"The Attitude towards Deaf People in the United States" is a wonderful example of a paper on social and family issues. Deafness is a hearing disability that affects sound sensitivity. It affects people of all ages; race and sex. In the United States of America, over 12 per cent children (aged 6-19 years) suffer from permanent deafness. Excessive noise is the main cause of deafness within children. Other causes of deafness include genetic factors and diseases like measles. People’ s attitudes towards the deaf and other people suffering from other disabilities are at times hard to change.
This is because some beliefs about these disabilities are deeply rooted. However, provisions of information about the deaf can significantly challenge the public’ s perspective on deafness. The information will help them understand the deaf community and be able to accept them (Parasnis, 1998). The community should be educated about the causes of deafness so that they will be able to differentiate it from tradition. For many years, people considered the deaf as individuals who were demon-possessed and viewed them as incomplete and dumb. This misconception is based on people’ s inability to understand deafness or distinguish it from being dumb as both portray the same symptoms.
Some families hid/confined the deaf in since people lacked an understanding about them. Being unable to speak is not necessarily being dumb. The deaf has also been used for experiments. Adolf Hitler’ s men, for example, castrated them when they were jailed in concentration camps. The law advocates for equality and proper treatment for all (including the deaf) the American with Disability Act, for example, provides that the transportation programs and activities are not to discriminate the disabled.
It also provides that if fifteen or more deaf members in a workplace are deaf, the place should be made accessible through modification of systems. The telecommunications companies and agencies providing telephone services are required to provide a transmit service for TTY users. This, together with the bill of rights, should be established to the end to ensure that the deaf is treated well and in accordance with the law (Gregory 2002). In order to promote equality, the language that the deaf use should be recognized and taught to the citizen.
This will enhance the communication of the deaf with other people. In America, some countries have not recognized ASL as a language. The ASL should be considered as a language because it contains the essentials and properties of a language. Such properties include verbs, nouns and adjectives. It also follows and maintains the rule of grammar. The need for consideration as a language has been supported in 20 states in America where it is recognized as a foreign language. Colleges and universities should enhance the learning of the language. It is also important to note that educating the deaf will ensure that the people will change their perspective about them, as they will be able to prove that they are not dumped as many people think.
Therefore, the provision of appropriate education for the deaf should be a priority in making sure that their standing in the community has been enhanced. Education for the deaf should be free or made affordable (Weisel, 1998). The deaf often face challenges in the workplace as they feel isolated – they feel as if they are in their own world or in a foreign country.
They feel (rightly so) as the minority amidst the majority (the hearing world). It is therefore important that the hearing community understands and respects the deaf and accords them due respect. If given the opportunity to prove their worth, people will get a good understanding of their strengths and potential. According to Kruse, allowing a million disabled people to work would result in an income annual increase of about $21.2 billion. This economic gain would help the community to benefit greatly.
The learning will see to it that the deaf are able to take care of much of their needs and medication and this will help the community not to view them as a burden (Parasnis, 1998). To change the attitude of the general citizens on the deaf, various organizations and institutions must work together with the government. The government, on the other hand, must make sure that it enacts laws on disabilities. Other organizations advocating for the rights of the deaf have to be encouraged and supported to make sure that the general citizens are made aware of the situation.
Schools, colleges and universities should teach the ASL language to enhance communication between the deaf and the general citizens. Information Technology experts should also try to formulate systems that will enhance communication between the deaf and the hearing citizens (Gregory 2002). People should also know that various myths about the lives and livelihood of the deaf are just a fabrication. Such myths include the belief that the deaf cannot communicate with the general people without the use of sign language.
This is not true since the deaf who are conversant with the language that others are speaking can be able to lip-read and hence respond without having to use the sign language. On the other hand, a normal person can use the telecommunication relay service of an ordinary phone to communicate with the deaf. The hearing community have believed that the deaf can only use short text messaging on the phone to communicate. The myth that the deaf cannot perform some things like driving should as well be demystified.
The deaf can drive with the help of special alert devices. Many countries all over the world allow the deaf to drive or be holders of a driving license. The deaf culture has been another reason that has made people form a negative attitude towards the deaf. Most people think that deaf is only experts in deaf culture. This, however, is not true as they have a variety of other communication modes and believes based on the age at which they became deaf (Weisel, 1998). Conclusion Apparently, the deaf has faced many challenges in life.
Most of the challenges pertaining to their communication among their kind and with the general citizens. People have looked down upon and despised the deaf. They hold various beliefs about them, with some people believing them deaf as dumb due to their inability to communicate with them. Various government efforts and constitutional provisions have tried to advocate for the rights of the deaf through various activities. Much need to be done to make sure that the deaf is accorded equal treatment in workplaces and in public.
The public should also be educated on the disability so that they are able to relate well with the deaf.
Gregory, Susan (2002). Constructing deafness. London: Continuum in association with the Open University.
Parasnis, Ila (1998). Cultural and language diversity and the deaf experience. Cambridge New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Weisel, Amatzia (1998). Issues unresolved new perspectives on language and deaf education. Washington, D.C: Gallaudet University Press.