If you are hearing, and are hanging out with a group of other hearing people, with only one deaf person… please try your best not to leave the deaf person out of conversation. I know it can be difficult, especially if no one knows sign language, and/or only knows a little. Please try to include the deaf person in the conversation, try to tell them what’s going on every now and then by typing on your phone, writing on paper, etc.
Imagine eating dinner with family, everyone laughing so hard at something someone said… the deaf person asking what everyone is laughing at, only to be told it’s nothing.
DO NOT tell the deaf person, oh don’t worry about it… or it’s not important. It is important to us.
playing Uno with my family and 6-year-old cousin when suddenly….
Him: Are you a boy or a girl? You look like a girl, but you dress like a boy… And you have hairy armpits!
*everyone at the table freezes; wide eyes fixed on me…*
Me: Well, I didn’t want to say anything but….Neither. I’m a mermaid. I wear these clothes so I can easily run from the Dolphin Police because truthfully, I’m not supposed to be here on dry land. Oh, and that’s not hair, it’s seaweed.
Him:So, that’s why your hair is red!!!!!
Later that night, we are drawing & my hair is up in a ponytail…
Him: What’s that thing on your ear? *points to my hearing aid*
Me: Ah, this. It’s a device that lets me hear what the Dolphins are up to at all times. Every mermaid has one.
Him: Are you lying?
Me: Here, I’ll prove it to you. *takes out hearing aid, feedback screeches* See? They’re angry. I’ve told you too much…
Him: *whispers* Oh my god….
A year later, his mom texts me and says he STILL thinks I’m a mermaid outlaw, and that he swears he saw me swimming in a river they drove by one day. yeah it’s a big fat lie but I’m a real-life fucking mermaid in this kids mind…who else can say that?!?
#RespectYourElders is a poster series from The 519, an LGBTQ community center in Toronto, and its anti-defamation campaign Hear It Stop It. The 519 is working to create more safe spaces for LGBTQ elders, who are less likely to seek healthcare, and more likely to experience negative health outcomes and social isolation, than their straight and cisgender peers.
The 519 Education and Training Team offer workshops and resources that support safe, welcoming and inclusive care environments for LGBTQ older people. The training supports organizations and individuals to understand the needs of LGBTQ adults. Workshops will help participants to:
- identify and discuss reasons an older LGBTQ person may be distrustful of the health or social care systems and/or reluctant to seek the care they need
- demonstrate and share an empathetic understanding of the barriers faced by older LGBTQ people
- make appropriate use of pronouns
- propose ways to foster a safe and LGBTQ-inclusive care environment for older people, their friends and chosen families
Learn more about the program here. This is so great.
So lately I’ve been seeing a lot of hate or at least negativity towards Captioned videos of any sort. People making posts about “How annoying CC is” “Why does CC exist?” and other remarks.
This is coming from me, a Deafblind Individual who NEEDS CC to understand speech/video/audio of any sort. This also is on behalf of the Deaf/HOH/ADP/Anyone who needs CC.
You abled, privileged, hearing people have the glorious opportunity, chance of a life time, to watch ANYTHING you want without problems. Without discrimination. Without complaints. Without threats. Without negativity thrown at you. YOU get the privilege of being able to enjoy anything/everything that has spoken language to it. Us, d/Deaf/HoH/APD/Second Language Need closed captions (CC). NEED accommodation.
Imagine (and I do ask you to TRY IT OUT) you have the TV on mute. Can you understand anything? I doubt it, there’s no sound! You’re trying to make out the characters reactions, movements, behaviour but it’s not working because you can’t tell what’s being said. Then you put CC/Subtitles on. At last! You can FINALLY understand the spoken language! You understand what’s happening!! You’re not lost and tired from trying to play charades. Now you can enjoy the show without complaints!
Another Try It Out put earplugs in and walk around all day or at least a few hours with those earplugs. Can you understand speech? Can you figure out where things are coming from? No? Everything is muffled sounding yes? As if you’re in a tunnel?
This is how many d/Deaf/HoH/APD people feel each and every single day Speech is muffled sounding, distorted, garble nonsense. It’s tiring to constantly lipread (Which isn’t 30% accurate for English language seen on lips), trying to understand what someone is saying when it’s all so muffled!
Now, you go to entirely new country, with only said language as your SECOND language which you aren’t entirely fluent in yet. Even if you are… understanding the second language is fairly hard yes? Everything all muffled and “Blah blah blah” sounding correct? Putting subtitles on can make a HUGE difference! Yes the country’s language can be spoken, but having YOUR language on subtitles can be beneficial for you. You aren’t lost. You aren’t confused. You understand what everyone is laughing about in the movie because you have subtitles!
Gifs/Moving images: people uploads these on tumblr, facebook, other media sites. They have captions on them because people wouldn’t know what is being said. Imagine the subtitles/captions, gone. I doubt you’d have any idea what is happening and what particular scene the gif/moving image is from. Here’s the thing, people don’t complain about gifsets being made that have subtitles/closed captions on it so EVERYONE can see whats happening…. Yet people complain that there’s (OMG!) Subtitles/Captions on VIDEOS?!?! A TEXT POST UNDERNEATH A VIDEO THAT HAS (Dare I say it?) CAPTIONS! HOW UNCALLED FOR!
Did you know that Captions can be extremely useful? Check these links out explaining why.
Captions are IMPORTANT. If you add captions, you get more respect. When you add captions you don’t get complaints, you get more views/followers/people who will enjoy your videos. When you add captions you can enjoy watching shows on mute while at work, in line, anywhere.
If you don’t like Captions… there’s one Simple Thing To Do TURN THEM OFF WHEN PEOPLE WHO NEED THEM… Leave. Don’t make a HUGE DEAL!1!111 about CC. If the CC benefit the person, then be accommodative, not an asshole, and let the CC be on. Would you rather us ask you 20 questions in 5 minutes asking “What they say? What? Whats so funny? Huh? I missed that! Again?” Doubt it. So put CC on. It isn’t that difficult.
When you see transcript/cc underneath a video…. Please DO NOT delete the CC. All you need to do is go to SOURCE’s page and Reblog from there. It isn’t that difficult.
JUST BE RESPECTFUL because you won’t know who you have hurt/make someone feel upset. You’re unintentionally discriminating and be disrespectful to those who need CC/subtitles.
So many of us (d/Deaf/HoH) have gotten a lot of questions regarding: Sign Language learning, Deaf Community/Culture, Interpreting, and other things in between. So I decided to do a “Master” post with answers from myself and other d/Deaf/HoH replies.
Also this will be updated quite frequently so keep checking back for more questions/answers!
1. Sign Language:
It is best to learn Sign Language from a class and in person. Yes Online can help but in person, face-to-face interaction is best. Find Sign Language classes in your area (HS, College). It is best to have a Deaf/HoH Instructor/teacher as they know the Deaf Life/Culture/World from first hand experience. Deaf people work hard to tell the hearing world that Deaf Can. Deaf give the best advice in learning Sign Language. Also, here’s a link to help you out.
Also, try and find a Deaf Community in your area if you can’t find classes and you’re learning Online. The best is to learn from the Deaf Community and going to events. If you live in the USA: Here is a link that can help you find your area if they have Deaf Events. If you live outside of USA… use Google to search “Deaf Community in ( your area ), Province/State, Country. Something should pop up!
2. Sign Language Interpreter
Every Deaf/HoH person has their own mode of communication when it comes to sign language. In this case I will use American Sign Language (ASL) as examples.
Some prefer true ASL, word order.
There is also PSE which is “Pidgin Signed English” it isn’t a Language but more - ASL signs in English Word Order. Example in English: Are we going to the mall tomorrow? PSE: We go mall tomorrow?
SEE Signed Exact English is where you use sign (different from ASL) and use a, the, and, -ing, -ed in your sentences.
Some prefer when the Interpreter is mouthing the words while signing. (SimCom is talking/signing at same time, but i’ll get to this later)
Others is just no Sign Language, but lipread Interpreters.
I should add though, that PSE/SEE/Cued Speech are not ASL or equivalent to ASL. They are just Manually Coded English (MCE). PSE is just a bridge of ASL/English, Contact Sign - meet in the middle.
Now it comes the Interpreters themselves. Many Deaf/HoH will agree with this: We like Interpreters who KNOW what they are doing, who are Ally’s/willing to accommodate us. This is what some/most Deaf/HOH want to see in an interpreter. Everyone is different though in what they want.
3. How can I find Sign Language resources when I have no classes nearby?
Obviously Sign Language is NOT universal. Each country has it’s own Sign Language. Except Canada/America, we share the same Sign Language (American Sign Language). Even though Canada/America/UK/Australia has English as their main language… but they have their own Sign Languages!
Only exception would be Canada/America sharing the same Sign Language (American Sign Language) but… some parts of Canada has LSQ (Langue des signes québécoise) which would be in Quebec mostly and small bit of Ontario.
5. What is SimCom?
SimCom is Simultaneous Communication. Meaning, the person is signing AND talking at the same time. This is not an ideal option for someone to do because voiced language and signed language have completely different grammar. So it’s impossible or extremely complicated to Sign AND Voice at the same time. Your brain just can’t do it. You either slow your signing down, or don’t voice at all.
6. But I’ve seen people SimCom before, why are they doing it if it’s impossible to do?
SimCom is only really meant for when you’re around Hearing AND Deaf individuals. Even if it’s 14 hearing people and 1 Deaf and one of the hearing people know ASL… it is a must to have said hearing sign while talking so the Deaf person isn’t behind or lost in the understanding of the conversation. Here is a video explaining it.
7. Why are Closed Captions (CC) so important?
Well I’m just going to leave this here for your wondering eyes to read.
8. What’s the difference between deaf and Deaf?
Check this link out explaining the differences between deaf, Deaf, Hard of Hearing and why some people don’t like the term hearing impaired.
9. I am hearing and was wondering what is the best way to learn about Deaf Culture/World/Life? I don’t want to offend the Deaf Community and I want to approach them appropriately.
Here is going to be a LONG answer. By a few Hearing People perspectives.
1) My first bit of advice is: when you’re doing anything related to the Deaf Community, keep your voice off and your eyes open. Introduce yourself as hearing right off the bat. “MY NAME ___, ME HEARING” *Most* Deaf are open to hearing people who are learning sign language and are happy to slow down for you. Others aren’t so keen to slow down. Don’t be put down by your first bad experience, keep at it!!
Remember that Deaf people are blunt, and many go by the “if I can see it, I can say it” rule, and try not to be offended. For example, I was experimenting with a new eyebrow pencil that I didn’t notice was too light for me. My hearing friends didn’t say one word because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. My Deaf friend took one look at me and signed “did you dye your eyebrows? They look weird. Too light” It wasn’t that he didn’t care that’d I’d be embarrassed, he just wanted to give me the heads up. If he noticed, others would too and he didn’t want me to go around looking off. Honestly, most Deaf people won’t be offended by you as long as you are trying hard. They might correct a word you signed wrong, or a faux pas you committed but it’s with your education of the Deaf Community in mind. Take it as a learning experience and a chance to grow
as a Hearing guy with a love for ASL/the Deaf community, I can definitely relate to not wanting to embarrass myself, but
honestly that’s gonna be some of your best education: the community itself. Go to events! If you’re worried about your level
of signing, just inform whomever you’re signing with your level/you’re a student/whatever! People aren’t mean! In my experience,
they’re excited about people learning! That may not be universal, but honestly just take a chance. Go to events. Make friends live your life. Viva ASL!
be respectful to those you meet. Go in with an open mind and realization that you may face some hurtful opinions because you are hearing. I’ve learned most of sign language online and in the community. Go into it curious but not with the mindset of just wanting to learn it because its the new “fad.” It is a culture, a lifestyle and there are different social parameters to it, and you need to understand that.
4) First and foremost reflect on the reasons why you want to become involved in the Deaf community and culture…and to remember your reasoning for entering in, may not be the reason you stay. Hearing people are considered guests in the community, or sometimes simply as tourists passing through, its important that you make it known that you genuinely want to learn about their (the Deaf) culture. For myself, I had been given an ASL dictionary as a gift from my friend who knew
I was interested in learning ASL, I had learned enough from reading online and trying to copy the pictures from my dictionary how to ask “where can I learn ASL” or ME WANT LEARN A-S-L WHERE? by chance happening I met three Deaf individuals and they were all incredibly helpful, one if I remember correctly one even asked why I wanted to learn it. In my humble opinion, the best way to begin is start by saying “hello”. I understand that that can be nerve wrecking and perhaps uncomfortable or scary. I totally understand that I was a bundle of nerves when I signed “ hello” for the first time to a Deaf person, but I quickly learned that the effort is well received and I was worried over nothing.
Be willing to be flexible, adaptable and open minded, there are things that hearing people learn when they enter that can be a hard pill to swallow. Be prepared to make mistakes and be prepared to be at the brunt of most jokes, due to Deaf people being a cultural/linguistic minority a lot of jokes poke fun at hearing people, its important to be able to have a sense of humour…and thick skin. Know where you stand as a new comer, think of it like entering a foreign country (it can honestly feel that way at times)/and read up on Deaf etiquette (eg: don’t use voice if you know sign around Deaf people) the same way you’d look into the customs of another foreign country.
I think an important thing to remember is that you’re going to make mistakes. Deaf people are a varied and diverse community, just like any other community of the world. The best way to get into the Deaf community is just to jump into it. Keep an open mind and interact with lots of Deaf people in lots of different environments; to get as many opinions and pointers as possible. It’s important to remember that you, as a hearing person, are a guest in the Deaf community. So be humble, keep an open mind, and try! Many Deaf people will love to teach you and help you out in your ASL journey.
Also, it’s important to note that no hearing people are ever going to be core members of the Deaf community. The Deaf community belongs to people that are DHH. Interpreters, CODA’s, and ASL students might be engaged and go to Deaf events and date Deaf people and have only Deaf friends, but that doesn’t give you a right to the community, because at the end of the day, you are a hearing person. So if you keep that in mind as you begin your journey, it will be a positive experience for you and the Deaf people you spend time with!
10. How to communicate with d/Deaf/HOH?
Well, there are MANY different ways to communicate with someone who is d/Deaf/HoH. But the key point is… ask what the d/Deaf/HoH prefers in communication. Some lipread, use paper/pen, sign language, gestures. Here is a post talking about the Do’s/Don’ts!
11. What NOT to ask a Deaf/HoH Person
This isn’t a question, but these are common questions we get asked on a daily bases. thatdeafblackguy gotten an ask with his and others answers there.
13. I’m confused about the different degrees of Hearing Loss. Can you explain it to me please?
This is an audiogram. This audiogram shows what one could/cannot hear. The yellow thing is called the speech banana meaning sounds that one ear can hear.
This shows the different degrees, pitches and loudness.
Mild hearing loss - 21 to 40 dB (decibels) Moderate hearing loss - 41 to 55 dB Moderately severe hearing loss - 56 to 70 dB Severe hearing loss - 71 to 90 dB Profound hearing loss - 91db+ meaning anything above 91 decibels
14. Why is discussion about Cochlear Implant (CI) and Hearing Aids (HAs) to d/Deaf/HoH considered offensive? Like why is when hearing people mention it, it can be considered disrespectful?
It is considered hurtful/offensive because many Deaf/HoH people don’t wear HAs or have CIs. Some don’t benefit from either, some don’t want to wear them… some can’t have them because it costs a lot. Both of them are NOT cheap. VERY expensive. Here is a post talking about it.
15. Why is Switched at Birth (SAB) such
a controversial thing within the Deaf Community or from Deaf/HoH
SAB is a debatable topic
within the community because it does have it pro/con. Pro:
- in the very beginning it did show Deaf Awareness, Deaf Culture and what
Deaf/HOH struggle in daily life.
- Does have Deaf/HOH Actors playing Deaf/HOH Roles, for the most part.
- Does bring awareness towards hearing world about Deaf world/life/culture.
- Does encourage hearing to be more accessible towards d/Deaf/HoH.
- Halfway through Season 2 it just dropped with the Deaf
- The Signing is not entirely accurate. Yes it is American Sign Language
but it’s not in it’s true ASL word order. Deaf actors playing Deaf characters
(Marlee Matlin - Melody, Sean Berdy - Emmett, Ryan Lane - Travis, Stephanie
Nogueras) do try their best to make it true ASL word order while signing.
- Signing by hearing is SimCom’ed and more English-y
- When hearing Sign it’s a full-view good showing of them Signing
- When Deaf/HOH sign the view is more close up, harder to see their hands in
signing, subtitles cover it.
SAB is trying their best to bring Deaf representation and
acknowledgement. Honestly, though it’s not doing a good job. Yes in the
beginning it was doing wonderfully. They showed how difficult it is for Deaf /
HOH to interact with Hearing, the struggles in understanding – for a short
while. But to make one thing clear, Lipreading is NOT accurate. It is NOT a
superpower. Here is explaining why lipreading is so exhausting and what to do to accommodate to those who do lipread.
Also, sometimes what they portray as Deaf Awareness, may not be
right. Example, when someone is facing away and they’re talking to a Deaf/HoH
person… highly likely that Deaf/HoH person will NOT be able to understand you
as they cannot read your lips or see your facial expressions/body language.
Crowded rooms? Nightmare to understand anyone even with HAs/Cis.
If you want to know more about Deaf Culture, World, Life,
History, the Language… don’t rely on a TV show for all information and stories.
Every Deaf/HoH person has their own story and experience. Go find Sign Language
classes (taught by Deaf/HoH), engage in the Deaf Community in your area,
research online or read books, go to classes about Deaf Studies.
16. I have (Mild/Moderate/Moderately-severe/Severe/Profound)
hearing loss and I don’t feel like I belong in the Deaf Community. I don’t feel
like I am (HOH/deaf/Deaf) enough to be a part of it.
You have hearing loss? You have troubles understanding
speech in noisy environments?
You’re a part of the d/Deaf/HoH Community. It doesn’t matter the degree, how
you got the hearing loss, the frequency… if you are wanting to have someone who
understands your daily struggles… you’re a part of the Deaf/HoH Community.
You want to learn Sign Language? You know Sign Language but you don’t feel like
you ‘fit in’? You are already fit into the Community. You have hearing loss,
you have people who GET IT and will be there to understand what you’re going
through. I suggest you read this post. This may just help you out.
17.I have (Mild/Moderate/Moderately-severe/Severe/Profound)
Hearing loss. I don’t know if I identify as Deaf/HoH or deaf…?
You identify how YOU feel is right. If you have Mild hearing loss, know Sign
language, will be involved and is involved in the Deaf Community… and you feel
comfortable as Deaf? Awesome.
You have Profound hearing loss but feel best as identifying as HOH? Awesome!
We cannot tell you what to identify as. It’s YOUR choice and
your own calling.
18. I am hearing but wanting to learn ASL (or any SL), is this
Here’s to a blunt response.
We are fine with Hearing learning ASL (or any Sign Language).
To join in on the Deaf/HoH Community or learn about our Culture/World/Life.
We just don’t like when hearing use it to their advantage, meaning taking ASL
classes to have secret conversations. To make Youtube videos and you’re an ASL
1 student (or whatever level of fluency) thinking you can ‘teach ASL’. Wrong!
To make “ASL music videos” when it’s really just Learners doing
Englishy signing. Those who DO Teach ASL or do music videos are
Certified/Qualified/Well Experienced Interpreters, Deaf people or ASL
(Deaf/HoH) Instructors. Some CODAs too. Or to “help those poor Deaf people” and
speak on behalf of us.
We are fine with Hearing Learning Sign Language! We just don’t like it when
they barge in thinking they rule the Deaf World. You don’t. You are here to
learn, educate yourself and expand your knowledge.
19. I’m writing a story about d/Deaf/HOH Characters, could I have your feedback or can I ask you some questions?
I’ve gotten an ask about what to expect at Audiologist before so Ima just copy/paste the answer.
But from many years of experience. There’s nothing to worry about! They will do a hearing test so they’ll ask you to sit in a soundproof booth, ask you to wear earbuds and listen to beeps on different frequency and pitches ). Then they’ll ask you to repeat a set of words (sensorinueral loss). Then they’ll do another test with a headset type thing, a piece that goes on the bone part behind your ear, test that with beeps/words (for conductive hearing loss).
For checking ears they’ll use some instrument that they use at doctors, to check inside your ear canal. There’s another test were they’ll take a small tube/wire thing in your canal to check how your eardrum is doing.
That’s pretty much it. After the tests they’ll explain if you have hearing loss, show you your audiogram (see question 12/13), the degree and what may be the best options (Hearing aids, cochlear implant (depending on your degree - this is meant for severe-profound sensorineural losses.), assistive devices) to help you.
I promise you it’s nothing scary! :)
21. Can you explain what are Name Signs?
Certainly! Here is a post all about it more in depth too :)
Expanding upon the concept of “The Middle” and how individual experiences are shaped by existing in between the Deaf World and the Hearing World. Please click on each photo for captions.
The “Aspects” and “Privilege” listed in the first photo are as posted:
Aspects of Deaf culture (Not always for everyone)
Use of CC/Subtitles Limited interaction with sound/music Sign language (Some verbal possible, depending) Bi/multi-lingualism Deaf schools, programs, camps, performance Subject to “warehousing” Social activities, entertainment choices may be limited due to accessibility or lack of an interpreter Hearing aids/devices/cochlear implant Limited job choices Police brutality Assisted devices - vibrating alarms, flashing lights Body language/ facial expressions Activism, awareness of Hearing Privilege
Privilege (inevitable - not mean to make Hearing people feel “guilty”)
CC devices not “necessary” but can use if wish Broad interaction with sound/music Spoken language > sign (assume everyone speaks one language) Concerns with “hearing” when interacting w/ public not usually primary concern Unlimited amount of academic choices, community, jobs, etc Not subject to warehousing based on hearing perception Can attend movies, concerts, plays w/out CC, interpreter, or assistance Public harassment over hearing devices isn’t a thing Many do not have to worry about hearing smoke alarms, timers, sirens, etc Lack of fear of police brutality due to not being able to hear/comprehend officers (exception of non-dominant language speakers or those with mental illnesses) No concern over representation of hearing people in books, movies, TV, social media, etc. Face to face communication isn’t necessary Most can talk openly on phones w/out anxiety or trouble understanding
Yes, I can lip read but it takes a lot of strength and energy to figure out your mouth formation. Lip reading isn’t even 30% accurate.
It’s “Did the person say mat or bat?” or if you figure out some words it’s “The __ __ into __ __ and ___ behind the ___ ___” guessing game. We miss half the sentence so we just guess. “The dogran into the house and hid behind the kitchen table?” When the person actually said “The cat walked into the house and hid behind the couch” Sometimes we misinterpret/hear what is being said. “How is the weather” could heard as “How are you?”
So when talking to someone who does lip read, don’t assume it’s a MAGICAL SUPERPOWER! Because it’s not. It takes a lot of energy from us trying to figure out the missing gaps. Don’t over exaggerate your mouth movements either. Speak slow, clearly and face us when speaking.
Also it’s extremely hard to lip read someone when…
1) They have a facial hair
2) Covering their mouths when talking
3) Chewing/having food in mouth while talking
4) Having anything near their face. Example: scarf, hand
5) Bad lighting in the area
6) Over exaggerating their mouth movements
7) Facing away mid-talking
9) Barely moving mouth when speaking
What to do when you’re with someone who lip reads…
1) Make sure you’re in a good area of lighting. Ask if the person can see/read your lips before speaking any farther
2) Make sure you aren’t chewing anything while talking
4) Leave your hands away from your face
5) Have minimal facial hair possible. This especially when you know you’ll be communicating with a lipreader daily
6) Speak slowly, clearly.
7) If they ask you to repeat, please do so.
8) Face them when speaking - this IS important of course.
Thrifted this little gem. Maybe useful if I meet someone both Korean and deaf. Korean sign language is a bit different than ASL. Besides having signs for specifics like 오빠 언니 형 and 누나 the signs are different. Culturally giving the finger isn’t going to go over well in America.
미안합니다! I totally didn’t realize I cut off some of the picture I am about to post another. ^^;;; 잘못해서
The 11 Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with a Deaf Person
DON’T over-enunciate your speaking. No offense, but you do seem a little silly doing it.
DON’T invade personal space. The closer your face is to mine, the harder it is for me to read your lips.
DON’T yell … it doesn’t really help. I mean … it’s like waving at a blind person.
DON’T turn your face away, block your mouth, or move around when you’re speaking to me. Again, lip reading.
DON’T speak really slow or really fast. One makes me impatient, and the other stresses me out.
DON’T assume that because I can’t hear means I CAN’T hear. Some of us have residual hearing … and some use hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.
DON’T assume, though, that if I can hear you, it means I can understand you. Please don’t.
DON’T assume I can’t do anything else just because I’m Deaf. We CAN write. We CAN read, We CAN learn. We CAN talk. We CAN enjoy music. We CAN drive!! :-) We CAN do anything … except hear!! :-)
DON’T treat me like a child who needs a lot of help. Really. I can do it myself, and if I want your help, I WILL ask for it.
DON’T be afraid of me. I am a human with a soul and feelings and a mind. I won’t care if you don’t speak my language, and it means so much to me that you would try to communicate with me anyway.
DON’T be afraid to ask to learn my language. I will gladly teach it to you.
DO be thoughtful of my needs. Maybe I will need an interpreter for an important talk. Maybe I need subtitles for a video. All you need to do is ask me.
DO be considerate of me when I am around. Maybe I have not heard something is happening, and I need to be made aware. Let me know!
DO keep trying to learn to talk with me. It can get awkward and embarrassing, and hard. But that is okay; I am still helping you, and your efforts means the world to me.
DO make sure I understand you, and you understand me. Always. Pretending with a “I understand” nod … does not help. And if you ever catch me doing the same, call me out on it. I mean it.
DO try to include me in your group of friends or any social situation, even if I am the only signing Deaf person there. Your inclusion of me means everything.
DO be patient with me. I am trying to be patient with you, I really am. The communication barrier between us can be broken one day as long as we both keep trying.
DO learn something about my language and my culture and what our ways and views mean to us. If you will gladly learn some things about POC history and other countries and cultures and languages, then there is no reason to ignore Deaf history and culture. We exist, too.
DO be an advocate for my language and my culture and my history. You as a hearing person have the bigger, louder voice, so your voice in this world about us really does mean a lot.
DO learn not to take anything personally when you meet some of my culture’s slightly prouder and bolder people. Some Deaf people may not welcome you very much. That’s okay. We’re just protecting ourselves, but deep down, we do appreciate your efforts to interact with us.
DO be stubborn with me. I can be stubborn and proud about my ways. You can, too, and yet, you can still make a difference in our world!
DO love me. Sometimes I may not seem like I do, but I really do love you. The hearing world is an equally, genuinely beautiful world, just like the Deaf world.