Tuesday, 26 July 2016

You are disabled, you just can't see it...

Via the usual skirmishes that occur on social media, one commentator was clashing very strongly with a culturally deaf person who posted 'Deaf aren't disabled' and got a lot of hostility from others deaf who disagreed with him after he was stating 'Deaf pride leads to a Deaf fall, you don't speak for us as deaf people.. and are damaging our image and misleading support systems via a totally biased awareness campaign.. that has no relation to us at all..'

He went further and listed the 'myths' and realities of the 'Deaf' images including:

(1)  Deaf needed special education approaches. (Because they are disabled)

(2)  They need special schools. (Can't function in mainstream)

(3)  Have acknowledged learning difficulties.

(4) 40% of deaf children have mental health issues. (A known disability)

(5) Deaf adults can't function adequately in a hearing world without hearing support (Interpreters). (Help, support isn't empowerment).

(6) They near all claim disability welfare support, exemptions, priorities etc. (Deaf are disabled when it suits them !)

This angered many.  Clearly not accepting all that was 'empowerment', 'access' or enabled them, was anything less than disability oriented.  The 'I am not disabled' view came mainly from those who feel cultural via their deafness, live in their own community etc.

But it's explained the disability term was based on LOSS (Hearing loss), NOT culture, and how that affects the individual, and the degree of support needed... if you never heard then disability would probably not be felt as your norm. You can do everything except hear, but are still  ignoring the fact the world revolves around that, not your deafness.... or even what you need to cope with it...

Without acknowledging the validity of either Deaf or deaf as a term, there is little doubt, that losing your hearing after a former hearing and educational background, (or when a sudden loss happens), then the term disability really does apply. The conundrum via the mainstream, is entirely based on the visual, what they see is what they think you are. 

If you are a deaf person who uses sign language every day, uses interpreters, went to 'school for the deaf' etc, then that image, is all.  But the perception remains an issue....It may well be a wrong perception but the general image is you rely on 'help' and very visually via support.   It's an issue of awareness, that is based on two definitive areas existing, that aren't classed differently..  

If you are someone who went from hearing to HoH to profound deaf in both ears, there is absolutely no doubt, it disables, and very possibly for life.. sensory loss is a serious issue, and a real disability that is universally recognised. It is not taken into account your level/abilities of managing that loss, as this varies person by person, not, sector by sector.    Loss really does disable, when the reality is you may be isolated, depressed, or lonely, and have huge difficulty of communicating, why would you go into denial to fit an 'image' or someone else's perception ?

What is worse, is that some deaf people attack others who struggle with hearing loss, because they feel it is negative and reflects on them.  Using the very unfair terms like 'get a grip' etc.  In some, its an arrogance borne of contempt, because they have a language, a culture, a community and are deaf, and don't see why it should bother you, just because you are deaf or losing your hearing.  'We cope, so you can..'.  It can suggest you are negative about what they are, so undermines their confidence and own image of themselves.

It tends to cut both ways, as too much highlighting of one form of approach and lifestyle gets attached to everyone else deaf and then support suffers, as priorities emerge based on that misunderstanding, and because those who are suffering via loss, lack the will or capability to get what they need.. 

'D'eaf may well be different to 'd'eaf in some eyes but mainstream and those who have lost useful hearing still don't buy it, what they see, what they experience, challenges it.. 'deaf', and 'HoH'  are 'living proof' deafness/loss disables. So culture becomes a sticking point of access and need as the non-cultural areas rejects their claims... What works for you won't work for me, so I don't buy that..  If I have to, I will oppose it
for that reason.

Hence the basis of Deaf V deaf.

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