A Deaf Adult Speaks Out
Publication Year: 1989
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
This book has enjoyed 15 years of circulation and thousands of readers. It has been gratifying to know that my book, one of the first literary efforts to address the problems and ramifications of deafness by a writer who knows how it is to be deaf 24 hours a day, has received such wide acceptance...
Preface to Second Edition
The Gallaudet College Board of Directors established the Powrie Vaux Doctor Chair of Deaf Studies in the spring of 1972. This Chair was established in memory of Professor Powrie Vaux Doctor, a member of the Gallaudet College faculty for 43 years, who died in Paris in the summer of 1971 while attending meetings of the World...
To the Board of Directors of Gallaudet University, Edward C. Merrill, Jr., former president of Gallaudet University, and the Powrie V. Doctor Chair Committee, sincere appreciation is extended for their support and encouragement during the writing of the first edition...
About the Author
Frequently society is made aware of the problems and status of a minority or a group of people who deviate from the so-called mainstream. This awareness is usually articulated and/or interpreted by a sociologist or other professional person. Some of these writers do a masterful job of research, of living close to the setting, of getting data...
In order for people unacquainted with deafness* and its problems to know and understand deaf people, they should first become familiar with certain factors that contribute to the personal development of deaf adults. These include environment, etiology of hearing loss, education, and training. But, the most important factor of all is the...
2. What Deafness Means
Most people are familiar with the dictionary definition of deafness, which is the absence of hearing. However, this is an oversimplification since the deprivation of one's hearing can vary both in its degree and kind...
3. What Communication Really Is
The peoples of the world, no matter what their cultures and beliefs, will readily identify communication with hearing and speech. This is not surprising since the primary tools of communication throughout the known world are hearing and speech...
4. The Deaf as a Minority Group
The minority group status of the deaf is producing more numerous and greater problems for them than the handicap itself. This statement becomes more credible when comparing deaf people with other disadvantaged minorities: the Blacks, the Chicanos, the American Indians, etc. Deaf people can identify with many of the same...
5. Traditional Educational Methods
One of the most definitive works on deafness is Harry Best's book, Deafness and the Deaf in the United States (1943). He mentioned two educators in Europe who were the most influential in the development of educational methods used with the deaf. The first was Samuel Heinicke, who started the first public school for...
6. Total Communication
Total communication, or "the total approach," has been called many things, from highly complimentary comments to epithets of downright insult. The most frequently used definition is that of Margaret Kent, former principal of the Maryland School for the Deaf. As quoted by Ottinger in an article in The Deaf American she describes...
7. Public Law 94-142 and Mainstreaming
The passage of Public Law 94-142 (Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975) excited probably all handicapped groups except knowledgeable persons in the field of education of deaf children. This includes not only hearing professionals with insight into problems of deafness, but also deaf citizens themselves. Although...
8. The Deaf Adult
Deaf adults cannot be stereotyped; they are essentially human beings with normal faculties, abilities, and weaknesses except for a deficient sense of hearing. However, because of the nature of the etiology of deafness, a larger proportion of deaf people than hearing have additional handicaps...
9. The Community of the Deaf
Some hearing educators have condescendingly referred to the adult deaf community as "the deaf ghetto," "the deaf subculture," and other uncomplimentary names. Perhaps the best rebuttal would be the National Association of the Deaf's 1972 convention which was held in one of the top hotels in Miami Beach, Florida...
10. The Economic Aspects of Deafness
The last National Census of the Deaf Population (NCDP), which provided comprehensive demographic data on deaf people nationwide, was conducted in 1972. Unfortunately, a lack of more recent data makes it difficult to accurately assess the employment situation of deaf persons in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Therefore, several...
11. What Is Being Done for the Deaf
Each year the American Annuals of the Deaf issues an updated directory of programs and services for the deaf. It is quite comprehensive, and lists thousands of programs now in existence for the benefit of deaf children and adults. I have no intention of repeating the list here, but I would like to mention, however, general trends of...
12. A Look Back and a Look Ahead
In 1980, I wrote that this book was a chronicle of deafness as seen through the eyes of a deaf adult who has known neither the conveniences nor joys of normal hearing or speech. However, the wheel of fortune descried that I should be born of a deaf family; therefore, I never noticed my own handicap nor came up against discrimination or...
Page Count: 182
Publication Year: 1989
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