by Bridget P.
(Weiser, ID USA)
Growing up I was a victim of oralism or audism. The doctors and specialists told my mother not to put me in deaf school or for ASL to be taught, rather I was to learn how to speak correctly and read lips.
I was mainstreamed in public school and it was expected of me to be the one to know what was going on without help. It was very lonely and hard. I remember wondering where the other deaf children were!
I was teased by my hearing classmates by the way I talked and the fact that I couldn’t understand them. We learned of Helen Keller briefly in public school and I remember wishing that we had spent more time on her history!
My favorite deaf person that I can relate to is Heather Whitestone! I remember watching that Miss America Pageant and was so inspired by what she accomplished and how she didn’t lay down and let hearing people tell her what she couldn’t do!
More recently I am a fan of Deanne Bray and her husband Troy Kotsur. They are wonderful examples of successful people that have gone far beyond what hearing culture has told them they can do.
I feel like because of oralism I lost a big part of a culture and a community of people where I would have been embraced and encouraged that being deaf was an asset rather than a disability!
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