Flashing Lights, Hugs From Strangers, Pounding Of Tables,

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Flashing lights, hugs from strangers, pounding of tables, and more await those coming into the Deaf Cultural world. After all, how does one communicate with another who cannot hear? From the perspective of one who grew up in the "hearing" world, these cultural norms were anything but normal; yet they have become ingrained, almost second nature. Now these are my norms and are part of my world. My journey into Deaf culture started in elementary school while riding the school bus. A friend of mine named Francis allowed me into her world of American Sign Language by teaching me the manual alphabet and some basic conversational sign language, such as roller skates and "how are you?". Later, I volunteered at a camp for Deaf and hard of hearing…show more content…
Some options include: flashing the lights briefly, stomping on the floor, or simply walking across the room to grab their attention. Another important cultural tidbit, eye contact is incredibly important. To an outsider it can be a bit unnerving, it almost feels like they are staring you down; however, direct eye contact is expected when someone is communicating with you, as this shows that you are fully engaged in the conversation. Breaking eye contact while in a conversation is akin to interrupting and stating that their conversation is not worth your time.

Living isolated by a majority of those who live around you, simply because of the mode of communication, can be very difficult. A majority of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community in the United States communicate with a three dimensional language known as American Sign Language, or ASL. ASL is a unique language that differs greatly from English. Not only does ASL differ from English linguistically, it also differs in modality. Instead of articulating phonemes with one 's mouth, teeth, tongue, and throat, one articulates ASL with one 's hands, fingers, face, and surrounding space. As such, an individual whose primary language is ASL may struggle reading and writing in English, especially in complex situations such as a doctor 's appointment. Also, the Deaf community shares a unique lexicon used to identify various individuals with whom they come in contact.


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