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In recent years beginning as early as 1980 with increased awareness of and acceptance of American Sign Language it has become clear that one can adopt either of two opposing perspectives when interacting with the Deaf Community While these perspectives have been given different names or labels by different authors and researchers we will refer to the differing perspectives as the pathological model and the cultural model It is essential to understand which of these perspectives you might hold for each results in vastly different ways of dealing with and treating the Deaf Community Indeed the first perspective at least in some of its extreme manifestations would seek to deny the very existence of the Deaf Community The pathological view of Deaf people has also been called the Clinical-Pathological view or the Medical Model Essentially this view accepts the behaviors and values of people who can hear as standard or the norm and then focuses on how Deaf people deviate from that norm This is the perspective that has been traditionally held by a majority of non-deaf professionals who interact with the Deaf Community only on a professional basis In a sense this is the outsiders view - a view that focuses on how Deaf people are different from non-deaf people and a view that generally perceives those differences negatively It is also a view that deaf people have something wrong with them something that can and must be fixed Those who hold a pathological view might define the Deaf Community as a group of people whose hearing loss interferes with the normal reception of speech a group of people who have learning and psychological problems due to their hearing loss and their perceived communication difficulties a group of people who are not normal because they cannot hear It should be fairly easy to see that this view the pathological one results in paternalistic and oppressive behaviors and attitudes towards Deaf people Recently this way
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