Two Deaf Sadnesses

1:47 AM Monday, December 21, 2009

I am still learning about Deaf culture so I still really have all these preconceived notions and assumptions about them that are being busted.

The first is LITERACY as I know it. We've already been told that the Deaf have problems with written English/text but it's only recently that it has sunk in that they really have a problem reading, or a problem with written text. I assumed before that they can't write English well (thus the constant bad grammar) but can read it with no problems. I was mistaken. I was told that only a few of them like to read because they really get confused. They tend to 'read' per word and not per sentence/context. Even Deaf college students at CSB think 'icing' is something cold. And to think I was thinking of giving out books to them or talking about books!

A part of me can't help but be sad that they can't enjoy the classics, unless it's taught to them in play. A part of me can't help but be sad that they can't read comic books and laugh, or be immersed in a good book for the whole day. Largely because I love to read. And somehow, I thought, if they'd never appreciate music, they'd at least have the wonderful worlds in books to turn to for magic.

For others who can't understand why the Deaf would have a problem reading, I guess I have to explain that this is largely because their style of learning is more physical-visual rather than visual-abstract. This is also why they're very good in the Arts.

The second sadness relating to the Deaf is the fact that in CSB, around 90% of the Deaf students are on scholarships, some of whom were sent to school late because their parents didn't want to invest in them. Plus, most say nobody's going to hire them anyway after graduation.

Now, last Saturday was our Christmas party and one of the FSL students was asking if we'd be contributing for anything else because she doesn't have money anymore. She had to give a Deaf student some money because said student was very hungry but didn't have lunch money.

My classmate and I also gave another student some money because his bag was slashed in the LRT. He lost his wallet and thus had no way of going home to Bulacan, where he lives. I was so sad that thieves preyed on someone with disability, but of course, I doubt they knew or would care. One other sad thing about that is the student lost his Disability ID that gives him certain discounts when he travels and eats.


One thing I could say about the Deaf though is that they are very helpful and are empowered to seek help (at least CSB students are). Partly because they can't really afford to be shy while signing and they do have to be more proactive in order to learn or get anywhere.

I know hubs is sometimes wondering if am about to adopt one of the students soon... hehe. And even I can't explain why this sudden affinity to them and their cause. But I really hope I could benefit them someday, one way or another.

My short-term goal is telling (signing) stories to Deaf kids. Yes, am back to stories... I want my brand of magic to be theirs too.


  1. Wow! Kudos to you, sis! That's really selfless of you. :)

    That's really sad about the deaf kids, though. Grabe. I never thought they had problems reading.

    I remember tuloy Marlee Matlin, I follow her on Twitter kasi, when she was tweeting about closed captions on some movies. May mga negative reactions like mas marami daw malalaking problema sa mundo, why is she tweeting about stupid captioning. Who cares about that naman daw! Sobrang nainis ako sa nag-react ng ganu'n kasi we cannot imagine the life that they live. I mean, imagine watching something and you have no idea what's going on and all. It was a legitimate concern. Kasi nga, according to Ms. Matlin, there are millions of deaf people in the world and to not care about them is a serious problem. Hay.


  2. Merry Christmas to you and your dear family, Mec! Take care always.


  3. It's a really sad reality realizing that all you mentioned are real. (forgive me for the redundant words hehehe)

    I have always been at odds with whether to teach them how to read and write or to teach them how to work. Although both of them are very much interconnected, I tend to lean towards the job opportunity side. Language problem has been the deaf's problems ever since deaf education was established or mis-established. CSB is doing a great job in trying to bridge the gap. But the gargantuan work is still up ahead.

    When parents tell me who's to blame about their deaf child's language problem, I tend to point to their high school system, then high school to elementary, then elementary to home because it's not common for them to enter kindergarten. The blame comes in full circle when I ask them how do they communicate with their deaf child. Then they realize that they're the ones who have issues when it comes to their deaf child's language problems.



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