Shedding light on the deaf culture

letter-to-the-editor

One deaf student discusses her life experiences and dispells some common misconceptions

When I was four years old, my grandmother sat in the middle of our church flipping birdies—she was trying to teach me the sign for the letter “D.” She wasn’t being profane; she was just a little confused.

When I was ten, my mom asked me one day if I wanted to have a nice sex. I guess my shocked expression made her realize she had confused the close signs for “apple” and “sex.”

When you are deaf, you need to have a sense of humor.

My name is Meredith Tucker, a transfer student majoring in English here at McDaniel College. I am a full time mother to a first grader, and I am deaf. My goal is to specialize as a literacy specialist in the field of deaf education.

People wonder what it is like to be deaf and how we go about living our lives. Some hesitate to ask, but I appreciate the chance to explain.

I thought for my first article I would address some of the questions I have been asked, the apparent myths and facts about the deaf and hard of hearing and my own life experience in the deaf world.

Allow me to clarify that deaf generally indicates a person with no hearing, and a hard of hearing person has limited hearing, which varies from person to person.

I was born before there was any federal initiative to help parents of deaf children until the age of five, but I was lucky to have parents that recognized I needed to develop language before the age of five. They worked hard with me at home even though they had to figure out so much for themselves. Every deaf child is an individual and schools now treat them and educate them this way, creating individual education plans for them.

I suppose because I have always been deaf, that to me is how life is. When people ask my mom what having a deaf child was like, she always says that it just added “a lot of spice to the family,” and I hope she will stay off the subject of apples.

For more information about deaf culture, read For Hearing People Only by Matthew Moore and Linda Levitan.