“Yes, I’m deaf…”

Image courtesy of NDCS

I thought I would share a little anecdote from last weekend where I was busy volunteering at a National Deaf Children’s Society “Getting Ahead” training weekend in Epping Forest. As always, it was great to meet some deaf youngsters and see them in action learning how to develop their confidence, think about their future and pick up new skills. They all seemed to have a great time, despite the cold turkey some felt from having to go without their mobiles for much of the weekend…

Anyhow, during the weekend, the teenagers were doing some team building activities with the centre staff, who had clearly not met many deaf children before. One instructor went up to one teenager, who communicated orally and was not “obviously” deaf. Here’s how their conversation went:

Instructor: “So this is a group that’s half hearing, half deaf then?”
Teenager: “No, we’re all deaf.”
Instructor: “You’re deaf?”
Teeanger: “Yes, I’m deaf. I talk but I’m still deaf.”

It could have been a very awkward conversation but the teenager defused it brilliantly, whilst also giving some impromptu deaf awareness training to the instructors. But what made it quite a nice moment for me was that when I first met the teenager, I expected him to be like myself when I was his age – very oral and, in a way, denying and “pretending” not be deaf. Give him a few days at a NDCS weekend, he’s proudly claiming an identity as deaf and addressing it openly, honestly and confidently.

A nice little demonstration of what I think are one of the benefits of NDCS events for deaf children and young people.

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3 thoughts on ““Yes, I’m deaf…”

  1. It remains to be seen if adult peers accept that ! I’ve been oral all my life, there is hardly ANY way I can convince other deaf people, I am not only deaf, but in many cases a lot more than they are, I have zero (Absolute deafness), in BOTH ears, every time I attend a deaf club and the phone rings, they hand it to me (?) I just pick it up and say “Sorry he isn’t here at present..” and hang up lol….. As far as hearing are concerned they have no idea I am deaf unless I make a point of it…. why would I unless I couldn’t follow ? It’s the curse of good speech, good anticipations, and fair lip-reading. I expect that’s where people get the view all deaf people use sign language, there is no other way of knowing… I never make a specific point I am deaf, what for ?

  2. […] first hand the difference NDCS makes at events for deaf children and young people, as witnessed by my last blog. And because I think it’s a bloody outrage that deaf children are 42% less likely to do as well […]

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