty of it !!!)

  6. They show marked respect to teachers and other higher authority.

  7. They easily feel the change of mood and feelings of another person within their surroundings.

  8. It is imbedded in their emotions the feeling of deprivation due to discrimination from the hearing people. Some feel sorry for their predicament.

  9. Most of them are suspicious of their surroundings and friends.

  10. They are very loyal to the people who understands their plight.

This is definitely and incomplete explanation of this very rich and exciting culture. I have only discussed an overview of it. MCCID always believes that the deaf have their own place under the sun and it's up to us hearing to give them their rightful place.

( SPECIAL THANKS TO POSITION PAPERS OF MS. ROSALE MACARAIG, TELECOMMUNICATION FOR THE DEAF, CONVENTION OF AMERICAN INSTRUCTORS FOR THE DEAF, INC., NONOY, ERVIN, SANDY, CAROL AND ALL STUDENTS OF MANILA CHRISTIAN COMPUTER INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF FOUNDATION, INC.)

Reprinted with permission from Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf 

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Just a DEAF Person's Thoughts


1/2 cup refined American signs;
1/4 cup natural gestures;
1/4 cup of American manual alphabet;
1 cup facial expressions;

Mix all ingredients gracefully in
the Deaf Community, then....
Sprinkle with a handful of care;
Add a dash of visual love;
Brush with bodily energy;
Pour in DEAF Culture;
Add DEAF pride to suit your taste.
Serve as a communication feast
for all to enjoy!

-Gil Eastman
Source: email.

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A Hard of Hearing Perspective


 

Here are some observations that I have made through out my years of being hard of hearing:

1) Many hard of hearing people miss out on social small talk and general information.

2) HH people tend to bluff socially to try to fit in yet discover they don't know what is happening around them.

3) HH/deaf often feel confused and feel others are talking ABOUT them.

4) Many HH people become anti-social and alienated from others.

5) Tinnitus (ringing/popping of the ears) is VERY stressful.

6) Often HH people are cranky, impatient and stressed due to straining so hard and guessing what others are saying.

MY VIEW #1 by Kathryn Dewitt

I'm sure anyone with hearing loss will agree with me that people who mumble or have a accent are the WORST to converse with. Not that we are trying to be rude but it is difficult to follow these people. I personally hate placing a call and getting someone with an accent.

Bluffing in social situations is something I do frequently. If I meet someone at the store, due to all the background noise I pick up, I sometimes just say I'm in a hurry and I'll talk with them later. Most times this isn't the case, I may really want to speak with this person yet to save face and embarrassment I'll just leave.

Parties are a real problem for me because of all the background noise. Hearing people can filter these things out yet I never learned how so to me there is just loud noise and nothing makes since. Quiet one on one is a lot better for me. Maybe I'm the only one like this, I don't know.

Some People may view me as anti-social because I'll decline party invitations, demonstrations, etc. just to not be put on the spot. I remember recently a friend of mine invited me to a party similar to a Tupperware party. I really wanted to go because there were apple items available for my kitchen. So I went. Much to my embarrassment the woman talked too fast, soft and turned her back frequently. She had this little game where she would ask you questions about some of the things she just talked about to receive little tickets to redeem at the end of the party. Needless to say I didn't win, in fact, a few of the women laughed at me because I couldn't follow what the demonstrator was saying to answer her questions. Trying to explain my situation didn't help so by the end of the party I felt defeated and embarrassed.

 

A Few reasons why some HH people may not attend the following:

1) Games in school gyms-It is difficult to make out what is being said, everything is just NOISE-very LOUD noise.

2) Games outside-Words over the PA are garbled and hard to follow. People with hearing aides may experience and avoid the wind due to the aide whistling.

3) Music Concerts-Can not fully enjoy program due to being unable to hear words to the songs

MY VIEW #2 by Kathryn DeWitt

It is hard for me to explain to family and friends that I don't hear what they hear. In most cases, the best explanation I can give is that sounds are just mumbled together noise to me. Music concerts in gyms are always a problem for me. The acoustics is terrible yet there isn't much I can do about that. So every Christmas and spring I dress up and make a big guess for my son's sake yet I sit on the bleachers in the gym and wonder what they are singing. I enjoy listening to music, however, I usually don't hear the lyrics just the beat/tempo of the band (unless the artist printed the words on the sleeve of the CD). For me country music is easier for me to listen to than Rap or Pop. Recently, my husband brought home a Rap CD that he really liked and wanted me to listen to it. Yet no matter how hard I tried to explain turning up the volume wasn't making me understand the lyrics. What in the world is that guy singing???

From: http://www.geocities.com/jandkdewitt/understand.html  (used with permission)

 

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