Deaf Awareness Week – tip number four

Time for another of my own personal deaf awareness tips? Here’s my fourth:

4. Never say “it’s not important”

Imagine a deaf child struggling to follow what’s going on and asking their friends what everyone is talking about, and the response is “it’s not important” or “it doesn’t matter”. There are few things more deflating or more likely to make someone feel left out.

I can understand some of the reasons why a hearing person might say this. It may be a casual throw-away remark. Explaining it may take more time than it took to say it in the first place. The remark was directed at someone else. Etc, etc. It’s rarely said in malice.

But the point is if it was important enough to say in the first place, then it’s important enough to make sure it’s been understood. Otherwise, it’s like excluding and punishing a deaf child for being deaf. To me, it’s virtually a human right for a deaf person. Few things are more likely to demoralise and undermine someone’s confidence. And there are many deaf children already who are not exactly bursting with confidence.

And if you’re saying “it’s not important” because the deaf child hasn’t understood, then this is just another way of saying “it’s OK to give up” to a deaf child. Is that a message we want deaf children to take on board?

So my fourth tip is to always try and include a deaf child in everything you’re saying, and to never EVER say “it’s not important” (even when it really isn’t important).

My final deaf awareness tip follows tomorrow. Any final bids for what I should cover?


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