He Doesn’t Look Deaf.

This is such an interesting comment!  It sparked my curiosity.  Actually it sparked my motherly crazy instincts to attack the person that said it. But then I decided to educate. Here. We are going to do it here. Because I don’t want to yell at her or anyone else in public anymore for staring at us while we sign… aka (talk in public) No… at first glance he doesn’t “look Deaf”. There is no “extended disability” (heard that one too…Grrrrr!)  He’s identified as Deaf with a capital D.  Because we have given it to him. He’s clinically deaf but we don’t allow him to identify with that end of the issue. We gave up the “clinical options” when he was 1 year old.  It just wasn’t for us. We wanted to enjoy our baby and love him for every milestone he accomplished Deaf or Hearing. (By the way… no difference from his hearing sibling!  He’s been on par with her since birth. He just does it in ASL) We raise him to be proud of his difference and embrace what has been given to him. He lives by the same expectations as his hearing sister. Do well in school, educate yourself and contribute to society don’t be a burden!  It’s your job to make this world a better place. This is how we raise our children. Hearing or Deaf. But, Let’s take a stroll down what Deaf looks like!  This is my Deaf family member 😍😍😘😘😘 and these are my Deaf friends!! This is what Deaf looks like! A model? Ok! Beautiful, kind, innovative and reallly attractive. Okay!

An accountant? A mother of two and the bread winner.  Ok!How about a powerhouse business woman with a flare for marketing?  Beautiful inside and out. A mother of 3 and a lover of animals.  Ok!How about a business owner, a PHD student, a star baseball player, an onery toddler and a beautiful baby? Ok! (P.S. Yes they are all Deaf) and the best friends a hearing family could ever have! Truly amazing people. An amazing photographer? A teacher, a wife, a mother of 3 boys and advocate.  A truly amazing person. Ok!

This is the problem with society today. We build stereotypes based on the outer appearance of people. Not who they are within.

There is so much I want to say to my boy about overcoming diversity or challenges but really society needs to make it happen. I can talk until I’m blue in the face but the world must change. The perception of who he is and what he brings to the table must change.

People need to understand “Deaf” doesn’t look like anything.

Deaf… is an identity, it’s his identity, it’s his culture, it’s his people, it’s his extended family, it’s his right, it’s his legacy and it’s his duty to represent it with the upmost respect and confidence of yes! This! Is! What! Deaf! Looks! Like!

So again I state. What does Deaf look like? It doesn’t look like anything.

It just is.

 

And that is my perspective.

5 thoughts on “He Doesn’t Look Deaf.

  1. Oh I love this article! It’s so beautifully written and the photographs are so lovely! It’s great to see so many role models and the pride in the community. I’m launching a campaign at the moment in Australia (AUSLAN) called All Hands on Deck and its aim is to educate and encourage everyday Australians to learn some basic sign language. Would it be possible to potentially have a chat to you about your journey and your experience with ASL? It’d be great to have a perspective from such a passionate advocate and I feel like this article really touches on some problems that are ongoing in Australia too!

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    1. Hi allhandsondeckweb. I think you have very good intentions but can you please refrain from capitalising Auslan? It is no longer an acronym but has been considered an official Australian language since 1987. Writing it as ‘AUSLAN’ is offensive to the Australian Deaf Community and suggests that it is simply a system of communication rather than a real language. It can be forgiven when accidentally written in this way by people who are new to learning about it but if you are planning to actually be an advocate it’s very important that you stop capitalising it from now on. Thanks 🙂

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