My Thoughts Regarding “Alone in a Hearing World”

I want to thank Dave McAuliffe for sharing this powerful video on Facebook in the Lipreading Mom and Dad’s Forum.

This video was created for the “hearing” people in a deaf child’s life, the parents, family, friends, coaches, and educators.

I would love it if someone could put captions or a transcript to this for us so we could all have access to the language, the ASL and the audio.

Though I didn’t have Sign Language or any other help in classes at school when I was mainstreamed,  I understand much of what this boy experienced, though not quite the degree because I was hearing impaired, not deaf.

When I was in 7th grade, I took French classes. Though I struggled with the speaking and hearing portions, I did very well with the writing and reading. When I got to high school and continued on with French, the teacher hooked us up with microphones and headsets to learn the language strictly through audio recordings. I failed miserably. There were no lips to read, no visual cues. I explained I simply couldn’t hear, and she told me I needed to find another class. I was disheartened. All I needed was someone to spare me a few minutes and go through the vocabulary a few times with me each week. The solution was simple to me. It didn’t sit well with the teacher and I took up a different class.

Guess where I ended up living as an adult? In Europe, in a French speaking community in a village outside of Nurnberg in the Bavaria region of Germany. Though I had forgotten most of what I learned of the French language by then, it didn’t matter. Most of the neighbors spoke English and were very accommodating when they saw me putting effort into trying to speak their language, whether it was German, French or Spanish. I simply told them “I don’t have an ‘ear’ for language”, pun intended, of course.

The startling points of this video are the statistics captioned at the end of this story:

*  One out of seven deaf and hard of hearing will become addicted to drugs and alcohol

*  That’s 30% higher than individuals who can hear

isolation, depression, lack of communication are all contributing factors

*  Only 23% of parents with deaf children learn to communicate through American Sign Language

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP?

We can start by joining the campaign to #KEEPASLINSCHOOLS

ASL is an American language.  I think it is time to recognize that as a language of our American tax paying citizens, we should be inclusive and adopt this language throughout our school systems. Many child care centers, preschool and early elementary schools and high schools are now adding Sign Language as part of the curriculum.

It would do us well to become an inclusive society and adopt American Sign Language into mainstream school and thereby, breaking down the communication barriers that divides our communities.

Together, we can make a better society not only for ourselves, but our children and and their children.

Take 12 minutes of your time and look at the world through the eyes of the child in the video, then join Monica with the campaign to Keep ASL In Schools.  Be sure to “like” the page while you are there to show support.

Here is the 12 minute video, “Alone in a Hearing World”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RImphoFjIUs

 

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