Yesterday and Today: Shaping The Hard of Hearing

Topics: Deaf culture, Hearing impairment, Deafness Pages: 5 (1511 words) Published: March 26, 2014


Yesterday and Today: Shaping The Hard of Hearing
Ahmed Alamri
California State University, Fresno
Abstract
This research paper sought out to understand the roots of history and how our past has shaped our today referring to the hard of hearing community. Exploring the historical period of the 19th century where stakes were high regarding the hard of hearing community, all the way into present time where these individuals are still facing struggles and adaptations are just as evident but presented in a different light. Yesterday and Today: Shaping the Hard of Hearing

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.(“Brainy Quote)” -Confucious. The unique heritage of hard of hearing culture is very affluent and astonishing. Understanding the desires of others wanting to learn about the history behind the hearing impaired will come across critical events like the “Deaf President Now” movement that essentially granted Gallaudet University its first ever deaf president, learn about the expansion of personal hearing assistive technology past and present, read about the vicious segregation in schools for the deaf, and learn about the thousands of historical figures that were hard of hearing.

History will always tell a tale and never ceases to prove to us that turbulent events, such as DPN, only occur behind the grounds of good reason. Many would argue that the American Revolution and our very own nation's Civil Rights Movement, just so happen to be the result of many years of upstanding frustration and oppression on the part of people who were misunderstood, mistreated, underestimated, and undeniably ignored.(“Deaf Heritage”). Yet again, history always repeats itself, it is evident that the oppressed reach a point where they have had enough and realize that their conditions will only change if they finally take matters into their own hands and protest. Although the United States believed enough of the hard of hearing ability to be apart of and contribute to Gallaudet University in 1864, discrimination and prejudices against deaf and hard of hearing individuals continued to persist(“Deaf Heritage”) Among the educators of deaf people there were many disagreements. Two parties then emerged known as the “Oralists” and “Manualists.” (“Deaf Timeline”) Oralism was essentially the theory or practice of teaching hearing-impaired or deaf persons to communicate by means of spoken language. Manualism is a method of education of deaf students using sign language within the classroom(“Journal of Deaf Studies and Education”) Edward Miner Gallaudet outspokenly supported the usage of sign language alongside teaching students who were deaf and hard of hearing. Still at the same time, Alexander Graham Bell, the well-known prominent inventor of the telephone, was a vital advocate of the “pure oral method.”(“Deaf Timeline”) In the united states, deaf education has a very prolonging and extended chapters of history, even dating back to the 19th century. A widely international meeting of educators of deaf children in Milan, Italy placed a ban of the use of sign language within the teaching of deaf and hard of hearing children in 1880. Inevitably, this settlement led to the dismissal of all deaf teachers from all classrooms due to the fact that it was believed deaf educators lacked skill therefore cannot either teach in or administer schools for deaf children or the hard of hearing(“Deaf Timeline”). Bell as well as other hearing individuals passionately believed they knew all that was preeminent for deaf individuals and advocated strongly for the suppression of sign language usage.(“Deaf Heritage”) It is also evident that Bell advocated the fight against the intermarriage of deaf people. On the other hand, Edward Gallaudet was very discorded regarding these issues but ultimately advocated the use of sign language. Almost all schools for deaf children used the oral method of instruction by 1919....

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