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Belinda Vicars writes in the Lifeprint.ASLU Facebook page:
Because I tend to have the attention span of a gnat, I'm going to assume everyone else does too.
I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet. This Facebook page is meant to be those seeking support on their wondrous journey to learning sign language. It is not meant to be an elitist site, where one is judged on whether you are Deaf enough or if you are Deaf or deaf. Let's put that inner critic aside for now. Let me tell you all the ways that a person can be deaf/Deaf (and I've met many...).
1) You get old
2) You blasted loud music in your ears 24/7
3) You went to war
4) You worked or lived in a loud environment
5) Your mother had _______ while pregnant with you (medicine, German measles, etc)
6) Ear infections, cysts, and all those wonderful things that grown in your ears
7) Meningitis, and all those wonderful little and big diseases that like to play havoc with our bodies.
8) You woke up one day and shazzam! You are deaf. (Happens more than you think...)
9) You were born without a cochlea or other critical part needed in order to hear.
10) You're not deaf, but you have an auditory processing disorder. You hear but your brain can't process the sound.
11) You're not deaf, but use sign language because you're not verbal.
12) You're not deaf at all. But you identify as Deaf and thus act like one. (and yes, that happens too - I've met them all)
Some are born with it, some are not. Some become deaf when they are young. Some become deaf in their teens, and others, much later in life. And as you've noted, some are not deaf at all.
Honestly, I don't care how you became deaf. Does it matter?
It doesn't matter to me. Let's just call you deaf "enough" and be done with it. And if you're hearing, that's perfectly okay. You don't even have to have a good reason for learning sign language (good..meaning - you know a deaf person). You can be learning sign language because you are curious, or because you're fascinated with the language. I've met some rockin' interpreters who started out that way.
For whatever reason why you are here, welcome. Nobody's a fraud. You'd be amazed at all the different ways a person can be deaf - just like there's all the different ways a person can be hearing. This is an inclusive site. We don't demand proof of Deafness. No need to submit letters of recommendations, or audiograms, nor do we demand that you have Deaf tattooed on your forehead (go ahead if you want to...)
[Source: Vicars, Belinda (July 9, 2017) https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeprint-aslu]
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