Autism Families and Professionals discussion

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Deaf Culture and Autism Culture

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message 1: by Terry (new)

Terry Filipowicz | 8 comments I have several students in the communication college classes I teach who are hearing impaired or who are studying sign language. After attending a student research symposium during which one of the students talked about the history of education for the deaf and about the culture itself, I came up with this phrase:

"Autism is the new deaf"

Thoughts? Interpretations of my meaning?


message 2: by James (new)

James Christie | 11 comments I think it's important not to forget about the "old" deaf ie the people who simply can't hear sounds; but I have a literal learning disability (my ability to take in and process information is exceptionally bad even for an Asperger, down there near a low-grade moron's) and on one occasion I was so tired I could hear the words but could not make sense of them.

So, apart from the fact I could hear the words (!), for that moment I might as well have been deaf. If deafness is a hardware fault, this is like a software fault, and for a moment the effect is quite similar.


message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jsnook270) | 4 comments Terry wrote: "I have several students in the communication college classes I teach who are hearing impaired or who are studying sign language. After attending a student research symposium during which one of the..."

I worked with a girl who had published (at an independent paper in SF) about the autism culture, and how we can exect it to manifest like deaf culture has, meaning, someday the autistic community will define and voice their culture. Adults on the spectrum already come and protest "Walk Now for Autism" and they are saying that they do not need to change as much as agencies encourage them to. That's really all I have on this, but I find it very interesting. There are many books written by peole on the spectrum.


message 4: by Anne (new)

Anne Ross | 11 comments Interesting phrase! The two groups are similar in that there is a culture (the Deaf prefer the capitalized letter to connote that, and I believe Autistic is on the rise), which embraces being deaf or autistic instead of seeing it as a handicap or disability--and in some cases the desire for the world to accommodate for them instead of the other way around. I can think of another similarity: there is a range/spectrum of hearing losses and autism behaviors. And here's another: communication for both can be challenging. However, deafness and autism are such completely different entities in so many ways. (I worked with a few children who had autism and deafness earlier in my career. They were attending deaf schools, because sign language was imperative.)


message 5: by Terry (new)

Terry Filipowicz | 8 comments Yes, I love what you all have said! Anne, my hearing impaired student said during his final class presentation (his chosen topic was verbal communication and identity) that "Deaf is like being a super hero" and that he doesn't care about nor really want to be able to hear through his ears. What I find so wonderfully fascinating is the co-opting of Other and making it one's own!


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