Saturday, 23 September 2017

My disability is worse than yours ?

We are still reading comments and posts where there is suggestion one person's hearing loss experience is nothing compared with the huge disadvantages of being born with it.  I don't agree that those who lose hearing after, aren't as disabled as those who are born with it. In many respects it is a matter of perspectives.

The true definition of a disability, is LOSS, if you are born deaf then loss isn't the issue, it is something else.  Comparing apples with lemons is not a true analogy.  Are we into the realms of 'My disability is more then yours ?'

From the article:

People who are born deaf have a great disadvantage over those of us who were born with hearing, but who then either suddenly or gradually lose our hearing. We know about sound; they don’t. We can pronounce words the way they are supposed to sound because we can remember. We can draw on what we learned when we had hearing.

It ignores the effects of losing access to sound and speech.  Which is the prime disabling factor. It is like saying if born deaf lose sign later on, that isn't an issue either.  When are we going to stop trying to erect more barriers of misunderstanding to justify how we live ? You don't get to define my need.

As for having hearing experience before, it is irrelevant when you STOP hearing.  Indeed, the effect of no longer being able to hear can destroy families, communication, mental health, appreciation of music, social discourse, and access to a job, along with many other areas hearing give us access to.  If you add on to the fact those that lose all useful hearing later on, or after formative years, then it becomes a very real issue, and an issue that worldwide, no one takes much interest in.

If we accept the 'Deaf' community is self sustaining, and offers social access where else it may not be possible, then we can look at the  other deaf with no language or social community or support, who just have to get on with it.  The fact many might well be doing that, does not mean it is without issues. They have found alternatives to sign language in many respects, by sheer necessity in most part, but haven't found a communal approach honed to own experience.  All of us are different.

Mostly the 'deaf' sector is text reliant.  When signed access becomes a real access issue again as support dwindles by less demand, like their deaf schools, and clubs, then the 'deaf' may well come into their own.   It is suggested in many respects in the UK, hearing loss is no longer a real issue except for the sign user, and lip-reading is being abandoned, most feeling it is not run properly as a real system of empowerment, and cannot meet the needs of older deaf people or is taken seriously.  

Good lip-readers need good speech being used, no-one empowers that aspect. Most are viewing it unrealistic. As an attempt to set up a poor man's social aspect it doesn't work either.   Technology is providing real access and alternatives to sign and lip-reading.  The deaf don't need or ask for signed access, many signers no longer demand it in medias. 6% is the best they can hope for.  What happens is they are just shunted to own medias and left to it, NOT access at all.

Dedicated 'sign only' areas just serving to maintain the isolation of its users, and can only work where there are larger concentrations of those sign using people, who probably feel integration is a step too far, and launch access campaigns with no real desire for them to succeed.. The fact many deaf can speak is not a proven advantage in real terms, it won't enable your LOSS.  Sign is no advantage unless you have the support that goes with it.  

Speech makes it easier to ask the question, but it still doesn't provide the answer.  No more than a flashing door bell is of use when you open the front door after.  You still have to find a way to communicate with those that rang the bell.  A hearing animal is not going to do it either, they make poor conversationalists until they can speak or sign that is.

Good speech can suggest to mainstream you have no hearing loss at all, and invite ridicule, discrimination, or worse. Trigger-happy police won't stop shooting at us because we are 'deaf'. That can be compounded with a reluctance by born deaf to communicate with you either as THEY view you hearing.

The usage of sign is self-evident. They don't need a label although they seem to spend 80% of their time trying to invent new ones, and new terms for it all.  But you can only re-invent a wheel so many times.  It's round that is it....Let us dispense with the 'it is harder for me than you..', and we as deaf should not be supporting that concept either. We have much we can teach born deaf on ways to access mainstream without sign dependency, and we should all be working together to limit the need for support where we can, because most view it as negative, and the systems too expensive.    Who has time to be a martyr ?

If deaf children are finding  it hard after an education, then this suggests in itself they need wider communication options, not fewer of them.  So there is a need to resist signed only approaches, so that deaf children can relate to the fact most are not like them and have alternatives they can use.

The gulf between deaf and Deaf is growing ever wider.  Deaf power ? relative isn't it ?  What they lack is real confidence to put themselves to the test, as deaf have to.