Audism: Understanding Its Meaning and Implications in the Deaf Community

Audism: Understanding Its Meaning and Implications in the Deaf Community


>>SPEAKER: HELLO. I AM SARAH MAY
ROBERTS. AND I AM ONE OF THE STUDENT MEMBERS FOR THE COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
SERIES. AND ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSITY HOUSING I WELCOME YOU
TO THIS EVENING’S EVENT CALLED AUDISM UNVEILED: UNDERSTANDING ITS
MEANING AND IMPLICATIONS IN THE DEAF COMMUNITY. THE COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS SERIES IS
A LIVING AND LEARNING INITIATIVE OF THE UNIVERSITY HOUSING, CO-PRODUCED
BY THE STUDENTS OF THE OREGON BRAIN TANK, AN UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC GROUP
OF THE RESIDENCE HALLS. I ALSO WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR CO-SPONSORS,
THE ROBERT D. CLARK HONORS COLLEGE, THE OREGON HUMANITIES CENTER, UNDERGRADUATE
STUDIES AND THE UO LIBRARIES WHO HAVE COLLABORATED WITH UNIVERSITY HOUSING
FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS TO MAKE THIS SERIES POSSIBLE. SO YOU HAVE ALL HEARD OF SEXISM, RACISM,
ANTI-SEMITISM BUT NOW HOW ABOUT AUDISM? AUDISM IS DEFINED AS DISCRIMINATION
BASED ON THE ABILITY OR INABILITY TO HEAR. TONIGHT YOU WILL MEET MEMBERS
OF THE LOCAL DEAF COMMUNITY WHO WILL SHARE THEIR ENCOUNTERS WITH
AUDISM AND THEIR EXPERIENCES GROWING UP DEAF IN A HEARING WORLD. AT THIS TIME I’M GOING TO INTRODUCE
OUR MODERATOR, JO LARSON, WHO WILL SERVE AS OUR MODERATOR
THIS EVENING, BOTH FOR THE SCREENING OF THE FILM AS WELL AS FOR THE PANEL.
AND SHE WILL INTRODUCE THE PANELISTS.>>JOHANNA LARSON: THANK YOU, SARAH
AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR SPONSORS. I WANT TO MAKE A REAL BRIEF INTRODUCTION.
I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU SEE THE FILM AND LEARN WHAT AUDISM IS BEFORE
WE INTRODUCE THE PANELISTS. THE TERM AUDISM WAS COINED IN 1975
BY TOM HUMPHRIES, A DEAF PROFESSOR AT GALLAUDET.
THAT WORD WAS INTRODUCED IN A NON-PUBLISHED PAPER. NOT MANY
PEOPLE KNEW WHAT IT WAS. IT DIDN’T MAKE IT
TO THE DICTIONARIES. IN 1995 OLIVER STONE AND CARLA
LANE WROTE SOME BOOKS, ESPECIALLY THE MIND HEARS. AND WHEN THAT
BOOK WAS PUBLISHED THE WORD AUDISM APPEARED IN THAT BOOK AND PEOPLE
STARTED TO WONDER WHAT THAT MEANT. WHAT WAS THIS NEW PHRASE? ALTHOUGH,
IT HAD BEEN AROUND SINCE 1975. AND STILL THERE WAS A LITTLE
INTRODUCTION AND IN THE 2000 A NEW PROFESSOR AT GALLADET, DURKSON — I
CAN’T SPELL HIS NAME, WAS TOLD HE NEEDED TO TEACH A CLASS ON
OPPRESSION. AND THE FIRST THING HE DID, AND FOR THOSE NOT FAMILIAR WITH
GALLAUDET, IT IS THE ONLY COLLEGE UNIVERSITY OF, BY, AND FOR DEAF
PEOPLE IN THE WORLD AND IT IS IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND HE DECIDED TO
TEACH THIS CLASS ON OPPRESSION BY STARTING OUT WITH AUDISM BECAUSE IT
SEEMED THE LOGIC PLACE TO HAVE THAT DISCUSSION AND ALL OF THE STUDENTS
NEVER HEARD OF IT, AND THESE WERE DEAF STUDENTS, AND THIS TERM APPLIED
TO THEM. THIS WOULD BE AKIN TO HOWARD UNIVERSITY HAVING A CLASS ON RACISM
AND HAVING NOBODY UNDERSTAND WHAT RACISM IS, SO AFTER SEVERAL PANELS,
THEY DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING MORE TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT WHAT
AUDISM IS, AND THEY DEVELOPED AS A CLASS PROJECT THIS DOCUMENTARY.
THIS TOOK TWO YEARS TO MAKE AND THEN TOOK SEVERAL YEARS FOR PUBLIC
DISTRIBUTION. IT HAS BEEN AVAILABLE SINCE 2008 AND WE’RE HOPING THAT
YOU CAN HELP US SPREAD THE WORD. WE HAVE MADE IT INTO MANY DICTIONARIES
INCLUDING WIKIPEDIA BUT NOT INTO WEBSTERS, YET, ON WHAT AUDISM IS. IN
A NUTSHELL, I HAVE A STORY RELATED TO ME NOT LONG AGO BY A DEAF
FAMILY. THEY WENT TO A CARNIVAL. THE MOTHER WANTED TO GO ON A RIDE AND
THE PERSON SAID YOU CAN’T GO ON THIS RIDE BECAUSE YOU ARE DEAF.
WE CAN’T LET YOU ON; IT IS NOT SAFE. TWO CHILDREN WERE WITH HER: HER
HEARING SON AND THE HEARING SON’S FRIEND WHO HAD NEVER SEEN THAT KIND
OF THING BEFORE. HE TURNED TO THE OTHER YOUNG MAN AND SAID, “HE CAN’T
DO THAT. THAT’S RACIST.” NO, THAT’S NOT RACIST. THAT’S AUDISM.
SO LET’S SEE OUR FILM.>>JO: THANK YOU. I’M HOPING THAT
BROUGHT UP SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT. NOW AT LAST WE CAN INTRODUCE
OUR PANELIST. IN FACT WHAT I WOULD LIKE THEM TO DO IS TO BRIEFLY
INTRODUCE YOUR NAME, THE HISTORY OF YOUR FAMILY, ARE THEY DEAF OR
HEARING? AND WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL PERHAPS YOU WENT TO, MAINSTREAM,
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL OR IF YOU EVER WENT TO GALLAUDET OR ANOTHER
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL. I WANT TO KEEP THE INTRODUCTIONS BRIEF NOT BECAUSE
I DON’T LOVE OUR PANELIST BUT BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE
AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASK THEM SOME QUESTIONS. ALL RIGHT. SO– PETER. LET’S START ON THIS SIDE
AND MOVE DOWN.>>PETER QUINN: I WAS BORN HEARING.
AND I BECAME DEAF AT TWO-AND-A-HALF. I GREW UP IN THE MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS
UNTIL I WAS 23. I WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE, AND GRADUATE
SCHOOL. FINALLY, I LEARNED SIGN LANGUAGE IN COLLEGE. AND TOOK
AN ASL CLASS IN COLLEGE. AND I WAS MAINSTREAMED,
WENT TO MAINSTREAM SCHOOL. >>JO: YES– THE INTERPRETER
CAN UNDERSTAND. MY FAMILY’S HEARING.
THERE’S NO DEAF. THEY DON’T SIGN.>>HEIDI CORCE: I WAS BORN HEARING.
AND I BECAME DEAF AT FIVE FROM SPINAL MENINGITIS. AND I GREW UP IN
A MAINSTREAM SCHOOL WHICH WAS AN ORAL PROGRAM. AT THE AGE OF 12,
I GOT A COCHLEAR IMPLANT. AND I HAVE TO SAY FOR MYSELF
IT’S BEEN A VERY POSITIVE EXPERIENCE. THERE ARE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES
GENERALLY, BUT FOR ME IT HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL. AND AT THE AGE OF 18 I
LEARNED TO SIGN, FINALLY. AND WHEN I FINALLY LEARNED, I PICKED IT UP
QUICKLY. AND I FEEL FORTUNATE BECAUSE I AM IN BOTH WORLDS. I CAN
GO BETWEEN THE DEAF WORLD AND HEARING WORLD, BUT I FEEL MOST
COMFORTABLE IN THE DEAF WORLD. MY FAMILY’S ALL HEARING NO ONE SIGNS.
BUT I HAVE A DAUGHTER WHO IS ONE AND I’M TEACHING HER SIGN AND IT IS
IMPORTANT THAT WE CAN COMMUNICATE. SO THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO ME.>>ROGER GOTH: I WAS BORN HEARING.
IN 1964 I BECAME DEAF AT 8 MONTHS OLD. AND I HAD SPINAL MENINGITIS.
I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL FOR TWO WEEKS AND THE DOCTORS THOUGHT I WAS READY
TO DIE, BUT I DID GET HEALTHY AND WHEN I WAS BROUGHT HOME, I WAS 8
MONTHS. AND WHEN I WOKE UP MY MOTHER WOULD TRY TO CLAP TO WAKE ME UP.
THEY FOUND OUT I WAS DEAF BUT REALLY I WAS HARD OF HEARING. FINALLY AT
THE AGE OF FIVE-AND-A- HALF, I LOST ALL MY HEARING,
SO I AM NOW PROFOUNDLY DEAF. BUT I GREW UP IN THE ORAL PROGRAM. I COMMUNICATED USING SPEECH,
AND I CAN REMEMBER SPEECH. I CAN REMEMBER HEARING SOME ENGLISH.
BUT IN SCHOOL, AGAIN, I WAS MAINSTREAMED, GREW UP THERE IN KINDERGARTEN TO
HIGH SCHOOL, BUT IT WAS DIFFICULT. I NEEDED AN INTERPRETER. AND I NEEDED
AN INTERPRETER FOR THE SCHOOL. I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND WHEN PEOPLE
WERE TALKING. AND SO THEN I GRADUATED.
I WENT TO COLLEGE. AND I WENT TO W.O.S.C. — THIS WAS
WESTERN, BUT NOW IT IS W.O.U. AND I CAME HERE TO U OF O AND
I GRADUATED FROM U OF O. AND I DIDN’T USE AN INTERPRETER,
AND I REALLY STRUGGLED. AND FOR MANY YEARS I DIDN’T
FEEL CONNECTED AND I WOULD DROP OUT AND
COME BACK. AND REALLY FOR ME IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN INTERPRETER
BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE ONE.>>LINDA MORTON: MY NAME IS LINDA
MORTON I WAS BORN DEAF AND
MY PARENTS DIDN’T KNOW I WAS DEAF UNTIL I WAS ABOUT 5 OR 6 YEARS OLD.
GROWING UP I WOULD TALK WITH MY PARENTS AND IT SEEMED I HAD A GOOD
SPEECH ABILITY. I COULD ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS. I WENT TO A PUBLIC
SCHOOL. AND THEN 4TH GRADE THEY FOUND OUT I HAD A PROBLEM WITH
READING. THEY WOULD ASK ME QUESTIONS, AND WHEN I WOULD ANSWER
THEY DIDN’T THINK MY ANSWERS WERE CORRECT, SO I WAS MOVED TO A SPECIAL
CLASSROOM WITH AUDITORY TRAINING AND SPEECH AND SIGN LANGUAGE WAS NOT
ALLOWED AT THAT TIME. THEY FORBID SIGN LANGUAGE, SO I HAD TO USE
SPEECH TRAINING ALL DAY. GRADUATED AND I WENT TO GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY,
AND THAT’S WHERE I LEARNED SIGN LANGUAGE. IT WAS AN AMAZING NEW
WORLD FOR ME. THERE WERE SO MANY DEAF PEOPLE AND WE WERE SIMILAR.
SO MY FAMILY’S ALL HEARING. SO I FINALLY FELT CONNECTED
WITH ONE GROUP.>>JO: I KNOW THERE IS STILL
A LOT YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT AND WE’LL GET THERE. I HOPE.
BRIEFLY, IF YOU COULD ANSWER WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU
MET ANOTHER DEAF PERSON?>>LINDA: I WAS IN 4TH GRADE.
WHEN THEY MOVED ME TO THAT SPECIAL CLASSROOM AND THAT’S WHEN I
FIRST MET A DEAF PERSON. THAT IS A DEAF CHILD.
BEFORE THAT I HADN’T MET ANY.>>ROGER: FOR MYSELF IT WAS SECOND
GRADE. AND WE ACTUALLY GREW UP TOGETHER AND IT WAS NICE FOR ME
BECAUSE WE COULD SIGN TOGETHER. AND THAT WAS MY FIRST EXPERIENCE.
BUT WITH ADULTS I DIDN’T MEET A DEAF ADULT UNTIL HIGH SCHOOL.>>HEIDI: MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WAS
4TH GRADE WITH A DEAF PERSON AS WELL. THAT WAS AN ORAL PROGRAM IN
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND I NOTICED WHEN I WAS PULLED OUT FOR READING AND
WRITING SUPPORT, BECAUSE I WAS BEHIND BECAUSE OF MY HEARING LOSS,
THAT I WORKED WITH A TEACHER FOR THE DEAF THERE WAS ANOTHER BOY AND
I BELIEVE HE WAS IN THIRD GRADE. ONE YEAR UNDER ME. AND HE HAD A BOX AND
HE HAD WIRES GOING UP TO HIS EARS AND WE REALLY COULDN’T UNDERSTAND
EACH OTHER. WE TRIED, BUT WE COULDN’T UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER.
WE COULDN’T COMMUNICATE. SO THAT WAS MY FIRST KIND OF REALIZATION
OF A DEAF PERSON.>>PETER: WHEN I WAS 2 MY MOTHER
AND I, WE WOULD GO TO SPEECH THERAPY AND I NOTICED THERE WERE OTHER
DEAF KIDS AND THEY WERE SIGNING AND MY MOM WOULD FREAK OUT.
NOT MY BOY. HE’S NOT SIGNING. NO WAY. SO IT WAS REALLY PREVENTATIVE FOR ME
TO MEET THOSE OTHER DEAF PEOPLE. SO WHEN I GREW UP,
I DIDN’T KNOW ANY DEAF PEOPLE UNTIL I WAS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL. AND I MET A DEAF MAN AND THE
TWO OF US BECAME FRIENDS, BUT WE DIDN’T SIGN. WE WOULD WRITE NOTES.
HE COULD SIGN BUT I WAS LIP READING. BUT MY FIRST DEAF ADULTS I MET
IN PAKISTAN. SO I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO
SO I WENT TO PAKISTAN. I WAS BY MYSELF AND I NOTICED TWO
DEAF MEN SIGNING TO EACH OTHER. AND I MET THEM; I GOT TO KNOW THEM.
AND I REALLY FOUND A DEAF IDENTITY, IN AMERICA I DID NOT.
BUT I HAD TO GO TO PAKISTAN.>>JO: WONDERFUL FILM HAS A
LOT TO DO WITH DISCRIMINATION. MY QUESTION TO THE PANEL NOW IS:
CAN YOU, BRIEFLY, GIVE US ANY STORIES, PERSONAL OR WORK RELATED, PERHAPS
WHERE YOU EXPERIENCED DISCRIMINATION BASED UPON YOUR ENABLE TO HEAR
COUPLED WITH YOUR DESIRE TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH ASL?
ANYBODY CAN ANSWER.>>LINDA: I GREW UP USING THE ORAL
METHOD. AND SO FINDING A JOB WASN’T VERY DIFFICULT FOR ME. BUT DURING
MEETINGS, I WOULD SIT AND EVERYONE WOULD TALK AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO
FOLLOW. AND I DIDN’T WANT TO BOTHER THEM FOR AN INTERPRETER JUST TO BE
INVOLVED IN THE MEETING AND I DID FEEL LEFT OUT. AND I FELT YOU KNOW,
I DO HAVE AN ADVANTAGE BECAUSE I DID GET TO WORK OTHERS WHEN THEY WERE
TALKING, BUT THEY DIDN’T TALK TO ME. THEY WERE TALKING WHILE THEY WERE
TYPING ON THE COMPUTER AND I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND THEM SO
IT WAS DIFFICULT.>>HEIDI: I REMEMBER BEFORE COLLEGE,
I GOT A SUMMER JOB. I WAS LOOKING FOR SOME KIND OF FUN JOB TO MAKE
MONEY. I APPLIED FOR A JOB AND I DIDN’T GET IT BECAUSE I COULDN’T
HEAR ON THE PHONE. AND MAYBE THERE WERE OTHER THINGS I COULD DO THAN
TALK ON THE PHONE, BUT AT THAT TIME THERE WAS NO VIDEO PHONE AND SO THAT
WAS REALLY KIND OF A BIG AWAKENING FOR ME AND I COULDN’T FIGURE OUT
WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO.>>PETER: NOW, TECHNOLOGY HAS
REALLY TAKEN OFF. YOU CAN SIGN ON CELL PHONES, YOU HAVE VIDEO RELAY.
AND SO, I’VE EXPERIENCED THIS WITH MY KIDS. I HAVE KIDS. I’M DIVORCED
AND MY KIDS LIVE IN WISCONSIN, SO FOR TWO YEARS HAVE SAID I WILL
BUY YOU A VIDEO PHONE. THEY HAVE REFUSED. WE NEED A VISUAL WAY FOR
ME TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM AND IT’S BEEN REALLY SAD FOR ME.>>ROGER: ONE EXPERIENCE SIMILAR TO
PETER’S IS MY FAMILY AND THEY ARE A HEARING FAMILY. THEY DON’T KNOW SIGN
LANGUAGE, BUT NOW WITH TECHNOLOGY, I’M TRYING TO CONVINCE MY PARENTS TO
TEXT ON A CELL PHONE. BUT THAT’S ALL. I’M STILL TRYING TO GET MY
BROTHER AND SISTER TO BE MORE COMMUNICATIVE WITH ME WITH TEXTING.
SO HOW DO WE CONTACT? WE E-MAIL. I E-MAIL AND WE WAIT AND THEY E-MAIL
AND WE WAIT AND IT IS NOT INSTANT AND IT’S FRUSTRATING.>>PETER: YES.>>LINDA: WHEN I GOT MY FIRST TTY
IT WAS HUGE. IT WAS A HUGE BOX. NOW THEY’VE CHANGED. THEY ARE A LOT
SMALLER. AND MY MOTHER CAME TO VISIT AND SHE IS FROM WISCONSIN. SHE CAME
TO VISIT AND SAW THIS SMALL TTY. WHAT IS THAT? A TTY FOR THE DEAF TO
COMMUNICATE USING THE TELETYPEWRITER ON THE PHONE. SHE FLEW BACK HOME AND
SHE BOUGHT HERSELF A TTY SO SHE COULD COMMUNICATE WITH ME
AND I WAS THRILLED.>>JO: I KNOW WE HAVE MANY CASES OF
UNINTENTIONAL AUDISM INCLUDING THE WAY WE SET UP THE PANEL TODAY.
SOMETIMES THE ROOM IS NOT WELL LIT. SOMETIMES PEOPLE FORGET TO SIGN.
SOMETIMES INTERPRETERS ARE NOT STANDING IN THE RIGHT PLACE. THERE
IS A LOT THAT GOES ON IN TERMS OF MAKING THINGS ACCESSIBLE AND
REMEMBERING TO MAKE THINGS ACCESSIBLE AND IN MY CLASS TODAY
MAKING SURE TECHNOLOGY IS WORKING IN ORDER TO MAKE THINGS ACCESSIBLE. ANY STORIES YOU WANT TO RELATE ABOUT
WHEN AUDISM REALLY IS UNINTENTIONAL AND OR WHEN TECHNOLOGY FAILURES HAVE
ELIMINATED YOU FROM THE CONVERSATION FROM PARTICIPATING FULLY IN ANY
FAMILY OR WORK EVENT.>>PETER: I’M SURE THERE ARE MANY
STORIES.>>HEIDI: MY EXPERIENCE WITH AUDISM
IS RELATED MORE WITH MY EXPERIENCE WITH MY COCHLEAR IMPLANT. AND I
THINK IT IS IMPORTANT FIRST FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT WITH MY COCHLEAR
IMPLANT THAT OTHER DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCE.
WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS AND SO TOO OFTEN WE ASSUME DEAF CAN LIP READ OR
DEAF PERSON HAS A HEARING AID OR HAS A COCHLEAR IMPLANT AND THEY CAN
TALK. THAT’S NOT ALWAYS TRUE. BUT WITH MY EXPERIENCE, ONE TIME MY
HEARING AID WAS BROKEN AND I WANTED TO GET IT FIX. I WENT TO SEE THE
AUDIOLOGIST AND WE WERE DISCUSSING FIXING MY HEARING AID MAYBE GETTING A
NEW ONE. THESE WERE EXPENSIVE. OUT OF THE BLUE THE AUDIOLOGIST ASKED ME,
“SO HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT GETTING ANOTHER COCHLEAR IMPLANT?”
AND SO SHE SAYS, “I THINK IT WOULD BE A GOOD BENEFIT. HAVE YOU EVER
THOUGHT ABOUT THAT?” NO. I’M NOT INTERESTED. BUT I DIDN’T EXPLAIN WHY
SO WE LEFT IT AT THAT. SHE SAID, “DO YOU LIKE MUSIC?” I SAID, “YES,
I LIKE MUSIC, BUT I CAN’T ALWAYS UNDERSTAND THE LYRICS.” AND SHE
SAYS, “OH, I BET IF YOU GET ANOTHER COCHLEAR IMPLANT THAT WILL HELP YOU
HEAR THE LYRICS AND YOU CAN FOLLOW THE SONG AND HAVE A BETTER
APPRECIATION FOR MUSIC.” AND SO, IN THE BACK OF MY MIND, NUMBER ONE,
THAT WAS A BIG ASSUMPTION. SHE DOESN’T KNOW ME. SHE DIDN’T KNOW
MY HISTORY. SHE HAS NOT SEEN MY AUDIOGRAM. AND SO, THAT WAS, I WAS
VERY YOUNG WHEN I GOT MY C.I. AND SO WHEN I GOT MY FIRST C.I. THEY SAID I
COULD HEAR MUSIC SO NOW THE AUDIOLOGIST IS OFFERING ANOTHER
COCHLEAR IMPLANT. AND THAT WILL MAKE MUSIC BETTER? AND SO WHEN I LEFT
HER OFFICE THAT DAY I FELT REALLY UPSET. I WAS THINKING SHE DOESN’T
KNOW ME. BUT I WAS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT PARENTS WITH YOUNG DEAF AND
HARD OF HEARING CHILDREN WHO DON’T REALLY HAVE THE OPTIONS LAID OUT FOR
THEM, AND WHAT DOES SHE TELL THEM? MAYBE SOME BENEFIT FROM A COCHLEAR
IMPLANT AND WILL DO VERY WELL WITH IT AND THAT’S GREAT, BUT WHAT ABOUT
THE OTHERS WHO MAYBE WILL NOT BENEFIT OR WHO DON’T WANT THE
COCHLEAR IMPLANT AND DON’T HAVE SUPPORT. WHERE IS THEIR SUPPORT?
AND THAT’S WHAT I’M SEEING. I HAVE SEEN THAT HAPPEN A LOT ESPECIALLY
AS A TEACHER FOR THE DEAF.>>SPEAKER: WERE YOUR PARENTS VERY
SUPPORTIVE OF YOU WHEN YOU HAD YOUR FIRST COCHLEAR IMPLANT?>>HEIDI: YES. YES.>>PETER: I THINK FIVE YEARS AGO AN
AUDIOLOGIST CAME UP TO ME. IT WAS MY FIRST APPOINTMENT TO GET MY HEARING
AID FIXED. SO I WENT INTO THE OFFICE. SHE LOOKED AT ME AND SAID,
“HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT GETTING A COCHLEAR IMPLANT?” SHE DIDN’T SIGN
IT. I SAID, “HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT LEARNING SIGN LANGUAGE?”
AND THAT KIND OF SHUT HER UP. THAT WAS MY ANSWER.>>HEIDI: DID YOU SEE ON THE FILM
TALKING ABOUT THE NEED TO FIX US SO WE CAN FUNCTION IN THE
HEARING WORLD? THERE IS A LIMIT; THERE IS A LINE; THERE IS
A BOUNDARY, AND SOMETIMES I THINK THAT’S NOT ALWAYS RESPECTED.>>PETER: WHY DO I TEACH ASL?
BECAUSE I USED TO TEACH DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING KIDS IN A MAINSTREAM
SCHOOL AND I LEFT BECAUSE I FELT LIKE I WAS FORCED. LIKE I WAS BEING
OPPRESSIVE TO THOSE STUDENTS BECAUSE HEARING AIDS, SPEECH TEACHING,
TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONE TIME. THOSE KIDS WERE FORCED TO HEAR
AND TO SPEAK AND COCHLEAR IMPLANTS AND FIXING AND FIXING AND WHERE IS
THE SIGN? WHERE IS THE DEAF IDENTITY AND THE DEAF PRIDE? AND THE
KIDS THEMSELVES REALLY WANTED, THEY WERE STARVING FOR KNOWLEDGE,
THEY WERE STARVING FOR SIGN, THEY WERE STARVING FOR LANGUAGE.
THEY WANTED THAT SELF-ESTEEM. THEY FELT THEIR PARENTS WERE FORCING
ME TO FORCE ON THEM TO IGNORE WHAT WAS INSIDE THEM. AND I QUIT
AND I DECIDED TO TEACH IN ASL.>>ROGER: A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
EDUCATION. SAME WITH PETER. I FELT IT WAS OPPRESSIVE FOR DEAF AND HARD
OF HEARING STUDENTS. I REMEMBER AT A PAST JOB, THERE WAS A HEARING
TEACHER THAT COULD SIGN, BUT THEIR PHILOSOPHY WAS THAT DEAF KIDS NEEDED
TO TALK AND MOST OF THE TIME IN MEETINGS WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS WE
WOULD, I WOULD SIGN, AND THE HEARING PERSON WOULD TALK, AND THEN THE
OTHER PERSON WOULD SIGN AND THE HEARING PERSON WOULD TALK
AND I WANTED THAT ONE-TO-ONE COMMUNICATION. I DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE
TO LOOK IN ALL DIRECTIONS AND THAT HAPPENED IN MEETINGS VERY OFTEN.>>LINDA: I CAN COMMUNICATE WITH A
FEW HEARING PEOPLE. BUT WHEN IT IS IN A GROUP OF PEOPLE, I FEEL VERY
ISOLATED BECAUSE I CAN’T CATCH THE COMMUNICATION BECAUSE IT IS GOING
TOO FAST. I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHO IS SPEAKING. AT PARTIES, AT WEDDINGS,
OR WHATEVER PLACE WHERE YOU GO THERE IS MANY PEOPLE TALKING, I ALWAYS
FEEL VERY ALONE AND PEOPLE ASK ME, “ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?” YES I’M FINE.
MAYBE I LOOK LIKE SOME THING’S WRONG, BUT I WISH PEOPLE WOULD LEARN
SIGN LANGUAGE. IT JUST MAKES IT SO THRILLING FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO
COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE SMOOTHLY.>>HEIDI: I WOULD LIKE TO ADD ABOUT
WHEN YOU HAVE A SIGNING ENVIRONMENT, LIKE FOR EXAMPLE MY CLASSROOM, I
HAVE AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM AND THAT’S A SIGNING ENVIRONMENT AND
THAT MEANS DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING TEACHERS, WE ALL USE SIGN TO
COMMUNICATE. WHEN PEOPLE COME INTO OUR ROOM THEY RESPECT THAT. FOR
EXAMPLE, I THINK THE OTHER DAY TWO TEACHERS AND AN INTERPRETER CAME
INTO THE ROOM. WE WERE HAVING A SIDE CONVERSATION BUT THEY CHOSE TO SIGN.
THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO BUT THEY CHOSE TO SIGN BECAUSE THEY WERE IN THE
SIGNING ENVIRONMENT AND TO HAVE A COMMUNICATION ON THE SIDE, IT IS
JUST RESPECTFUL TO SIGN. AND IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO SIGN, THAT WOULD BE AN
INSULT. AND ALSO OUTSIDE MY CLASSROOM IN THE HALLWAY WE SIGN OUT
THERE, TOO, BECAUSE THAT’S STILL PART OF THE SIGNING ENVIRONMENT.
PEOPLE COMING AND GOING FROM CLASS AND SO HERE AT U OF O I TEACH A
CLASS AND I SEE SOMETIMES THE CLASS YOU HAVE A PERSON WHO COMES INTO
CLASS IN A SIGNING ENVIRONMENT. WE’RE PRACTICING AMERICAN SIGN
LANGUAGE BUT THE STUDENTS, SOME, SIT IN THE BACK AND TALK
DURING SIGN LANGUAGE CLASS. IS THAT AUDISM?
THAT’S MY QUESTION.>>PETER: SOMETIMES WE ESTABLISH A
SIGNING DEAF EVENTS HERE IN THE CITY AND PEOPLE SHOW UP AND THEY KNOW IT
IS A DEAF EVENT. AND THEY TRY TO SIGN FOR A LITTLE BIT AND THEY
JUST DECIDE IT’S NOT WORTH IT AND THEY TALK. AND THAT’S AUDISM.>>JO: HOPEFULLY THE AUDIENCE KNOWS
OUR PANEL A LITTLE BIT. YOU SAW THE FILM AND HEARD THE EXPERIENCES. I’M
HOPEFUL YOU HAVE QUESTIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO POSE NOW. I KNOW WE HAVE A
LIMITED AMOUNT OF TIME, BUT I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN
OPPORTUNITY TO ASK QUESTIONS.>>SPEAKER: YES. FOR JO. MY
QUESTION IS YOUR PARENTS ARE DEAF AND YOU’VE SEEN OTHER DEAF COUPLES.
WHAT DO YOU DO?>>JO: LET ME REPEAT THAT QUESTION.
YES. BOTH MY PARENTS ARE DEAF. I WAS RAISED SIGNING AS A FIRST LANGUAGE,
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE. I HAVE SEEN SINCE DAY ONE — THE WORD–
THAT’S WHAT WORD — REJECTION. REJECTION OF OUR DEAF FAMILY’S DEAF
FRIENDS RELATIVES ET CETERA. I HAVE SEEN AND FELT BUT WORSE OF ALL NOT
JUST SEEN AND FELT THAT BUT I HEARD IT, AND I ELECTED NOT TO TELL MY
FAMILY THAT HEARING PEOPLE WERE SAYING THINGS ABOUT THEM, OTHERWISE
I WOULD BE SPENDING ALL MY TIME ACTUALLY TELLING THEM ALL THESE
NEGATIVE THINGS, AND TO ME THAT WAS SOMETHING TO CHERISH AND THOSE
STUPID HEARING PEOPLE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE MISSING.>>SPEAKER: SO, WE HAVE, WE KNOW
YOUR BACKGROUNDS IN THE MAINSTREAM SCHOOL, SPEECH THERAPY, HEARING,
BUT HOW ABOUT CULTURE? BUT DO YOU REMEMBER THE DAY,
THE MOMENT, THE EXACT TIME WHEN MAYBE YOU LEARNED YOU WERE NOT
HEARING AND YOU MAY BE MORE DEAF OR FOUND YOUR OWN DEAFNESS?>>PETER: I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE
AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL I WAS GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE, LIKE
MANY OF YOU EVERYWHERE. AND YOU GRADUATE. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? SO
I WENT TO SPOKANE, WASHINGTON AND I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? SO MY FATHER, HE’S A PASTOR IN
A CHURCH, AND HE KNEW OF A PLACE IN PAKISTAN WHERE I COULD GO WORK
AND IT WAS A METAL SHOP. AND I WAS WORKING WITH BOYS,
HELPING THEM LEARN HOW TO MAKE THINGS WITH METAL.
AND SO I THOUGHT GREAT. I FLEW TO PAKISTAN. I WAS THERE
6 MONTHS AND STRUGGLED BECAUSE HERE IN AMERICA I COULD READ
ENGLISH, I COULD READ LIPS, BUT IN PAKISTAN FORGET IT. PEOPLE WERE
SPEAKING AND I WAS LIKE IS THAT ENGLISH? YES. WOW. FOR 6 MONTHS I
STRUGGLED AND I WAS SO ALONE. TALK ABOUT BEING ALONE. I REALLY FELT
LONELY AND THAT IMPACTED ME. AND THAT WAS THE MOMENT OF CLARITY.
I WAS WORKING ALONE; I WAS LIVING ALONE. AND THAT’S WHEN I MET
THOSE TWO DEAF MEN SIGNING AND I WAS INSTANTLY DRAWN TO THEM
AND IT WAS THE HEAVENS OPENED AND THE LIGHTS CAME DOWN AND I WENT
TO THEM. AND IT WAS AMAZING. MY LIFE CHANGED AND
FROM THEN ON IT’S BEEN DIFFERENT.>>LINDA: I WAS BORN DEAF SO I DON’T
KNOW THE IMPACT OF FIGURING THAT OUT.>>ROGER: FOR ME I ALREADY KNEW
ABOUT DEAFNESS, ABOUT MY IDENTITY, ABOUT BEING A DEAF PERSON COMPARED
TO A HEARING PERSON, BUT FOR MANY YEARS GROWING UP, YOU KNOW, I
THOUGHT I WAS HEARING AND SPEAKING AND I WAS USING MY EYES, VISUALLY
AND I WAS MEETING PEOPLE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE BUT STILL I
DIDN’T FEEL CONNECTED WITH THE DEAF COMMUNITY. AND SO I GRADUATED
COLLEGE AND I THINK ABOUT 10 YEARS AND I DIDN’T SIGN. THERE WAS NO
SOCIALIZATION WITH PEOPLE FROM THE DEAF COMMUNITY. AND SO I WAS TRYING
TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I WANTED FOR MY LIFE, AND LATER IS WHEN I DECIDED I
WOULD GO BACK TO SCHOOL TO GET MY GRADUATE DEGREE IN DEAF EDUCATION
AND I BEGAN TO SOCIALIZE WITH THE DEAF COMMUNITY AND IT WAS AMAZING.
IT WAS ME. IT WAS MYSELF AS A DEAF PERSON AND I COULD SIGN AND THAT’S
WHO REALLY I AM, AND I FOUND THAT, TOOK ME 30 YEARS TO FIGURE IT OUT.
BUT NOW I FEEL LIKE A SUCCESS.>>HEIDI: MY EXPERIENCE IS SIMILAR
BECAUSE REALLY IT WAS A PROCESS. AND I REMEMBER ONE DAY THAT IT REALLY
HIT ME JUST LIKE PETER. I THINK I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL ON THE DEAF
VOLLEYBALL TEAM. THEY WERE ALL DEAF WOMEN. WE HAD A PRACTICE IN LOS
ANGELES. AND WE WERE PRACTICING THERE. AND IT WAS VERY HIGH LEVEL
BECAUSE WE WERE GETTING READY FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES AND THE RULE WAS
ALL HEARING AIDS MUST BE OFF. TO PLAY DURING PRACTICE WE HAD TO HAVE
OUR HEARING AIDS OFF. I HAD GROWN-UP MAINSTREAM AND IT WAS ORAL METHOD
AND I WAS LEARNING A LITTLE BIT OF SIGN LANGUAGE, BUT I THOUGHT TAKING
THOSE OFF I’M NOT COMFORTABLE. AND THAT WAS A STRUGGLE FOR ME AND
FINALLY I TOOK IT OFF. AND I WAS SIGNING AND I PICKED UP SOME SIGNS
AND I PICKED THEM UP FASTER AND I SAW WHAT WAS GOING ON. I WASN’T
AS WORRIED BECAUSE I COULD SEE. ON A HEARING TEAM YOU HAVE TO
WATCH OUT BECAUSE PEOPLE SCREAM.
I GOT IT I GOT IT. BUT I WASN’T WORRIED I WAS
GOING TO MISS ANYTHING BECAUSE ON THE DEAF TEAM IT WAS VISUAL AND SO
MUCH EASIER FOR ME. I FELT I COULD RELAX LIKE I WAS FREE AND I WAS SAD
WHEN I LEFT THAT TO GO HOME AND I REALIZED THAT WAS MY TRUE
IDENTITY AND I FOUND IT THEN.>>JO: OTHER HANDS? REALLY. YOU
KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS?>>SPEAKER: DO YOU WANT ME
TO TALK OR SIGN? GOING TO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND STUFF,
HOW IS SEEING THAT SIGN AND SEEING ALSO THAT DEAF CULTURE,
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE U.S?>>HEIDI: I MISSED PART OF THE QUESTION.>>JO: ARE SIGNS AND CULTURES DIFFERENT?>>HEIDI: THE SIGNS ARE DIFFERENT.
THEY HAVE DIFFERENT SIGN LANGUAGE. JUST LIKE SPOKEN. YOU GO TO FRANCE,
THEY SPEAK FRENCH. YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT SWEDEN.>>PETER: AND THEY HAVE THE THE
TECHNOLOGY. THEY HAVE A BILINGUAL APPROACH TO EDUCATION.>>LINDA: OTHER COUNTRIES SIGN
LANGUAGES, OR HERE IN AMERICA, IF PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
COME HERE AND SIGN THEIR LANGUAGES I THINK THAT’S AWESOME. I THINK THAT’S
AMAZING. I LEARNED THERE, THEIR WAY OF SIGNING. LIKE FOR EXAMPLE A DEAF
BLIND PERSON. I AM FASCINATED WITH THEIR WAY OF SIGNING BECAUSE IT IS
ALL IN THEIR HAND AND IT IS AMAZING HOW THEY CAN UNDERSTAND WHEN THE
INTERPRETER SIGNS INTO THEIR HANDS. COMMUNICATION, IT’S JUST A DIFFERENT
WAY OF COMMUNICATION.>>JO: WE UNDERSTAND, I’M HOPING
WE UNDERSTAND SIGN SYSTEMS ARE DIFFERENT IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES,
BUT WHAT ABOUT FEELINGS OF OPPRESSION AND WHAT YOU FELT
TRAVELING AS A DEAF PERSON.>>PETER: OH, YES. YES. HERE A
STORY ABOUT MY FATHER-IN-LAW. MY WIFE IS FROM INDIA. AND WE WENT
TO INDIA. SHE AND I WERE SIGNING. AND SO WE WENT TO BUY SOMETHING. I
DON’T REMEMBER — FOOD OR SOMETHING. ANYWAY, HER FATHER WAS WITH US. AND
SO HE’S GONE TO THAT STORE MANY, MANY TIMES AND HE’S HEARING AND HE
DOES NOT SIGN AND THE STORE CLERK ASKED THE FATHER-IN-LAW WHAT IS
PETER DOES. OH, HE TEACHES SIGN LANGUAGE IN AMERICA. AND THE CLERK
SAID HOW DO YOU TEACH SIGN LANGUAGE? AND THE FATHER SAID OH, YOU JUST
WRITE IT DOWN AND SHOW IT TO THEM. THAT’S ALL. YOU WRITE IT AND SHOW
IT. THAT’S HOW THE FATHER ANSWERED THE QUESTION. SO I LOOKED AT MY
WIFE. WHAT DID HE SAY. SHE SIGNED IT TO ME. NO. WRONG. WRONG. SO, THE
PARENTS ARE ANSWERING FOR THE KIDS. THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ANYMORE.
THAT’S NOT IN MY WORLD. SO, WHAT I DID, I SAID, OKAY, WAIT, HOLD ON. I GOT
THE CLERK AND I WAS GOING TO TEACH HIM HOW TO SIGN WHAT IS YOUR SIGN
FOR COMPUTER? MINE IS COMPUTER. I POINT AND THE GUY SAID WHAT IS THAT?
AND THE GUY WAS BLANK FACED SO I SIGNED IT. AND HE LOOKED AT IT AND
LOOKED AT ME. SO I GRABBED HIS HAND AND HIS ARM AND I MADE HIM SIGN
COMPUTER. AND HE JUST WAS VERY LIMP AND HE DIDN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND. AND
SO HE WAS LOOKING AT ME LIKE I WAS FROM MARS OR SOMETHING FROM ANOTHER
PLANET. SO WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR HANDS? AND I TOUCHED HIM TO USE HIS
HANDS AND HE FREAKED OUT A LITTLE BIT. AND WHEN HEARING PEOPLE
EXPERIENCE SIGN IN OTHER COUNTRIES IT IS VERY DIFFERENT.
IT IS VERY DIFFERENT CULTURE.>>HEIDI: MY EXPERIENCE WORKING
WITH THE DEAF COMMUNITY IN AFRICA, ON THE FIRST DAY I WENT TO THAT
SCHOOL A LOT OF THE DEAF CHILDREN CAME UP TO ME. THEY HAD NEVER SEEN A
DEAF PERSON BEFORE FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY. THEY WERE SHOCKED. THEY
WOULD SAY, “THERE’S DEAF PEOPLE LIKE US? OVER THE OCEAN? OTHER
COUNTRIES HAVE DEAF PEOPLE TOO?” THEY WERE SHOCKED. AND FOR ME THAT
WAS SHOCK AS WELL THEY HAD NOT HEARD THAT. BUT FOR THEM THAT WAS REALLY
AN EYE OPENING EXPERIENCE FOR THEM.>>SPEAKER: DID YOU LEARN ANY OF
THE OTHER COUNTRY SIGNS?>>HEIDI: YES. BEFORE I WENT TO
AFRICA I WAS A REALLY, REALLY NERVOUS ABOUT GOING BECAUSE I WAS
AFRAID I WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE. SO I WORKED AT A
TEACHING COLLEGE AND IT WAS ALL HEARING STAFF. HOW WAS I GOING TO
COMMUNICATE WITH THEM AND THE STUDENTS AND I WAS SO NERVOUS. SO WE
HAD EXPOSURE BEFORE WHEN WE WOULD TALK ABOUT OUR FEARS AND FUNNY, THE
VOLUNTEERS WOULD TALK ABOUT THEIR FEAR WAS SNAKES AND SPIDERS OR THE
WATER OR NO ELECTRICITY, AND THEN IT WAS MY TURN AND I WOULD TALK
ABOUT COMMUNICATION. THAT’S HUGE. I’M FLYING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND I’M
AFRAID THAT I CAN’T COMMUNICATE. AND SO I LIVED THERE ONE YEAR AND WHEN
I CAME HOME THAT WAS THE END OF MY FEAR. AND I PICKED UP THEIR SIGN
LANGUAGE REALLY FAST. VERY VISUAL AND THROUGH THEIR SIGN I WAS ABLE TO
PICK UP SOME OF THEIR SPOKEN LANGUAGE, TOO, AND THEY HELPED ME AND
IT WAS AMAZING. I LEARNED SO MUCH.>>JO: I KNOW OUR TIME HAS RUN OUT
AND EVERYBODY IS EXHAUSTED. I WANT TO BRING THIS TO A RELUCTANT CLOSE.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE INFORMATION THE
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON LIBRARY PUT TOGETHER SOME INFORMATION ON THE
LIBRARY PAGE. MANY OF US ARE AVAILABLE BY E-MAIL AND OTHER
METHODS SO IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR DESIRE ANY FOLLOW-UP PLEASE FEEL
FREE TO WRITE US AFTERWARDS. COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS ALSO HOSTS
THIS… DR. KEVIN HATFIELD, HOW MIGHT THEY ACCESS THIS PARTICULAR
PANEL SO THEY KNOW WHERE TO GO?>>DR. HATFIELD: UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
WEB SITE.>>JO: SO CAN YOU ALL ACCESS THIS
PANEL AGAIN. THAN YOU TO ALL OUR SPONSORS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR
SUPPORT. I’M HOPEFUL THAT YOU LEARNED SOMETHING AND I HOPE YOU GO AWAY
FROM HERE STILL THINKING ABOUT WHAT IT IS WE TALKED ABOUT ASSISTING AND
SPREADING THE WORD AND TALKING TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY ABOUT THIS
PARTICULAR NEW CONCEPT BUT NOT THAT NEW. THIS WORD THAT PERHAPS YOU
HEARD FOR THE FIRST TIME TONIGHT AUDISM AND I’M HOPING WE HAVE
UNVEILED IT JUST A LITTLE BIT FOR YOU. THANK YOU COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
AND SARAH FOR PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
GOOD NIGHT.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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