“D” is for Deaf – A review of the ASL Manual Alphabet

d-ASL-Alphabet-150x150The letter D, as seen to left, is the first letter of one of the most powerful words to many deaf people – DEAF.  It represents a shared culture and language, among other traits and beliefs.

For a person to be culturally deaf, they must be a user of American Sign Language (ASL) and advocate for the rights of deaf people in the U.S.,  as well as their brethren around the world.

Hearing individuals often incorrectly refer to deaf people as hearing impaired, mute, or deaf/dumb.  This terminology is outdated, insensitive, and in most cases, highly insulting to deaf individuals.  Webster defines deaf as “lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing.”  This implies no deficiency in intellect or their ability to vocalize.  Many deaf people can use speech, attend college, become doctors and lawyers – you get the idea, right? Deafness is NOT a limiting factor.

I. King Jordan, past president of Gallaudet University (the only university for the deaf in the world, and my alma mater), once said “Deaf people can do anything except hear.”  A very powerful statement, demonstrating that deaf people are not limited by their deafness, but are as capable as the next person.  So rather than pity or scorn deaf people, it should be our focus to include this group as equals – which of course they are!

360 Translations helps in this regard, as we provide interpreters to ensure barrier-free communication.  If you need an interpreter, please feel free to contact us by any of the methods listed here.

To learn more about Deaf Culture and deafness in general, you can view this video on YouTube:

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