Posted this on the Deaf-Uk forum and felt it was too deep to discarded on the DUK server – owned by someone else. So, posting it again under my bog……blog!!!
I am absorbed by these comments from Erick. It is quite hard hitting for my liking but as I understand it is an American trait to be forthright and can understand his zeal because they got results by standing up for themselves and believing in themselves.
Like I said before, I would still be wary when to use the word ‘audism’ unless it is absolutely clear that it is occurring and inflicted upon us. I have to admit that I didn’t like the bit when Erick said if the parents of the Deaf person refused to learn BSL, he would be surprised if they didn’t disown them. That rankled me a teeny little bit.
The reason for my concern is this……
A wee bit about me – I was brought up via the oralism route – my memories of my time in the PHU is quite vague but 7 of us got on pretty well but we still had speech lessons. In mainstream classes, I had no comm support and I was happy in my own world of daydreaming, drawing faces of people (which I was quite good at). However, red ears and steamed up headphones was the norm of the day. Shit happens. I don’t remember having speech back then – only gestures and actions – until I was approaching nearly ten. When I was discovered deaf at the age of 3, my education became an issue and my parents was convinced that making me oralised was the right way to go about it (no thanks to the NDCS back then – we are talking about the 70s). Then I go into Mary Hare. We all know what happened there. The most oralised pupils have a better time than BSL pupils cos of their oralism approach. I was oblivious to that fact cos I was having happy time in me own dream bubble. Anyway, I found my Deaf identity 5 years after I left Mary Hare and joined the Sheffield Deaf student scene of the early 90s (approx 25 of us). Despite discovering BSL, I have always communicated to my parents through speech. Now, fast forward 7 years ago, after the millennium, I met my future wife. She was the 1st BSL partner, whereas previous partners have been mainly deaf and oral. What did my parents do, they enrolled onto BSL classes in Gloucester, without me asking them. Now, my mum is still making an effort to communicate with my wife but, regrettably my dad have given up after trying one whole course and failed the stage 1 exam. He simply cannot make sense of new language because, by his rationale, he is not a language person. He still make an effort, bless him, but have to rely on me to interpret for me, which my wife don’t mind. Cos we are all not perfect.
That is why we have to be careful not to be too eager to use the term “audism”. There could be other factors that are not based on prejudice and ignorance. Some people are conditioned that way and it is through no fault of their own.