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Deaf Like Me

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  777 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Deaf Like Me is the moving account of parents coming to terms with their baby girl's profound deafness. The love, hope, and anxieties of all hearing parents of deaf children are expressed here with power and simplicity. In the epilogue, Lynn Spradley as a teenager reflects upon being deaf, her education, her struggle to communicate, and the discovery that she was the focus ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published January 1st 1985 by Gallaudet University Press (first published March 12th 1978)
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Megan Bockelman The main character of the book would be Lynn Spradley, but it is about her as a child and the story is told by her parents.
Megan Bockelman The authors of this book are Thomas & James Spradley. There is also an epilogue by Lynn Spradley herself.

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  777 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Katie Sorensen
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disability
Read for my ASL 101 class.
I was so frustrated for the first 9/10ths of the book because all the parents were being told was "don't use gestures with your deaf child" and other ridiculous advice. And every 5 pages the author (dad) would say "We just knew that someday she'd talk." I wanted to shout at him, HELLO, she's DEAF! You're expecting her to function as if she was hearing, when she's NOT hearing!
But I guess my frustration was part of the point - that it's ridiculous to expect a deaf child
This is an inspiring account of hearing parents trying to do their best for their young daughter, Lynn, one of 20,000 babies born deaf due to the rubella epidemic of 1963-64. Wisdom of the time instructed parents to not let their child "act deaf" (lest she grow up to become a member of the "deaf ghetto") but instead to immerse her in lip-reading and speech. The predominant axiom was, "All deaf children can learn to lip-read and talk almost as well as their hearing peers if given an early start a ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book should be required reading for any hearing parents who have a profoundly deaf child. Even forty years later, there is a lot of misinformation out there about education for deaf children, sign language, and how to communicate with your deaf child. I found this story profoundly moving. Louise and Tom's struggles with their daughter, trying to teach her to talk, and in the process never being able to communicate with her broke my heart. The instant they started using sign language, the in ...more
Dec 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is non-fiction account of a family with a deaf daughter. Their daughter, Lynn, is born in the 1960's at a time when deafness was not widely understood. The culturally and socially acceptable method of dealing with this so-called disability was the oral method which involves teaching deaf children to speak through hours of careful instruction and practice of lip reading, controlling air flow, making sounds from the diaphragm, etc. Lynn's parents, Tom and Louise Spradley go through a hea ...more
Nicholas Beck
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
There were many things from this book that I really liked. Including the descriptions of the depths of difficulties that parents of deaf children have to endure to teach their child. Especially around the time this book is centered when a lot less was known about deaf people. The parents in the book were incredibly patient and persistence is finding a way to teach their daughter how to communicate. Even through all the unbelievably challenging times of frustration at not being able to get the me ...more
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I immensely enjoyed this book. Having worked in deaf education , I believe this should be a required read for all teachers or others training to work with the deaf.
Natelle Woodworth
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. A MUST READ!!! This book is absolutely breathtaking. I was so frustrated at times but the ending is magnificent. To read this story and hear the frustrations that Lynn's parents go through and struggle with is heartbreaking. I can't even imagine how hard it must of been for them back in the 60's to struggle with the controversy of Oralism vs Manual Language (ASL) I found myself wanting to jump through the book and shake them and snap my fingers and tell them to wake up that they need to tea ...more
Aug 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a RS book club reading assignment. It was written by a father of a deaf child and tells of the struggles of his family as they learned to communicate with their deaf child. This book describes the communication debate between oralism and sign language. After reading this book, you will wonder why anybody would withhold sign language education from a deaf child. The sacrifice and love shown by this family for their deaf child is very touching and sweet.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this is a nonfiction book about Thomas Spradley and his family's struggles as they learn how to raise their Deaf child, Lynn. I found this story frustrating, heartwarming, and in the end beautiful. last 4th or so made me tear up a few times. ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though the majority of the books dwelt on the struggles and frustrations that the family of a deaf girl faced, rather than the identity of Lynn as Deaf, the message was powerful, and the ending, moving.
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
An almost absurdly straight-forward memoir of a family with a deaf daughter-- this is full of interesting insight and answers all those questions I never knew to ask-- never even thought there were questions to ask-- about being deaf, growing up deaf and needing to be educated in a reasonably modern school system. This is no Helen Keller story, but it's still pretty shocking. And Spradley and this story are in the middle of what feels like a huge turning point in deaf history, addressing directl ...more
Natalie Guerrero
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very good nonfiction book! The outline of how the professionals who are pure oralists not only give false hopes, but also deny a child communication skills is heartbreaking at best. I found it very interesting to read this family's experiences with the professionals they encountered. I have heard of a the pure oral method (I learned a lot about ASL and deaf culture in college), but had never read actual accounts of its implementation.

The negative propoganda regarding sign language is appalling.
Jamie Brooks
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had to read this as an assignment for my ASL 2 class. Usually I hate books that I am forced to read, but I enjoyed this one. It sent me on a emotional rollercoaster. Mainly because the parents spend 3/4 of the book being completely against sign language and forcing their very young daughter to attempt to learn how to lip read and speak when it is very difficult for people who are deaf from birth to do.

Even though that pissed me off, I understood that the parents werent at fault. They had never
Aubrey Kramer
I am still reading this, but it is an absolutely fascinating and heart-wrenching narrative of a parent's struggles with their deaf child. The ASL vs. English debate is still alive and well today, unfortunately, with many deaf children being forced into oralism and denied the right to learn sign language. Whose fault is it? Certainly not the well-meaning parents who want to give their child the world, but as seen through the narrator's eyes: professionals who supposedly know the best way to teach ...more
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people with a deaf or HOH family member, people interested in sign language, general public
Shelves: deaf
Deaf Life Me is an interesting novel about the deaf experience in the late sixties. Mr. Spradley describes his family's experience as they adjust to daughter Lynn's deafness, his introduction to the deaf community, and the failure of the oral-only approach they tried with their daughter. He talks of hopes and dreams for their daughter to communicate purely orally and without manual sign language, but in the end realises the mistake he has made. This is a very touching story, some typos but nothi ...more
Fenixbird SandS
Oct 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents & everyone
Recommended to Fenixbird by: Patti Tate ASL Teacher
Looking for a manual on what NOT to do as a parent? This books comes pretty close to suggesting we NOT wait (when we have doubts on developmental milestones); NOT fear learning what COULD be THE tool for success for our own child/ren....Had I already read this? Tells the story of one family from right after their child's birth and their dread & anticipation of "Houston we have a problem," repurcussions of mother's measles exposure during pregnancy. They were uncertain whether or not it had been ...more
I couldn't finish this book, it was so intolerable.. which is why I won't give it a rating.. but I will say why I thought it was terrible.. the parents in this book do EVERYTHING wrong in trying to help their deaf child and it gets BEYOND frustrating.. but even more than that.. this book isn't so much of a "story" as much as a timeline.. "first we went to this doctor... they said ____... then we went to this person.. they said ____" and it got to be TOO much.. get on with it already and tell me ...more
Renetta DeBoer
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-lit
This book made me see the trials of raising a deaf child in the '60s. Not much technology to work with, research still being processed, ect. Makes me glad that I live in a word where I have access to the right technology and healthcare. I love how much Bruce grows because he has a deaf sister. When Lynn was a baby, it seemed like she was getting all the attention and he was left out. But he doesn't see that. He works with her as much as his parents. I love it! Beautifully written book! I highly ...more
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teens
This book was a great insight into deafness, its history, and it's effects on a family. It is the story of only one girl, by her father. But it could be the story of many. I thought it had heart, and made me even more excited about learning sign, and teaching others about the culture. It helps you not to assume that all deaf people can read lips, or sign, or read and write. It shows the unique challenges of educating a deaf child. ...more
Aug 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Though this was a fairly good book, I have to admit I was disappointed. It mainly talked about the Spradleys frustrations with the Oral method, and virtually nothing about them starting to learn to communicate with Lynn in Sign. I kept waiting for the Sign, and it wasn't until the last chapter or two that they got to it, and even then it was vague and felt 'skimmed over'. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting. ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this book for my American Sign Language class, and was pleased to find I enjoyed reading at least the last 100 pages.

The front half of the book gets bogged down in everyday occurrences, frustration, repetitive exercises, etc. But this structure does highlight the relief of discovered communication and heartbreaking/agonizing decision-making regarding Lynn's hearing loss, versus the struggle of repetition and futility that her parents experience in the beginning of her life.
Emily Bailey
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm pretty sure I read an earlier edition of Deaf Like Me, it seemed very familiar and I recognized the title. Deaf Like Me tells the story of a couple who find out that their second child, a daughter, is deaf. Narrated by the father, he voices the struggles they went through until finally finding the right method of deaf communication for them. I've always been interested in ASL (American Sign Language) and this story is good inspiration for me. I hope to find a way to learn more ASL! ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really loved this book! Couldn't put it down, and read it in like 2 days. It was really really interesting to learn about how this famiy felt when they suspected their daughter was deaf, and their journey. It was really sad to watch as their daughter became more and more frustrated when she couldn't even communicate with her parents, and she and her parents were working SO hard so she could learn to speak. Very very cool book, I highly recommend it!!!! ...more
Feb 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This is a very inspiring story about a child who has a hearing disability. It was a requirement for my ASL class in college, but I ended up really enjoying the read. It is an ideal example of how parents must advocate for their children, special needs or not. This is a must read for parents of hearing disabled children or anyone who works with them.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story of a family's journey to communicate with their deaf daughter. Although the answer now seems so obvious, the book vividly details what conditons were like for deaf families in the 1960's and how children were pushed towards an oral only environment, and discouraged from signing and "gestures". ...more
Jeroen Kraan
Deaf Like Me is an inspiring story about having a child with a hearing disability. The first two thirds of the book are devoted to having to teach spoken language, in the form of lip reading and vocal training, to deaf children. Personally I was frustrated at the fact that this part of the book is so long and repetitive, and I felt relieved when sign language was finally introduced to the book
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a book about, what else, a Deaf Girl. She was born in the 60's, at the time the people that her parents met were all very anti-sign language. So they put her in oral classes, whiched ended up meaning they had no communication with her until they finally began to teach her sign language at age 5. It was interesting to read about being a parent and family member of a deaf child. ...more
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I got a look at how the deaf children were educated and how they were treated in the 1960's. I found it interesting and frustrating at the same time because I know that the way she was being taught at first to use no signs or gestures is not how it is viewed now by most people. I did enjoy the story and even laughed out loud at some parts. ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Personally I found this book very eye opening to hearing parents struggle with raising a deaf child. This book made you understand their fears and desires of raising their daughter normally, but only when they embraced her deafness and decided to learn and teach her sign language that really helped her become her version of normal.
Sarah Shapero
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty good so far. I am in my 30's, deaf (have. Severe hearing loss impaired with hearing aids), and can communicate both orally and with sign. My parents talk little to me about their experience with raising me (a hard of hearing child in a mainstreamed world), so I thought it would be interesting to learn of other accounts with raising a deaf person. ...more
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