"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Friday, March 8, 2013

My Opinion of the Issues Portrayed in "Uprising" - Switched at Birth

I finally watched "Uprising", the latest "Switched at Birth Episode". It left me with a lot of thoughts swirling in my brain, but it wasn't until there was a conversation about the program in the Signing Time Instructor's group discussing issues with Nicole (you will find a link to her website below), that I was able to put those thoughts into adequate words.

 Here are a few snippets of my end of the conversation:

I watched it on the ABC link ( http://abcfamily.go.com/watch/switched-at-birth/SH55120583/VD55280632/uprising ) I was pleased that they also showed how there is discrimination within the deaf community itself. That needs to change. I floundered in mainstream schools as a hard of hearing child... The character of Noah floundered and couldn't function in mainstream, yet some of the deaf didn't want him because he isn't "deaf enough". 

I was also disheartened Daphne didn't stand up for Bay. Children with deaf family members should be allowed as well. It strengthens their bond as siblings, and helps them to advance their own ASL skills so they can communicate better.

I would also like to see them demonstrate CART at some point for new hard of hearing and deaf students who have not had opportunity to learn ASL. Inclusion needs to reach across all the barriers. 

These are different days and times. I believe that by laying aside discrimination, Deaf Community can be the change we want to see in the world. We must put away old learned attitudes and behaviors to see progress. I was involved in a small community decades ago where these attitudes did not exist among its Deaf Community. 

Did anyone notice that there are no students with cochlear implants on the show? When those are turned off, one is still deaf. "The right people", according to Travis, are a select few, only profoundly deaf - this is flagrant discrimination. 

Now is the time for change. Today's Deaf and Hard of Hearing can begin that within our own communities by modeling the change we wish to see, speaking up for all the deaf AND!! Hard of Hearing, not just one separate group. We need support the family members of deaf and hard of hearing as well. Shunning or making hearing family members outcasts, like what Daphne is doing to Bay, will only continue to cause angst and division.

By being accepting those who are different - hearing - hearing impaired - hard of hearing - respecting and supporting those who want to be included will go farther in today's society. 

As a deaf person, I feel it is my duty to help hearing people understand that deafness and hearing loss come in many degrees and varieties. Not all deaf use ASL, so interpreters are not always the answer.

Not all deaf read English well, because English to some ASL users is a second or foreign language, so CART is not an option for them in group or classroom situations.

Many people (such as myself) became deaf post lingual and have been labeled hearing impaired by the medical profession. It does not mean the person is impaired, only that their ears no longer work as they once did. It is the same concept of vision impairments. WE should be allowed to use whatever description that aptly describes our situation, AND respect one another's choices in this regard. 

If the deaf and hard of hearing, hearing impaired, (whatever label you use for your situation) combined OURSELVES together with one unified front, accepting the differences and providing every communication means available for one another, it would be a STRONGER community and more would get done. As long as there are factions and discrimination, there will only be angst and unmet needs. 

It's time to stand up together and be the change we wish to see by starting within our community, being supportive and accepting of one another REGARDLESS of degree of deafness or hearing loss. It's time to be inclusive.

I'm looking forward to seeing the conclusion of  "Uprising". Be sure to visit Nicole's website: http://www.mysigningstar.com/ She is a fellow Signing Time Instructor in the Florida area.


  1. Hmmm. I tried posting before from my phone but for some reason it didn't post. Anyway, great write up! In the Fall of 2013, I hope to start a Signing Club for all people to join. Deaf, HOH, Hearing, Students, kids and so and and so forth, regardless of the signing or communication ability. The purpose of this is to bridge people together and have fun by communicating through sign language and to educate one another about the, like you mentioned, "accepting the differences and providing every communication means available for one another, it would be a STRONGER community and more would get done." :)

    1. That is a GREAT idea, Nicole! Thank you for the conversation and dropping by to reply.

    2. I'm so glad I was able to help you put your emotions into words. It was indeed a wonderful discussion. Thank you so much for advertising my page, that was very thoughtful of you! And by the way, the post above that you replied to was the wonderful Shannon Moss-Henkel, owner of "Signing Starz" in New Jersey. Yes, it's another case of similar business names within the academy. lol.

  2. You said, "Not all deaf use ASL"....


    If you had checked out several DPN (Deaf President Now) videos that are circulating in YouTube, you will witness the majority of protestors and leaders using Sim Com. Many vocalized while signing. This was a common sight at Gallaudet in the 70's and 80's, and I daresay prior to the 70's as well. It still continues to this day where not all uses ASL, even at Gallaudet. Likewise, many who vocalized (Sim Com) also signed in English as well.

    I wait with anticipation with how the show is going to deal with the protest at Carton. While the show is using DPN anniversary for the plot, the situation at Carlton is more similar to budget cuts affecting deaf schools in America as versus a deaf president.

    Then again when have TV reflected true life? Usually TV shows do not accurately reflect many aspects of how life is for many people.


    1. Candy, thank you for further educating us with the various forms of Sign Language used among the Deaf and hard of hearing. I was just thinking of you the other day and your post, "The Problem with Speaking" when someone was surprised that I used my voice though I am now deaf. It was so eloquently written.

  3. Shan
    Shannon and Nicole,

    My sincerest apologies for confusing the two of you. Thank you, Nicole, for pointing out my faux pas.

  4. Great post! Thanks for sharing. Lots of things to think about and discuss here. Check out my recent blog post on this episode: http://www.ehwhathuh.com/2013/03/problems-i-had-with-switched-at-births.html

    Let me know what you think.


    1. Thank you, (e. I did read your great post over in FaceBook, and I "shared" it. :-)

  5. Interesting and wonderfully written post. I agree with what you said. Also, do you find it interesting that Gallaudet University has a dedicated website for DPN but not for the 2nd protest DPN2 or Unity for Gallaudet Movement that occurred in 2006 as another watershed moment? A deaf president that was finally and officially selected who is "sufficiently Deaf centric" enough for the culturally deaf community of Gallaudet University?



    1. Mike, thank you for your kind compliment. Thank you also for sharing more history and details. I was not familiar with these events at all. I'm pleased you shared your link here to help educate others that will be reading this post. I visit your blog often.

    2. Thank you for visiting my blog! :)