Facebook Message Circulating: “Being left out of a hearing family/friend’s conversations just because I’m the only deaf person in the family or circle of friends. Whoever is hearing needs to realize it is so hurtful for your deaf relative to feel left out. If you have a deaf relative, please always include them in your chats- the deaf member wants to be part of your family or circle of friends. Please copy & paste. Hopefully we can educate others.”
I intended to write about this but time got away with me. I happened to go to Amy Cohen Efron’s site: http://www.deafeyeseeit.com where she wrote “Later!”.
In a time where people are arguing on the extremes, advocating for spoken languages or ASL – children and adults continue to be left out of the conversation – especially at family gatherings.
“I will tell you later.”
I am fortunate to have my immediate family communicate well with me in both languages. Only a few of the extended families (aunts, uncles and grandparents) have attempted to sign; while taking the time to be patient. I will agree with many people – it is much better when we sit one-on-one than in a family gathering. Seriously, how can one lipread that many lips!? How can one hear so many voices and pluck one out to participate? I swear I am not an idiot, nor was I raised to be one. I am fairly intelligent (don’t talk about common sense here!) and can hold my own in a conversation about various topics. I always wondered if that was one reason why I am struggling in social settings, the lack of natural social ‘graces’ outside of the family. “Should I ask that”, “Is it okay to bring this up”, or “When do I stop harping on this topic?”.
“Hold on a minute”
Someone commented in Cohen’s blog about “I think it is because the family doesn’t learn effective strategies to use.” (for full comment, go to the blogsite). This could be true – one spends so much time on language strategies, in a case say – lot of speech and listening training, rather than figuring out what and how one can communicate effectively and naturally.
A VERY brief summary of whatever is going on.
I am sure that over the years my family have had to put up with my outbursts when we are playing games or talking about a particular topic; I only hope that the message circulating on Facebook serves to remind the relatives why we, deaf people, have a hard time socializing with hearing people.
“You don’t need to know.” (second worst after “never mind” for someone who is by nature, curious)
You can taste, briefly, what it is like to be isolated by going to events or activities where deaf people gather and know little to none of ASL or other sign methods. That cannot compare to a life time we go through.
Talking one-on-one; I watch as someone calls the other and see the person I talk to turn away without ever finishing the conversation.
That is what we are used to and really that is a grievous thing to do: get used to something and not making a change. Let me be honest – that is the second most grievous thing. The foremost grievous thing is when within the family, sign language is the common language (native/natural) and we are yet segregated at family gatherings by two groups: deaf and hearing.
Yep, sad to say it is true. At the very same table, we have hearing people speaking and deaf people signing. This is a family where more than 75% uses sign language and yet we are segregated. I would love to know why this is ‘permissible’ by deaf parents. Heartbreaking really. Common reality is that hearing children tend to interpret for their parents and/or siblings at family gatherings. To quote teens today, “REALLY!?”. Pitiful!
Note to Parents: When your children are 30 years or so and not so bound to parental rules, you may begin to wonder why your deaf children do not want or barely tolerate going to events, you can look at this poem “What is it Like to be Deaf?” in this site http://www.zak.co.il/d/deaf-info/old/poems.
I love my family to the stars and back, it is just time for the rest of the families to see why I am the way I am. It was made a big deal of my being deaf, rarely am I seen for who I am. For those who have gone beyond my ears and seen me for who I am (outbursts and all), I appreciate your patience and for the changes we are going through now.
This is dedicated to my mother who made my life harder and easier, gave me and my siblings no shit and with her passing, me and my immediate family changes are taking place … for the better.
You could say this post is an extension of my post on 30 Dec 2010: https://humandeafeverythinginbetween.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/to-family-gatherings/