Deaf Culture #6

90% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents?

Surprisingly, this is true.  The other 10% are called DOD, or Deaf of Deaf, meaning that they are the Deaf children of Deaf adults.  DOD tends to be a title that is somewhat coveted in the Deaf community.  It is a source of pride that they are able to carry on the “legacy”.  DOD, both children and adults, have been known to be more confident, prone to becoming leaders, and have a better linguistic command of both ASL and English than their DOH (Deaf of Hearing) counterparts.  This may be due to their immediate inclusion in the Deaf community, and the encouragement to learn ASL and to take pride in their Deaf title.  DOH children are often sent to oral schools, given Cochlear Implants, and encouraged to speak rather than sign, in hopes that they will fit in with the Hearing community.  There are exceptions of course, Hearing parents that encourage ASL and other aspects of Deaf inclusion, but by and large Hearing parents tend to try to assimilate their children to the Hearing culture.

75% of all parents with deaf children do not know sign language?

Sadly, this is also true.  This is a baffling statistic, as it means that 75% of all parents with deaf children have an extremely limited ability to communicate with their children.  The reason behind parents not learning ASL is unknown.

10% of Americans know ASL?

This is false.  In truth, the current number is unknown.  The census that is generally referenced when speaking of ASL users was completed in 1970 and included everyone who signs, whether or not they are fluent in ASL.  It is known that the use of ASL is on the rise, so there is hope a new census will be completed in the near future. The results of that census would prove to be both interesting and encouraging for people who wish to learn.

60% of the English language is visible on the lips?

Though many who rely on speech reading wish this were true, unfortunately it is false.  As discussed in Deaf Culture #3, only about 20% of words are visible on the lips, and even that number is contingent on specific elements.  Words may be difficult to read for many reasons.  Anything in or around the mouth will distort the message.  This could be a beard or mustache, chewing gum, or even braces.  There can also be problems if the speaker has a speech impediment, is a fast talker, or tends to mumble.  Also, if the speaker is aware that someone is trying to read their lips, they may attempt to help, which usually ends up being a hindrance.  By attempting to speak more slowly and clearly, they will distort the natural cadence of the words, making it more difficult to understand.

It is acceptable to bounce your letters while fingerspelling?

Imagine trying to read a book while driving down a bumpy dirt road…that is the equivalent of bouncing your letters while fingerspelling.  Mastering the fine art of fingerspelling requires infinite amounts of both practice and patience and it would be a shame to blur all of your hard work by bouncing your hand!  Often, the bouncing of letters while fingerspelling is the result of fierce concentration and the wish to form the letters correctly.  Thankfully, the cure for a bouncing hand is simply practice and confidence!