How is your Deaf Awareness Week going for you? Are you coping with the excitement? It’s the midway point of my five blogs on my own deaf awareness tips. With no further ado, here’s my third tip.
3. Don’t be a parrot.
Yesterday, I blogged that communicating with deaf children and grown ups is all about context. If I don’t understand the context, chances are that I’m going to have major problems understanding what’s being said. Which is why I get incredibly annoyed when, if I don’t understand something, people insist on just repeating themselves verbatim. Again. And again. And again. Until I get incredibly exasperated and flummox off in a huff.
So my deaf awareness tip no.3 is: don’t be a parrot. Don’t repeat yourselves endlessly. Saying the same thing louder or more slowly might help if you’re talking to foreigners, but it won’t help with deaf people. As a deaf child, when someone repeated something I didn’t understand, I would get incredibly annoyed. It always felt a bit demeaning, like I was some naughty boy that just wasn’t paying attention the first time around. Worse, it sometimes made me feel like I was trapped until I could work it out.
What WILL help is explaining it in a different way or outlining the context. Describe what you’re trying to say. Worst comes to the worse, write it down. Text it on your mobile. Point. Use visual clues. Express yourself though the medium of Morris-Dancing if you need to. There’s always another way to be understood. But never give up. And don’t be a parrot.
Again, thoughts on today’s and the other deaf awareness tips very welcome – just leave a comment below. The penultimate tip follows tomorrow…