Debunking Myths about the Deaf

  • American Sign Language (ASL) is not English - it is a true language with its own syntax, grammar, and structure
  • True ASL cannot be spoken and signed simultaneously – if you see this, it is not true ASL, but spoken English with signs.
  • Sign Language is not universal – each country and Deaf community has its own sign language and some nations have more than one (e.g. the Netherlands has five sign language)
  • Although members of the Deaf community use ASL, not all deaf/hard of hearing individuals use ASL – some use the oral method or other sign systems, which are not ASL.
  • Deaf people can speak, although some choose not to use their voice.
  • Sign languages are not easy to learn – they take as long or more to learn as any foreign language.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing people are not disabled – on the contrary the Deaf community views itself as a linguistic and cultural minority.  Deaf people do not view themselves as impaired, but equal to hearing people.
  • Deaf people prefer the term Deaf and hard of hearing, not hearing impaired.
  • Deaf people can drive.
  • The Deaf community has its own culture, history, language, and mores.
  • Deaf people are proud of being deaf.
  • The cochlear implant is not a miracle fix and does not work for all deaf people, nor do all deaf people want one.

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