|International symbol for deafness.|
|Utilizing “tactile signing” with a deaf/blind person.|
The development of clear speech for those who identify with the Deaf Culture is typically not a desired goal. Those who identify deeply with the Deaf Culture are happy being deaf and do not see the need to become as “hearing” as possible. They do not feel they are broken and need to be fixed. Many live full and rich lives just as their hearing counterparts do. Some deaf people do believe developing their speech to its fullest extent, whatever that may be, will grant them better access into the majority hearing world and possibly grant them better job opportunities.
Of course, there are many natural aspects of speech that are lost through this type of training to speak. An interesting phenomenon that has occurred because of this training is the fact that deaf people will often sound similar in their articulation of words when they speak. If you are around deaf people for any length of time, you learn to recognize similar speech patterns and what their “deaf voices” sounds like. That is, if they feel comfortable enough with you to share them with you. Yes, most deaf people have a similar recognizable speech pattern because of the endless hours of speech training they have received during childhood. Daily hours of speech training is a common ritual for deaf/HOH children.
One interesting fact: More than 90% of deaf/HOH children are born to or raised by hearing parents. That means hearing parents, most often have no idea there is a Deaf Community and Culture, make their decisions for their deaf/HOH children based solely on the medical aspects of deafness. And for those deaf children whose hearing parents choose the route of speech/hearing as the mode of communication for their deaf/HOH child, rarely are they exposed to the Deaf Community and their culture.
I have intentionally left the Cochlear Implant out of this post. It will be addressed in postings in the future.