Deaf awareness week is "celebrated" September 26th-30th or around the last week of September- it gives us a opporunity to celebrate and socialize with other people that are deaf- and also to educate the general public and students and co workers about what deafness is all about.... and really.. ask anything.... we have heard everything a-z- I am almost never shocked anymore.
being deaf doesn't mean I live in a world of silence... It means my life is more enriched by having 2 cultures. I grew up in a hearing household and my children are growing up in a bilingual culturally life and household. they are so lucky. I often say I am just on the bridge between both worlds because I can talk and sign and hear with my cochlear implant so everything is "open" to me so to speak. there are people that choose to stay in the deaf world- marry a deaf person and maybe luckily have deaf children someday and work in a deaf supported enviroment.
Now, going to the deaf panel yesterday- my job isn't working or being a student right now- it's being a mom and teaching my 2 beautiful kids all about ASL and trying to raise them to the best of my ability and hoping someday to make them into amazing, wonderful young people that I love. It was so much fun talking about my kids- I have stories and stories full of just "vincent" :) Victoria is too little to start telling stories about but she has her own development milestones that I love to brag about as well. it doesn't hurt they are cute.
Now... for today I will fill you in on some common deaf awareness things so you know for future reference- in case you come across a deaf person and you.......... want desperately to know what to do?
first of all.. don't feel stupid- there is no such thing as stupid questions really.. and we don't bite...
1. just make sure we are looking at you when you approach.... I've noticed now with my kids espically- if I have my kids with me I am often focused on them and not really thinking about if someone else will approach me- so tap us on the shoulder if you want to converse.
2. about 90 percent of hearing parents HAVE deaf children. Often times- deaf people have hearing children- it is about 10 percent of deaf people that go on to have deaf children (depending on genetics)
3. gesture if you need to- don't be afraid to look stupid.
4. if you converse with a person that is deaf and can read lips... don't overextragge lip movements or try to talk reallly slow (like hoooooooooooow aaaaaaaaaaaaareeeeeee yoooooooooooooooou) its very annoying to us and we ARE used to reading lips and if we need you to slow down or write something down we don't understand- we WILL ask
5. how do deaf people know when sounds are happening? we have flashing lights or some people have a hearing dog for this purpose- OR have a hearing person around. Pretty much now days with texting you could actually text a deaf person now and tell them you're coming and they will expect you.
6. deaf people live and die by texting. its the newest mode of communication other than IM- and it's made life a LOT easier because now we can text a hearing person too and it is like "chatting" on the phone.
7. deaf people have videophones that we can call anyone and sign. It's really cool
8. remember always... deaf people ARE just like you- we are normal human beings and our ears simply don't work- there are deaf people with more disabilities as well but MOST deaf people are normal.. we vary as well there are people that can talk and sign, people that don't talk but sign... and different SIGN choices like (ASL, PSE and SEE)
I hope I educated you a little bit about what to do around deaf people... oh yeah.. it doesn't hurt to learn a few of the basic signs as well... don't be afraid to ask a deaf person to sign with you- we are always willing to help you learn our language. :)