Your opinion on the word: "disability"

Alisha58

New Member
Hello!


This is a question that’s been weighing heavily on my mind lately, and I wanted to ask people of the Deaf community their thoughts and opinions. I will simply put the question before going into my own thoughts.

Is deafness a disability?

I had a conversation with someone close to me, who is in a wheelchair. We discussed the definition of disability. Essentially, we came to agree that it can/does carry a negative connotation that goes much BEYOND its strict definition. In this sense, we saw why people would be offended by the word “disability”. People have (incorrectly) come to see the word disability to mean a character flaw, an imperfection of the person AS A WHOLE. When, in reality, its actual definition is just this: a simple, physical inability to do something.

We empathized with people who did not like the word. But we also agreed that in order to eradicate this negative connotation of the word “disability”, it required us using it more, but with the added on explanation to explain that our physical inability to do such-and-such is not automatically related to our capability of doing other things (i.e. having a social life, forming opinions, etc., etc.).

I’ve read article upon article saying that deafness is not a disability. But I don’t know who wrote that (i.e. if they were actually d/Deaf themselves). So I wanted to ask the community directly.

What do you think??
 

Lysander

Well-Known Member
I don't feel I have a right to an opinion in this discussion because I'm hearing. However I want to follow this post because I'm interested in everyone else's opinions.
 

DeafNerdMommy

Well-Known Member
I don't see it as a disability. I can see how it can be, especially for people that lose it later in life. My hearing loss is more of a way of life and not really a disability.
 

Alisha58

New Member
I don't see it as a disability. I can see how it can be, especially for people that lose it later in life. My hearing loss is more of a way of life and not really a disability.

Interesting. That could be a defining point, when you lose it in life.

Exactly what IS your definition of the word disability, though? Does anybody really have a disability then, or are we all just living a different "way of life"??
 

Bebonang

Active Member
Well, it meant that we can not hear if we are not able to use phone or can not have or use ASL interpreters in the workplace or elsewhere. A lot of times most workplaces want Deaf people to use the phone instead of texting. I hate the word disability but it has some advantage of why we use the word if we are disable. Deaf people can do anything except we just can not hear sounds or words. Lipreading is difficult to make out. Hearing people don't understand our perspectives. That is why we need accommodations to help Deaf get those devices and ASL interpreters like for meetings in the workplace. We are not alone as other disable people like wheelchair bound, Down Syndrome (slow learners), Mentally ill, CP, the Blind, MP or any other diseases that make them become disabled. We had been fighting at the hearing people like Graham Alexander Bell Foundation for our rights to get jobs or whatever we can do in spite of our disability. They have been trying to get us to be like them as normal and hearing people. We can never be like them at all. We are different and they should understand that we need those special accommodations to help us deal with our deafness or any other disabilities. I had suffered back in 1954 to 1965 trying to make out what hearing teachers and other hearing people said. It is really frustrated and I get upset a lot when I could not understand why they are doing these to force me to do their bidding. That is why we need Deaf rights protest to let them know we need accommodations for jobs.
 

DeafNerdMommy

Well-Known Member
I think it is all how we look at life. I worked with disabled adults, like severe disabled. They couldn't understand they are disabled, just a little different. What we called disabled was their reality. So yes the word is helpful but is has a lot of meanings that it is almost useless.
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I think it is all how we look at life. I worked with disabled adults, like severe disabled. They couldn't understand they are disabled, just a little different. What we called disabled was their reality. So yes the word is helpful but is has a lot of meanings that it is almost useless.


Good post. "What we called disabled was their reality."
So true.
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
I think it is all how we look at life. I worked with disabled adults, like severe disabled. They couldn't understand they are disabled, just a little different. What we called disabled was their reality. So yes the word is helpful but is has a lot of meanings that it is almost useless.
BTW, I think it's important to use the term severely or severely intellectucally disabled when talking about that population. I KNOW "disabled" has gotten to be a popular euphanism for that population, but only a small percentage of disabled people are so severely affected. It makes EVERYONE with a disabilty sound like they are extremely affected. Disabilties come in all different flavors.
 

HoH_Profound

New Member
I wouldn't classify myself as 'disabled' though do find communication a constant struggle and always have to focus twice as hard as hearing peers in most cases.
 

Tetracyclone

Active Member
Disability, in my mind, is mainly a government-sponsored definition for the purpose of offering certain assistance of individuals who have difficulty participating "on an equal footing" with the majority of individuals. there is nothing mysterious about the concept, it just means you and I are physically (or sometimes mentally) different from the majority. What we do with that label is up to us.

I know people who resent the message that we (they) need special treatment/assistance. I definitely need help and do not feel badly about it. It's just an "is". Of course it's my reality, and one that puts me at a disadvantage to non-disabled people.
 

Neospace164

Member
To me the word doesn't mean much. I call myself disabled but don't think myself lesser than anyone else (I'm actually a little better that most people ;))
 

Tyler C

New Member
Hmm. Tough one.
I identify as a person with a disability. Do I use it as a crutch in life, f*** no. Thats stupid.
Lets face reality, I don't function the way most do. I need assistance in certain settings. Do i require a nurse, or a wheelchair? No.
Do i require a government label and a cheque on the 30th of each month? Also no.
If anything, as the previous commenter said, I think I'm better off just the way i am thanks. I wouldn't change a thing.

Now on the flip side of that coin - Was school, gaining employment, etc.. difficult? Absolutely. In these instances i'm the first one to say " Hey, Im Hearing impaired, i can't understand your words". Do I think thats a disability, in comparison to those without a hearing impairment? Yes. Absolutely yes.
 

Tetracyclone

Active Member
Hmm. Tough one.
I identify as a person with a disability. Do I use it as a crutch in life, f*** no. Thats stupid.
Lets face reality, I don't function the way most do. I need assistance in certain settings. Do i require a nurse, or a wheelchair? No.
Do i require a government label and a cheque on the 30th of each month? Also no.
If anything, as the previous commenter said, I think I'm better off just the way i am thanks. I wouldn't change a thing.

Now on the flip side of that coin - Was school, gaining employment, etc.. difficult? Absolutely. In these instances i'm the first one to say " Hey, Im Hearing impaired, i can't understand your words". Do I think thats a disability, in comparison to those without a hearing impairment? Yes. Absolutely yes.
Though it's not much of a disability compared to those who are stupid, or worse, have no common sense.
 

karap

Member
Well there are different types of disabilities. I happen to have a Intellectual disability and hard of hearing. But people shouldn't judge people on if they have a disability or not. Under the American with disabilities act of 1990. It protects the rights of all people with disabilities.
 

Lau2046

Well-Known Member
Hello!


This is a question that’s been weighing heavily on my mind lately, and I wanted to ask people of the Deaf community their thoughts and opinions. I will simply put the question before going into my own thoughts.

Is deafness a disability?

I had a conversation with someone close to me, who is in a wheelchair. We discussed the definition of disability. Essentially, we came to agree that it can/does carry a negative connotation that goes much BEYOND its strict definition. In this sense, we saw why people would be offended by the word “disability”. People have (incorrectly) come to see the word disability to mean a character flaw, an imperfection of the person AS A WHOLE. When, in reality, its actual definition is just this: a simple, physical inability to do something.

We empathized with people who did not like the word. But we also agreed that in order to eradicate this negative connotation of the word “disability”, it required us using it more, but with the added on explanation to explain that our physical inability to do such-and-such is not automatically related to our capability of doing other things (i.e. having a social life, forming opinions, etc., etc.).

I’ve read article upon article saying that deafness is not a disability. But I don’t know who wrote that (i.e. if they were actually d/Deaf themselves). So I wanted to ask the community directly.

What do you think??

I don't get why people are offended by medical terms. I'm severely hearing impaired - with hearing aids, and I'm deaf without them. There's no negative connotation associated with words except what you give them - and yes, if you lost a significant amount of hearing, that's a disability. It's the same if someone lost a significant amount of sight - that too is a disability but you don't have to let it define you. If someone's in a wheel chair, that's not a disability to you if they can't get up from it? What would be then - a continual vegetative state in a hospital bed? I don't like being labeled by anyone including the deaf community and I'm not concerned if anyone agrees with my views or not...I'm not needy for approval...I just wish I could understand this obsession with labels.

Laura
 

karap

Member
Laura I like ur point. My best friend I had shine I was five had really severe cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair. Their a lot of people that our hard of hearing and deaf that also has additional disabilities.
 
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