Less than 2% of the Deaf Nation are Christians

Consider and Ponder These Things in Your Heart

Did you know? 90% of the Deaf are born to hearing parents. Of those parents, 92% do not sign.

 

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Articles Relating to Deaf Cultural Issues

A Hard of Hearing Perspective  
A Missiological Perspective of Deaf Ministry  
Basic Introduction to Some Aspects of Deaf Culture
( A Summary)  
Drowning in Mainstream  
Enculturation/Immersion Into A Culture
Ghosting

International Mother Language Day
Just a DEAF Person's Thoughts  
Let My People Grow
Legal Rights of Deaf People

Love for the Language Means Love for the People 
Pathological vs. Cultural Views of Deafness  
Ten Reasons Why the Church Needs to Embrace Deaf Culture
 
Deaf People and Electronic Communication 
Social Skills for the Hearing to Learn 
Understanding the Need of Cultural Sensitivity 

 

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International Mother Language Day - February 21


In November 17, 1999 UNESCO proclaimed 21 February as The International Mother Language Day, to be observed throughout the world. The day is celebrated to promote mother tongues and encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education. Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our observable and unobservable heritage. Today, about half of the 6,000 or so languages spoken in the world are under threat. (From Wikipedia.com - emphasis added)

Very often overlooked as a "Mother Language" is the sign languages of the Deaf of the world. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing make up approximately 8-10% of the world's population. The Deaf people's sign language is one that needs respected and included when we consider International Mother Language Day.

Many people, called "audists" are attacking sign language in an attempt to bring the Deaf into oralism. But, because language is central to group and self identity, culture, and heritage Deaf and supporters of the Deaf must make a stand to protect sign languages. 

In the United States, we must protect ASL (American Sign Language) and the right to keep it as the "Mother Language" of the Deaf.  To speak against or work against ASL as a first language, is to deny the Deaf their culture, heritage and their core self-identity!

The use of SEE and other manual codes (because it and such like it, are not real languages, but only codes for words), oralism and such must be resisted. The real heart language of the Deaf in the USA is ASL. It is polluted by audists who "think" they know best for the Deaf.  See the book by Harlan Lane, "The Mask of Benevolence" for a greater understanding of raping of the Deaf world's heart/mother languages.

The various sign languages of the world, must be respected and promoted to maintain the cultural wellness of the Deaf in their respective nations.
 

(c) 2008-2013 Deaf World Ministries, All rights reserved

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Ghosting in Deaf Relationships


Ghosting - is when a Deaf person is talking with a hearing person who doesn't understand what is being said, but another hearing person is telling them what is being said without the Deaf person knowing. This makes the Deaf person think that the hearing person they are talking with understands what is being said.

The Deaf person is robbed of developing a relationship. The right to have a good relationship is stolen and it disadvantages the Deaf from assessing (evaluating) the relationship and the person's skill level. Hearing should not, cannot, dishonor the Deaf person in this way! It impairs the Deaf and does not solve the problem.

What To Do

What do you do if the Deaf and hearing are misunderstanding each other?????

Do not say "Can I help you?" The Deaf will feel, "Why do I need help????"
You need to say, "The communication is failing is there anything I can do?"

Did you know that Christian interpreters are not generally respected by the Deaf? Ouch!!!  The Deaf tend to look down on them. WHY???? 

Ghosting in relationships does not set up a good relationship image.  The negative is to ask for pity on the Deaf person (or whoever). Negative example: "Please spend time with him." OR "If you will play with my son I will make cookies for you." This means someone behind the scene is solving the problem for him/her.  It is better to allow them to solve the problem for themselves.  If they ask for assistance, then by all means do what you can to solve or encourage them to solve the problem.  But don't become overbearing or paternal.

(c) 1998-2013 Deaf World Ministries, All rights reserved

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Legal Rights of Deaf People


by Sheila Lerner

Deaf and hard of hearing people have not received fair treatment from professional, social and government service providers or from the courts and police.

Recently I contacted a number of places and asked if they provided interpreters for the Deaf. Those included were: the fire department, hospitals, police station, mayors office, clinics, legal aid, and Doctors offices. They all had the same response, or close to the same. They did not have interrupters or know of any in the area. Sad, but true.

It is astounding to me, although probably not to the Deaf community, that the emergency departments of the city of Elkhart are not well-informed on the rights of the Deaf. How many other cities are the same? It would probably be alarming to find out.

One of the area hospitals returned my call and was very responsive to my questions. Although there are several at the hospital that know signed language, it was not known whether or not they knew ASL. An awareness that an interpreter was to be nationally certified was also not known. The response of the person I spoke with was a pleasant one. She showed a strong interest in doing the right thing and getting the information needed on the qualifications of the interpreters and materials on educating her staff on deafness.

The deaf have rights just as any other minority group. What are they? How, or what, will it take to get the information into the right hands to familiarize these places the rights they are entitled to. Many places feel that there just isn't a real necessity for proper communication for the deaf. The hearing population out number the deaf and their focal point is on the hearing. Besides it is easier, right? About medical treatment , a Deaf man had this to say:

I am what is generally known as a good lipreader.  My doctor, like so many others, is if the opinion that since I speak clearly, I must lipread equally well. I assure you that his diagnosis is wrong. . . . Many a time I have struggled to lipread him, pretended vast understanding, and then gone home to have my wife call his nurse to find out what the diagnosis was. The main reason for this lack of rapport between the doctor and his deaf patient appears to be the non-orientation of the medical profession to deafness and its non-medical complications, and the ever-present communication problem. I once asked a young doctor just what he had learned about deafness during his training. He said he could recall a bit about the causes and diagnosis of hearing loss and the anatomy of the ear. But as far as he could remember, nothing was ever said about the possible problems inherent in the doctor-patient relationship. (Schein, p.181-182).

The places mentioned above are only a few areas that the deaf face every day. Legal rights for the Deaf cover many areas. Television, telephone, social services, health, and employment, to name a few, are areas the Deaf have missed out on their rights. Hearing people cast a form of oppression by saying things like: "All Deaf can read lips and write", ( English) or "What they don't know won't hurt them"! Is this a true statement? After much research the answer is a big fat NO!!

Hearing loss is an obstacle to communication and understanding. Without proper communication the understanding can be lost, which in the medical field could mean life or death for the patient. The Deaf trust information they can see. Proper communication is the key to whether a deaf person will receive the services they need and are entitled to.

In communication there are several methods. It depends on the deaf person and the form they feel most comfortable. American Sign Language is the right of a deaf person. Their language has been fought by the hearing for many, many years. Many services believe that hand written notes are proper in communicating. This can be a problem because details are left out. Notes are time-consuming and in most of these services there is a strict time limit and they are not willing to allow more time for a deaf patient or client. This example shows that a sign language interpreter is not only the right of the deaf person, but could very well be for their safety in some situations. I believe that in the past when the Deaf were called " Deaf and Dumb", was the direct result of the hearing involved in their lives. They perceive that the information was not significant for the person and the family members or friends that were hearing would attend to them and they were the ones that needed to understand. Knowledge is everything!! Most deaf were not given the chance to attain knowledge. ( Lord, forgive us as hearing people for the unjust that has been done to the deaf by us.)

In the book "Legal Rights The Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People", it makes this issue clear:

The general nondiscrimination provisions in the Section 504 regulation apply to the communication barriers faced by deaf people as well as to physical barriers to people in wheelchairs. A deaf woman may be able to walk up a flight of stairs to a job counseling center without difficulty. But if she cannot understand the intake worker's explanations about filling out the forms, she will not be able to do it correctly. She will not know what services are available or how to get them. A deaf man may be able to walk into a hospital or mental health center; but if he cannot communicate with the doctor or counselor, he does not have meaningful, equivalent access to the program and its facilities. ( National Center for Law and Deafness, Legal Rights, p. 55)

Since 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents the rights of the deaf child is passed by and learned at a very early age that they have no right to deaf culture or American Sign Language. The "experts" talk the parents into an easier way of life, to teach them spoken English and then later in life if they feel the need to learn signed language then that was there choice. In Article 4 of the United Nations declaration adopted in 1992 , the rights guaranteed to language minorities are almost universally violated when it comes to signed language minorities: states should take measures in education to promote a knowledge of the history, traditions, language and culture of its minorities. (Lane, H. ; Hoffmeister, R.; Bahan,B. p.422).

Many rights are covered in many documents: Americans with Disability Act, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and The United Nations General Assembly all have documented the rights of the Deaf. A few covered in these documents are the right to dignity, the right to marry and found a family, the right to drive, the right to social services, the right to work, Woman and minorities and the right to a proper education. (Lane, H.; Hoffmeister,R.; Bahan, B. p.418-451)

We all have a long way to go in educating ourselves as hearing people on deaf culture. We need the help of the Deaf to properly educate us on the needs of the community and how to suitably meet them. Government and their amendments do not mean much unless the laws are enforced. How are we to educate those in the offices of service? Are the Deaf suppose to accept the slim advance that has taken place in government? I think not!! We need to be a support to the Deaf community and encourage them to obtain the right to be treated fairly in a world that was made for all walks of life.

We have the responsibility of molding a future deaf citizen. Are we going to add another handicap or are we going to be able to say: "Here, world, is an asset to your society, give him a chance and he will not fail you"?

- Ben E. Hoffmeyer 1958 ( Gannon, p.256)

(c) 1998-2013 Deaf World Ministries, All rights reserved

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Let My People Grow


by Ron Southwick

In the area of Deaf and Hearing relationships in the church we often find conflicts. One lady said the Deaf World and the Hearing World are so far apart the Church has not even been able to bring them together. Another Deaf pastor's wife told me, "The Deaf and hearing worlds are like oil and water, they won't mix." She also told me, "There are few, very few, hearing people that are willing to become immersed into the Deaf Culture."

Often in the church we find the same problems existing as in the world when two cultures are brought together. Lack of understanding of another culture and the subsequent inability to tolerate that culture. Then next we see that the weaker culture is taken over by the more dominant, powerful culture. They may be more powerful because of influence, numbers, wealth, power or tradition. This has been seen in woman suffrage, development of the Black culture and the emerging Deaf culture among others.

When a culture is emerging it is natural that there will be mistakes as they struggle to find out "who they are." We see this in the life of children as they move from one stage of maturity to another. Their teen age years are full of struggle as they pursue an identity different and apart from their parents. This does not mean it is rebellion. It may be "normal." It is normal. Guidance is needed, but patience is also needed on the part of those who have already passed through this stage. If the parent takes over and controls situations rather than allow the young adult to work through situations, that teenager will never mature.

The Deaf have often experienced situations where others have taken over and run things "for" them. This will not produce Deaf leaders. The Deaf must do things themselves and be allowed to grow. When others take over because they have a "better way" and more power to influence, the Deaf do not have that opportunity to learn and grow. It is important that the Deaf have a place to learn and to grow. They will develop the ability to "hear" God speak and learn how to apply His Word to their culture, themselves. As this happens, we will see growth in the Deaf people themselves, and they will influence their culture.

The opposite of this is to have a "paternalism" where growth and experience for the Deaf will be limited. They will become passive and accommodating. No growth, or limited growth is the best that can happen in this kind of environment. As the Deaf proverb says, "The Deaf are the last to know, and the first to go." In some settings the Deaf are not understood culturally nor allowed to grow at a rate that fits them. They are expected to develop at the same rate as a hearing person and if it does not happen in a way that satisfies the hearing people around them, they are "out the door."

When hearing people enter a Deaf environment and can not adopt the Deaf Culture, then take over and require the Deaf to become "hearing culture", it ceases to be "missions." We have seen/heard of times in the past when well meaning missionaries went into a culture with the good idea of presenting Christ to that culture. Upon arriving they presented the Gospel AND their own cultural perspectives of what is right and wrong. In doing this they destroyed the culture and often hindered the spreading of the Gospel.  Americans have been guilty of importing "American Christianity." 

To be effective in reaching a culture, the missionary needs to shed their culture. Then, in humility, they must be willing to learn, adopt and cloth themselves in the culture of those they are trying to reach. Don Richardson, in his teaching about the Melchesidek Factor says "A culture is 90% redeemable." This means what? It means that most of the culture does not need to be rejected to have the Gospel be effective within that culture. This being true, hearing people, who want to reach the Deaf World must be willing to surrender their culture and adopt the Deaf Culture. That is, if they are really sincerely called to be missionaries to the Deaf community. The Deaf ministry will/must define their way of life.

Often we hear about the need for Deaf workers to associate/fellowship with the Deaf. Do Deaf workers practice this? All too often we find most Deaf workers are married to spouses who have little or no interest in living among the Deaf. One Deaf pastor told me that in two main denominations which have strong Deaf works the really successful workers are a combination of Deaf/Hearing marriages where BOTH partners are involved in the ministry. To have two people going in separate ways is a sure way to hinder the advancement of the work of ministry.

For a person to have success in ministry they need to have a clear focus. If married, they must have a common goal. They must find time, no, they must make time to build relationships in the Deaf community. It must be a way of life. To have superficial relationships is to have a superficial ministry. To have deep, meaningful, close relationships with the people will go a long way toward a successful ministry. Relationships with in the Deaf community are highly valued. Immersion into their culture is held in high regard. Those who have within their heart to be immersed into the Deaf culture will not limit the growth of the Deaf persons, but encourage and enable. They will be patient and allow growth, applauding it whenever they see it. They will not resist taking on the Deaf culture as their own or accepting it without looking down on it.

It is time to let the Deaf take the lead. It is time to encourage. It is time for hearing who work with the Deaf to immerse themselves into the Deaf culture. And it is time to let God's people grow!

(c) 1998-2013 Deaf World Ministries, All rights reserved

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Ten Reasons Why the Church Needs to Embrace Deaf Culture

or
(The Church Needs to Break Barriers to Minister to Others)
This article written by a Deaf person from their perspective


 

  1. Many Deaf and Hard of Hearing people face every Sunday or every other Sunday where you are welcomed, but don't take the time to learn to say, "Hello," in your language.

  2. You have to sit by yourself near an interpreter who's so slow you miss half the service.

  3. There is no way to fully integrate deaf people into a hearing church. There should a church where there is no language barrier. All services should be in American Sign Language. The pastors should speak fluent ASL, so should the song leader, so should the church leaders. That's because they are all deaf.

  4. ASL can be translated into English. And some of the songs, written by deaf people are accompanied by the beat of a bass drum. That lets the deaf "feel" the song and helps them meditate on its meaning.

  5. A visitor may be surprised to hear ASL translated into English; the reason is simple. The Deaf have suffered language oppression too long to practice it against the hearing.

  6. Some churches have deaf ministries; "Cultural barriers" make them unappealing to the Deaf.
  7. Deaf people think church is a hearing culture function They don't feel a sense of connectedness to church. It's rare that you'll go to a church where there's an interpreter with phenomenal skills who understands Deaf Culture. That results in information transfer so slow it's a waste of time. That's why many well-educated people don't go to church.
  8. The cultural barrier gives the church a unique role in reaching the deaf. The use of mass media is of little value, so the church should stress lifestyle evangelism, living God's love day to day so that others notice the difference. It requires spending time, having fellowship with the Deaf on a regular basis during the week.
  9. Because many deaf feel that Christianity is hearing - Culture, English language, Euro-centric phenomenon, the church emphasizes that God is spirit and speaks to everyone in unique way. Presenting God's word to the deaf has it's own challenges. For example idioms simply don't translate well into ASL.
  10. Jesus' parables present theological concepts in pictures and are wonderful segue into ASL

(c) 1998-2013 Deaf World Ministries, All rights reserved

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Drowning in Mainstream


Didn't have your address to mail you directly, but wanted to share my opinions and observations as to mainstreaming. I am sure there are many success stories with whatever system is utilized, but there are many factors that must be looked at to qualify the success or failure.

As for mainstreaming for educational purposes, I will feel that it is a filtered education. The students are and will be missing out on much that goes on due to the inability of an interpreted education to be equal... There is no way for everything that goes on in the room, every conversation, chat, shared information, directly or indirectly, can be fully interpreted in any system, be it ASL, SEE, whatever. When the teacher uses a visual language to teach and it is required of all in the class to use the same language, then it would be equal for all involved within that classroom. But does that make it equal to a classroom of hearing peers? I doubt it.

Support at home is another factor in how successful a system is. If there is continued communication happening at home in a visual manner that is working for that individual, then the success will be a lot greater. But if there is no communication at home continuing in the same method used in the school setting, most likely the success will be much less.

Looking back at senior citizens of today and the education that they had, they tend to have a much better command of the English language as well as their own sign language and can read anything that they pick up. I cannot say that I have observed the same of the younger generation that has been tossed from one educational method to another. So what is the difference between the generations and their educational methods? If it worked so well long ago, can that same method still work today? Most likely.

Many were educated in the states, I might add, in residential schools for the Deaf, with a much higher percentage of native users of sign languages (deaf or hearing) and education was taught via a native visual language and English taught as a second language with much fingerspelling for clarity of vocabulary. I am not witnessing the same process today. Many of the teachers are hearing and almost all have no communication skills that are worth praising.

Most of the universities that produce educators for deaf children do not emphasize the need to be fluent in a visual language. Many may suggest that a course is taken to learn signs, but, as far as I know, not one of the colleges or universities in the states require that the graduates be fluent in ASL! Does that say something? I think it does.

I may have opened a can of worms, but some of those worms have been held up to long and need out!

Ray
Little Rock, AR

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Articles of Personal Testimony


 


Understanding the Need of Cultural Sensitivity


by Chris Sherwin

(Editorial comment: The setting is a team of young people being trained to work with the Deaf.   They had traveled across the USA in a van. One Deaf lady was with the team.   Time had been spent trying to give understanding to the hearing students regarding the importance of being sensitive to Deaf people and their culture.  An emphasis had been made to be voice-off. The reason for voice-off is because when signing and voicing at the same time the quality of information received by a Deaf person is greatly reduced.   The signing deteriorates, the emphasis is on the voice and not on the signing. Signs are dropped and becomes sloppy.  The sentence structure changes and becomes more English than ASL.

At one church in San Diego we met a pastor and his family.  The pastor was deaf. We thought the wife was also Deaf but the children were hearing.  The wife never spoke a word.   We were all sitting in the living room. Her children would talk to her from behind her. She did not acknowledge them until they came around to the front and signed.  This was to show respect for the father, who, as I mentioned before, is Deaf.  The wife showed complete respect and sensitivity for the husband and his culture at all times. The children signed very well.

Later in the evening we were discussing the following day's service and the pastor mentioned some of the congregation are hearing. When asked who would interpret for him, he signed, "My wife."  We were all shocked.   She is hearing. Yet in all the time we were in their home she held completely to honoring the husband and the culture.  This is the example and goal we felt our students should strive toward.

As we left the church two of us went to the pastor's wife and told her how much we appreciated her example of sensitivity and cultural appropriateness she demonstrated to us.  We told her we recognized that it was not with out great cost.  Immediately she broke down in tears and thanked us.

Giving up ones own rights to their culture and sacrificing it to become the best missionary possible is the best way to reach those to whom we are called.  This is how Jesus did it. WWJD? Exactly the same. He demonstrated it all the way to the cross.  Now on to the testimony.)

Chris's Testimony

Not this is not a special day or anything.  It is about something I realized and thought I should write about.

It is all about Deaf Culture.  When I saw a pastor's wife in San Diego, California, I think God struck my heart and said, "This is how it should be."  I had made a commitment to "voice-off" when our team was up north in Fresno, California.  But, the problem I had happened because I was staying with hearing families.  I had everyone around me talking and that didn't help me keep my commitment.  So, what did I do?  I gave into the temptation to break my vow, of course.  I would still sign to the Deaf lady with us, but when she wasn't in the room I would use my voice.  Why?  Because I was lazy and frustrated.

But after talking with the Deaf lady and seeing a pastor's wife set an example, I knew that I was making the wrong choice.  Signing only when Deaf people are in the room is not immersing myself in Deaf culture.  I found that it is offensive to the Deaf - and now I agree - I see that it is!  I then knew that I needed to ask God to soften my heart again.  I needed to become soft toward the Deaf and their culture again. 

I had a bad attitude and was stubborn about keeping my own culture.  But God was able to soften my heart once again.  I saw that my bad attitude was not setting an example for who had chosen to be voice-off, it was not   helping our ministry, (our ministry was in Deaf churches) and it was not helping me as a person.  I am thankful the Lord answered the prayer of my heart and it is once again a little more sensitive.

I am extremely sorry for the Deaf lady who had to put up with and endure my insensitivity.  I am trying my best to change.  It is hard to leave my own culture behind, but I know that it is something I must do.  I know God has called me to Deaf ministry, and I know He wanted to challenge me.  I am challenged!  But with His strength I can do all things, even leave my own hearing culture

Sometimes, I wish I was Deaf.  I don't say that to impress anyone.  I say it because I truly mean it. I wish I could experience exactly what the Deaf person experiences.  Then I could fully understand. 

No matter how voice-off a hearing person is,  we can never have a full Deaf experience.  I wish I was Deaf so I could have a true Deaf experience.  I have a hunger that God has given me to learn the language and my heart cry is to learn it faster.  I hate not being able to fully communicate - I hate it!   Maybe that is a Deaf experience in itself!  But, I know I must be patient, because learning sign language and Deaf culture is an ongoing process.  I know I will never fully learn it or understand it because I am hearing.

I suppose I have to be Deaf to understand.

(c) 1998-2013 Deaf World Ministries, All rights reserved

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Deaf and Electronic Communication


Old Technology

New types of communication are being developed as technology continues to expand its horizons.

However, let us mention some of the older technology used by the Deaf in former days. After the development of the telephone much later came the use of the TTY (hearing often use the term TDD). The TTY was very costly, especially in the beginning when the cost would often run $1600 for something as simple as this device.

The TTY was a system where the phone receiver was placed into the device, which had cups for both ends one for speaking and one for hearing. The person initiating the call would dial the phone and then placed the receiver onto the TTY. The person initiating the call would tap the spacebar at about once per second or two seconds, so that when the person on the other end place their receiver into the TTY they would see a signal showing up on their screen, which usually loud 70 to 80 characters. Then they could start talking. Usually with "hello, I am [name]." Then they would continue taking turns talking and to notify the other person they were done talking. They would use the code "GA".

As you can imagine if a person was not a proficient typist, this could use up quite a bit of telephone time, cost, and the person quite a bit of money if it was a long distance call! Another problem was that if the person was not a good speller sometimes words were misunderstood. However, this was a much better and faster system than letters and did not necessitate being face to face.

Let me note here that the way the receiver of the call was notified that he was receiving a call was because he had a flasher attached to the phone so that in time the phone rang it would flash brightly and alert them to the phone call.

Many Deaf had gone to using faxes to communicate as opposed to having using a TTY. This too, had become a standard means of communicating among the Deaf in America. It was much cheaper and the person did not have to be home to be able to communicate the message. When they arrived home the message would be there and they could respond.

IRC and SMS

One of the next ways Deaf communicated after computers became common, and the price came down where they could be affordable, was by IRC.  IRC means InternetRelay Chat and was on YIM (Yahoo Instant Messenger), MSN Messenger, ICQ, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), etc. or on chat rooms set up for that purpose on various Deaf web sites. These were common for the Deaf to use for quite a while.

This had been an inexpensive and comfortable way for the Deaf (and hearing) to meet and talk together. It was much cheaper than the normal relay system, although more planning had to be involved for this than in a relay call or use of a video phone (explained below). Some countries did not and do not have the convenience of relay operators.

SMS, short message service, was also used over systems such as YIM (Yahoo Instant Messenger), MSN Messenger, ICQ, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). Using this method through a computer. They were also able to reach each other through pagers. Pagers are still used today by many Deaf. The pager was far less expensive way to communicate than the TTY or having to buy a computer, although, today computers have become a way of life for almost all Deaf and hearing people in the USA.

With the coming of the ADA law (American Disabilities Act) and the ruling that Deaf did not have to pay for phone usage cost for TTY and other phone services became nil and some of these older ways were still in use due to the no-cost privilege.

NexTalk on the Internet

A now antiquated method of communication is through NexTalk on the Internet.  NexTalk.com has set up a free service for the Deaf or Hearing to communicate back and forth. After downloading their program and setting up a login and password a person can call a TTY user or a Voice user via the program.  If the receiver is on the internet and the caller knows their login name they can contact them at that time.  If the call receiver is not on the internet the call is placed as any TTY-to-TTY call would be done. One exception is  that it is done on the internet using the callers computer.  The other exception is that the call is free even if it is long distance.  To call a hearing person the NexTalk user goes through IPRelay and it is much like using a TTY via a Relay operator.

Videophone

Another means of communication that has been impacting the Deaf community is Video Phone use.  For this to happen the person must have high speed phone lines such as DSL, or high-speed cable.  The video phone is separate and apart from their Internet service.  Systems are often provided free of cost to the Deaf and hard of Hearing.  The most common, currently are D-Link, Sorenson, Purple and many other companies and electronics developers are jumping on the band wagon now as well.

The Video Phone (VP) has replaced TTYs and other forms of communication and is one of the best forms for Deaf, at this time, as they can see each other and sign with the full influence of their language, meaning facial expression, body language/movement, timing etc. They receive full benefit of their visual language. For communicating with the hearing it is also a boon for the Deaf as they have full access to an interpreter 24/7/365 who acts as a go between from them. They sign to an interpreter, the interpreter in turn talks to the hearing person on the other end. When the hearing person speaks, the interpreter signs their words to the Deaf who sees it in his/her own language.

Videophones and the interpreter service are free of cost to the Deaf. A part of everyone's phone bill has a fee attached to it that goes to cover the cost of the services.

iPhone, iPad, etc.

today's technology, etc., expanding exponentially, which is a real boon for those who are Deaf. This frees the deaf person to be able to talk on a cell phone just as easily as a hearing person can. With the building cameras. They are able to see each other & freely and express themselves with the full benefit of being able to communicate clearly to the person on the other end. They are not restricted to being at home, but can be at the local supermarket or traveling across the country. They can also use these for texting each other, just as their hearing counterparts.

Additional Thoughts on Communication Forms For the Deaf

See http://www.hearmore.com for technologies available to the Deaf, not only for communication, but for in-house use, and so on.

Technology continues to change how Deaf people communicate with others who are Deaf or hearing. While all this technological development has been a great benefit to those in the Deaf culture. It is also had some disadvantages, namely, "High Tech – Local Touch." With the ability to communicate much easier, there has been a decrease in many areas for the need of the "Deaf club" where people would come face-to-face discussing issues that pertain to them and their needs as well as just continuing social interaction. In my opinion, this is tending toward a breakdown in the deaf culture which seems sad to me.

Portable VPs , which are now available such as "Purple 3" and are available to the Deaf person at a cost far less than the cost of a TTY. Great strides are being made via email, computers and Video Phones which speed communication and make it much more accurate than in the "old days".  It is truly a new day!

High prices for some of the services they receive is a part of Deaf Culture, too!  But, unfortunately it is a problem of supply and demand. Just check out the prices they must pay for alarm clocks, fire alarm/smoke detectors for the home, etc. Check out Hearmore's home page.

These are only some of the ways of communication used by the Deaf.  Advancements are being made in technology on an almost daily basis, which assists the Deaf to communicate more quickly and sometimes, with less expense. We wait to see what the next advances will bring.

Copyright 2003, 2013  Deaf World Ministries. All rights reserved.


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Social Skills for the Hearing To Learn


The best way to learn ASL and to develop skills is to socialize with the Deaf themselves. Go where they are, talk to them but most importantly, LISTEN to them. Often those of us who are hearing, we want to tell them OUR ideas. But it is important that we:

Do respect their culture - Don Richardson said "90% of a culture is redeemable."
Do not jump into their culture
Do not take over
Do have a humble heart
Do listen to them and their perspective
Do take on "attitudinal deafness" in social, political, educational, and linguistic areas.
Do apply ourselves to becoming skilled in the language.
Do accept criticism humbly - after being criticized, ask them to tell you more so you can continue learning.
Do come under them, not trying to be over them.
Do not use "hearing power"
Do not be/act oppressively
Do SEEK out the Deaf
Do find a Deaf mentor
Do build good relationships with the Deaf in the community

I do know of  GOOD ASL training on the internet. You may find these by doing a search, however, just learning signs is not really the best way to gain what is needed for working with Deaf people. It is best to go to an ASL class in your area or at a local college especially when it is taught by a Deaf person or has a Deaf person doing tutoring. Without continued interaction with DEAF PEOPLE you will not be able to develop the skill set needed to become fluent in the language. If you learn from HEARING SIGNERS it is very likely that you will be picking up mistakes and will lack the newest signs in use in the Deaf community.

If God is calling you to work among the Deaf, perhaps consider pursuing that call by going to a place to get proper training. Ask the Lord to open doors for you to meet Deaf Christians and Deaf who can mentor you. Apply yourself with great diligence. Remember, not all Deaf are good teachers of ASL, just as all hearing are not good teachers of English (or whatever their native language happens to be.)

Copyright 2003-2013  Deaf World Ministries. All rights reserved.

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