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

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Friday, September 6, 2013

My Thoughts Regarding "Alone in a Hearing World"

I want to thank Dave McAuliffe for sharing this powerful video on Facebook in the Lipreading Mom and Dad's Forum.

This video was created for the "hearing" people in a deaf child's life, the parents, family, friends, coaches, and educators.

I would love it if someone could put captions or a transcript to this for us so we could all have access to the language, the ASL and the audio.

Though I didn't have Sign Language or any other help in classes at school when I was mainstreamed,  I understand much of what this boy experienced, though not quite the degree because I was hearing impaired, not deaf.

When I was in 7th grade, I took French classes. Though I struggled with the speaking and hearing portions, I did very well with the writing and reading. When I got to high school and continued on with French, the teacher hooked us up with microphones and headsets to learn the language strictly through audio recordings. I failed miserably. There were no lips to read, no visual cues. I explained I simply couldn't hear, and she told me I needed to find another class. I was disheartened. All I needed was someone to spare me a few minutes and go through the vocabulary a few times with me each week. The solution was simple to me. It didn't sit well with the teacher and I took up a different class.

Guess where I ended up living as an adult? In Europe, in a French speaking community in a village outside of Nurnberg in the Bavaria region of Germany. Though I had forgotten most of what I learned of the French language by then, it didn't matter. Most of the neighbors spoke English and were very accommodating when they saw me putting effort into trying to speak their language, whether it was German, French or Spanish. I simply told them "I don't have an 'ear' for language", pun intended, of course.

The startling points of this video are the statistics captioned at the end of this story:

*  One out of seven deaf and hard of hearing will become addicted to drugs and alcohol

*  That's 30% higher than individuals who can hear

              isolation, depression, lack of communication are all contributing factors
*  Only 23% of parents with deaf children learn to communicate through American Sign Language


We can start by joining the campaign to #KEEPASLINSCHOOLS

ASL is an American language.  I think it is time to recognize that as a language of our American tax paying citizens, we should be inclusive and adopt this language throughout our school systems. Many child care centers, preschool and early elementary schools and high schools are now adding Sign Language as part of the curriculum. 

It would do us well to become an inclusive society and adopt American Sign Language into mainstream school and thereby, breaking down the communication barriers that divides our communities.

Together, we can make a better society not only for ourselves, but our children and their children. 

Take 12 minutes of your time and look at the world through the eyes of the child in the video, then join Monica with the campaign to Keep ASL In Schools Be sure to "like" the page while you are there to show support.

Here is the 12 minute video, "Alone in a Hearing World":


  1. Excellent post, and excellent video. I will discuss some captioning options and issues with you through the FaceBook channel.

  2. I cried watching this because I went through this too. I've been struggling with a profound loss my whole life....55 yrs.

    1. Communication barriers are the most difficult and divisive issue we face. We are by nature relational creatures, and without language to communicate we are alone. I understand "Some" of what you feel. I am not in your shoes to know exactly what you feel, but that which I do understand, I emphasize with you. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment W.

  3. Very sad video.
    It's hard to believe only 23% of parents with children that have hearing loss learn A.S.L.
    I would not expect everyone to be like Rachael Coleman and go make their own TV show but I would at least hope they would learn A.S.L. so the family could communicate among themselves. We need more "Rachael Coleman's" in the world. :-)

    1. I totally agree, Neil! Rachel Coleman has done WONDERS in bringing Sign Language to children and families. Every library should have the "Signing Time" series one and two as well as "Baby Signing Time". Families of young children should have these videos in their homes. It is a wonderful program, the best out there!

  4. Problem is that what this does is make me want to ensure that my deaf child can hear and speak, so she isn't left out. The world isn't going to learn ASL, so if I truly want her to understand and be included, wouldn't I want her to have the skills to understand those around her.

    1. This is why we should be inclusive, have every option available. With so many preschools, day cares, elementary schools already implementing Sing Language into the curriculums, this is a very real possibility for the future. This does not mean we don't want speech therapy or other options available-rather we want total communication, and every means possible. I loved seeing the elementary students at the school where I used to teach Sign Language signing together. They continued signing after I left.

      One of the teachers in one of my classes was working at her family's restaurant, a group of Deaf people came in. She was able to take their order and converse with them. They thought it WONDERFUL a "hearing" school was teaching Sign Language.

      The only problem I see is when we only allow "either" "or" choices.

      Peace to you,