Some years ago, Sound Advice’s Facebook page showed a photo, advising us all to “Keep Calm and Celebrate Diversity”. Our point was that diversity exists in the deaf population too, and some people don’t know – or acknowledge – this fact.
Diversity In The Deaf Population
In Ireland, the media gives a very one-sided view of deafness. This means differently-deaf individuals must advocate for supports in education and in the workplace. Most will tell you, this process is exhausting when they need to repeatedly explain their deafness and specific accommodations to a string of decision-makers who decide what supports can or will be, given.
And a sign language interpreter is often NOT an accommodation.
Case in point – one student the Sound Advice team knows, is in a college class with another student who’s deaf. One is verbal, the other signs. Their lecturers don’t realise a sign-interpreter is not a catch-all fix. Accordingly, the verbal student had to explain to each lecturer, exactly why a note-taker is needed, and arrange for this note-taker to be deployed.
Some Deaf People Are Verbal-Only
This mistaken notion that all deaf people are fluent signers, is real.
And the irony is, without a note-taker, the signing student had no record of lectures, for exam revision or review of class notes. The verbal deaf student did a favour, in this regard.
Bottom line: if teachers and lecturers were trained that deaf students have different hearing issues, communication modes and ways of learning, plus diverse languages, families, cultures and backgrounds, these students’ lives would be infinitely easier.
- Ireland’s 1,077 ISL users (Census 2011)
- Deaf Awareness For Business and Service Providers
- Delivering On-The-Spot Deaf Awareness Training
- Youth Attitudes To ‘Being’ Deaf, In The Media
- Getting Hearing Peers To Include You In The Chat