Deaf Treatment in 1940's

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This article is concerned with ethical aspects of the relations between language minorities using signed languages (called the Deaf-World) and the larger societies that engulf them. The article aims to show that such minorities have the properties of ethnic groups, and that an unsuitable construction of the Deaf-World as a disability group has led to programs of the majority that discourage Deaf children from acquiring the language and culture of the Deaf-World and that aim to reduce the number of Deaf births—programs that are unethical from an ethnic group perspective. Four reasons not to construe the Deaf-World as a disability group are advanced: Deaf people themselves do not believe they have a disability; the disability construction brings with it needless medical and surgical risks for the Deaf child; it also endangers the future of the Deaf-World; finally, the disability construction brings bad solutions to real problems because it is predicated on a misunderstanding. It has become widely known that there is a Deaf-World in the United States, as in other nations, citizens whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) and who identify as members of that minority culture. The size of the population is not known, but estimates generally range from half a million to a million members (Schein, 1989). The English terms deaf and hearing impaired are commonly used to designate a much larger and more heterogeneous group than the members of the Deaf-World. Most of the 20 million Americans (Binnie, 1994) who are in this larger group had conventional schooling and became deaf after acculturation to hearing society; they communicate primarily in English or one of the spoken minority languages; they generally do not have Deaf spouses; they do not identify themselves as members of the Deaf-World or use its language, participate in its organizations, profess its values, or behave in accord with its mores; rather, they consider themselves hearing people with a...
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