Myths About the Deaf Community and American Sign Language

Today, we want to talk about some common myths about American Sign Language, and the Deaf community.  We hope you will ask your friends and family about some of these myths to see what their reactions are.  You may be shocked at some of their responses.

Myth#1:  American Sign Language is universal.

This myth is false.  American Sign Language (ASL) is not a universal language.  It is primarily used in North America.  However, there are other places around the world that use ASL because of missionaries visiting those countries, and there are places using ASL simply because those knowing the language have shared it with these other cultures .

Myth #2:  Every deaf person knows how to sign.

This myth is also false.  Some deaf people are taught how to read lips, while others learn how to sign, while others rely on paper-pencil to communicate.  Remember, ninety percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents, of which, seventy-five percent of those parents do not sign.  Some of these parents who do not sign simply raise their deaf child to read lips, or they provide them with no training whatsoever.  However, for those parents that do sign, they may use a combination of home signs (signs that are made up, and are not commonly known by the Deaf community ), and ASL.

Myth #3:  Deaf people can do anything except “hear”

This myth is true.  Deaf people can do anything that a “hearing” person can do, except hear.  Today, there are deaf people in every profession, including engineering, medicine, and law.  Deaf people do not consider their hearing loss a “handicap”.  Instead, they are connected by a common denominator to others who are like them.  REMEMBER, deafness is NOT a disability, but simply an inability.

If there are myths that you would like to share that you have heard, please do so.  We will be posting various myths from time to time.