Deaf community: A subculture v/s traditional perspective theory

When interacting with Deaf Community, there are two different perspectives that researchers need to verify: the view from some non-deaf traditional professionals and the view from the Deaf Community. In the website named American Deaf Culture, the author refers the two perspectives as “The Pathological Model” and the “Cultural Model.” The first view is also called the Clinical-Pathological view or the Medical Model. According to the information stated in this website, the first perspective, at least in some of its extreme manifestations, would seek to deny the very existence of the Deaf Community. The traditional psychologists, who are the outsiders of the Deaf Community, define the Deaf Community as a group of people who have “something wrong” that need to be fixed to get along with the non-deaf communities. Generally speaking, this perspective considers the Deaf Community as a group of people whose are not normal because they can not hear what others saying. This group of people also have learning problems. Because they are unable to learn, their knowledge will be very little. Without enough information about the earth, they are unable to share much joy of educated people. Based on their personal difficulties, they may suffer some psychological disorders. This recognition results in a system or principles of controlling the Deaf Community. The non-deaf people or the Supreme ones will have to take care of the Deaf like they do with their children or the disabled ones.

In fact, from a more human perspective called Cultural Model, the Deaf Community is a group of people who share a common means of communication among those who have the same hearing conditions, who build their own community, and whose primary relationship with the world is sign language, gestures, non-verbal language, and visual experiments. Although their means of communication seem strange with many people, their own way has significant specialties that psychologists need to study as well as they do with other minority communities.

When speaking of the “Deaf”, people means a profound loss of hearing. However, they are not deaf completely. They may hear a little sound or voice. If there is an explosion or a big noise, they may react immediately. Some people just get hearing problems when they get old or due to some accidents are not call “deaf”. Others, even though are called “deaf”, are not “deaf” at all, just because they don’t want to listen to other talking. Those people prefer to “close their ears” and ignore all the things they may hear.

Wikipedia defines, “Deaf culture is composed of people who consider deafness to be a difference in human experience, rather than a disability.” Wikipedia also states, “The term “deaf” then, used by many of those who are within the category, has little to do with an ability or inability to hear.” Indeed, although the deaf people can’t hear what other no-deaf people talking, they can sense many things that non-deaf people are unable to do. In some sense, deaf people are very smart. They learn very fast the advantages or disadvantages of things. Even though they don’t communicate with others by regular

language, their eyes talk a lot more. That is why many deaf people disagree with the label that non-deaf people stick to their community: “hearing-impaired”. They find that term is very oppressive and shows the misunderstanding of the real culture of the deaf.

If being viewed from the perspective of a scientist, the Deaf Community is a subculture in American society like other subcultures that are present in this melting pot.

Cultural view

Wikepedia has a special terms when defines the culture of Deaf Community, “a linguistic minority whose primary language is signed, and who practice social and cultural norms which are distinct from those of the surrounding hearing community”. This community does not accept or reject any member who wants to join in. Speaking on the view of non-deaf people, any person can “silently” signs in the community if she or he likes. There is no requirement and no paper work, deaf people can join any association in the world and are welcome everywhere. They communicate with each other and with the speaking world through signs and visual means. Nowadays, there are many associations provide services for the deaf. Many schools that teach sign language. Websites for the Deaf are created. Member of Deaf Community can communicate with each other and share their experiences in a very friendly manner.

Deaf people prefer to compare their community to others. In a Website “Deaf Culture”, deaf people declare,“We have a language; we have a culture”. They really don’t like the idea that consider them as “handicapped” people although they may (or may not) carry the plaque “Disabled” on their cars. They want to have their own culture like other ethnicity communities have. They feel proud to have such pride and identity although they silently admit that there are some distances between them and other non-deaf people.

There is a fact that deaf people are considered as “handicapped” under the view of parents. Usually, when parents discovers that their child is deaf, they may fall in a shock, crying or fainting. They may be in a grief for long. The questions that the parents always  have are their child’s ability to recognize thing, to learn, and to cope with the world around. The worst of all, the ability of a child to say that he or she loves his or her parents is gone. Without the ability to express him or herself, the child lose many chances to be loved by others.

Mental health status/disparities

Practically, deaf people are not useless people. They don’t suffer mental health disorders naturally. If they do, they suffer the same way that the non-deaf people do. In fact, they suffer less mental disorders than the non-deaf people have. It is rare seeing a deaf person has anxiety or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Usually, deaf people react to everything in a calm manner. The senses of the Deaf are sometimes better than non-deaf people. They can perform many things. They can taste, smell, see, draw, drive cars, judge, type, play games, work on computers, or do any other things like normal people. Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, the great inventor and innovator of all time who invented the telephone, was called “the father of the Deaf”. “His father, grandfather and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work”. (Wikipedia). Many deaf people were famous. Homer Thornberry, a United Stated Representative in Texas was a deaf person. Several deaf persons were famous actors.