Friday, January 13, 2012

Deaf sign language users pick up faster on body language

Deaf sign language users pick up faster on body language

I just found this a few minutes ago and it's definitely the topic for this week's blog. As a CODA and being around Deaf people all my life, reading the results of the studies mentioned in this article brought one small, tiny, and perfect word to mind... DUH!.... I think most people can see the logic here. People who rely on solely visual input will generally have a better developed sense of sight than the rest of us, and therefore pick up visual cues better than anyone else. Not only is this true for Deaf people, it is also true for a lot of us CODAs as well. My first and native language is ASL, and I know I see things that many people don't otherwise see. I've been in plenty of these situations and it always makes me wonder why so many people don't see them as I do, until I remember who I am and where I came from. I can't say that I do it as well as Deaf people, though. They are in visual mode 100% of the time.

But I digress, as the most important part of this article has yet to be mentioned. Here it is;

-This work is important because it suggests that the human ability for communication is modifiable and is not limited to speech, Corina said. Deaf people show us that language can be expressed by the hands and be perceived through the visual system. When this happens, deaf signers get the added benefit of being able to recognize non-language actions better than hearing people who do not know a sign language, Corina said.-

Signed languages are their own languages! The only difference is it is visual and not auditory! And there's an advantage to being Deaf over hearing? How often is that ever validated?

I cannot express how many times in my life I have witnessed hearing people say ignorant or discriminatory things that invalidate sign language. The one I get most often is similar to this statement - "deaf people are languageless" - , based on the notion that speech is the only way to communicate. It might be the dumbest thing I've ever heard, and people perpetuate this nonsense all the time. Especially those in the medical profession, who, like it or not, make such statements without any awareness or consideration to Deaf culture. Medical professionals are NOT anthropologists! I wish an anthropologist or twenty would spend some time in the Deaf community, learn their language, and then report their findings, comparing them to any other studied culture. I think the results would be eye opening for a lot of people, including medical professionals. It should be required study for any audiologist out there to be aware of Deaf culture, and to also spend some time with Deaf people in their environment as opposed to their office where all they do is recommend cochlear implants, hearing aids, and speech therapy in the name of 'having a language', or the ability to communicate with all the healthy hearing people. Deaf people who sign communicate just fine, and just about any hearing person (blind too), has the ability to sign and communicate with it fluently. The number of people in the world with access to signed languages is more than the number of people with access to spoken ones.

Just think about it.

And that, everyone, is my second lesson in Audism. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them on here. I will be happy to respond to any and all. Until next time...

R. M.


  1. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    I recently put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's a collection of short pieces, mostly dark fantasy.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please email me: Let me know what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy.

    You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:

    I'm also happy to do interviews, guest posts, or giveaways. Just let me know what you'd prefer.


  2. Yea, I would be happy to! Let me email you and we can go from there. I think posting reviews on blogs are wonderful ideas, and I am interested to see what you have. Expect an email from me shortly.

    R. M.