I have decided to accept a challenge to sign more on my YouTube channel by publicly sharing my sign language journey.
As much as I love languages, I have mentioned previously about how I’m never learning oral languages again. But I’ve still got some stories to share about my experiences of learning them, like the one time I was learning French in high school.
Even though I managed to get through, it wasn’t without its unique challenges that comes with listening to other people speaking in French. And that became a problem during exam times.
As someone who loves languages and has learn to speak a few in various fluency levels, I have decided that I am never going to learn oral languages again. This is primarily because of the challenges of learning them as a deaf person.
It’s a huge shame that I fully agree with the concept of learning languages to everyone as it has opened my mind to many parts of the world, people and culture.
When having a conversation with another person, there are certain cues, clues and non-verbal communication methods that I watch out for to allow me to understand what’s going on better.
Even though there are many non-verbal communication methods that a deaf or hard of hearing person tends to use, I’d like to use this opportunity to tell you what I (subtly) look out for throughout a conversation with another person.
Virtual events like group meetings, webinars and online conferences have been around for a long time. But now that they are becoming even more popular (thanks to the pandemic), it made me realise how frustrating it is that they are not deaf accessible.
If you are an event organiser or you know someone who is one, and you’ve been thinking or running online events, you might not be aware how you are excluding attendees who are deaf from taking part but would like to take part.
I’ve been having such a hard time on working out the definition of “deaf” because of its complexity and the number of sub-categories or labels it has under it.
One of the biggest reason for my confusion is because of how it can (and has) caused rifts, segregation and even abuse within the communities, which is not something that I would ever encourage. So I wanted to share my personal thoughts on the definition of “deaf”.
Is there such a thing as a ‘deaf privilege’?
The word ‘privilege’ has some kind of stigma attaches to it. But it doesn’t and should’t have to be.
But even for someone like me, I would say that I have “deaf privilege”; where even though I am deaf/hard of hearing, I still have some privileges linked to it so that I can acknowledge what I have, appreciate what I have and be aware of what I have, despite my deafness.
I still get surprised on how I get asked both of these questions that are related to each other but completely contrasting at the same time by different people.
Most people assume that deaf people can’t speak (yes we can). If we do, we “speak well for a deaf person (yeah, don’t say that) or you don’t speak very well (yeah, don’t say that either).
So I share my own experiences of how come for one group of people, I do speak clearly, and for others, I don’t speak clearly.
Some people might assume that it’s impossible for d/Deaf and hard of hearing people to meditate (perhaps more accurately, guided meditation).
Even though there are obvious challenges when it comes to using guided meditation (such as whether it’s possible or not to hear or understand what the audio voice is saying), I have managed to find a system that suits me.