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Deaf Culture The deaf culture is difficult to grasp for the average speaking individual Its not a series of remedies for everyday life such as phone calls or the doorbell it is a complete way of life stemming from attitude demeanor and social interaction The most obvious difference in hearing and deaf culture is expression ie signing The subtle differences in the way one conveys them self in speech versus signing arise from how it is phrased or signed For almost two centuries sign language has been formally taught in America yet being deaf is still associated with being dumb or handicapped when that is not the case at all Deaf people are noticeably more articulate when conversing with another individual using facial expressions and conveying entire ideas in but a single sign Most of the deaf population seems to be extremely friendly and willing to converse will anyone they can Even with my limited knowledge of ASL everyone I met at the ice cream social at Ben Jerrys helped me through conversation and cheerfully taught me knew signs One guy I met pointed something interesting out to me about the way deaf people hug each other He said that hearing people hug in an A-frame fashion whereas deaf people fully embrace each other It was such a small subtlety but seemed very significant to them almost as a metaphor for deaf culture When hearing parents have a deaf child they are often misinformed about the options they have for that child Many times they are told they must learn to speak in order to be right Even more shockingly they are told not to use sign with their children Doctors used to fear that this would hamper any efforts to teach a child to talk when in fact quite the opposite is true 80 to 90 of children born deaf will never learn to speak Spradley 259 The deaf children would throw
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