This was successful on another forum, a car forum, that I was on until the forum began losing members and the remaining ones already knew me pretty well. So I thought I'd start it again here in my blog where it won't be pushed down into oblivion as if I made it in the General section. Basically, the premise is I will occasionally post tidbits about all things pertaining to Deafness, from silly questions that you're afraid to ask to famous Deaf figures to the beginning of the language that Deaf people use, ASL, known as American Sign Language. The purpose of this thread is to further educate people that might otherwise have never met a Deaf person and never known anything about them. I want to reach into your minds and open it up to another side of the world, America, and just how diverse humanity is. Once you come into this thread, you will not be judged. If you and I happen to get into an argument, that's okay. You have your opinion and I have mine. So please feel free to ask anything you want, add anything you'd like, or say something, no matter how stupid or ridiculous it might seem to you. After all, if you don't ask, you won't learn anything. Let's begin! To start off, here are some common general questions or misconceptions: Q: Deaf people cannot drive. A: Deaf people can and do drive. The requirements for a Deaf person to get a driver's license is the same as any Hearing (That is what we call people who can hear) person. The DMV makes a point that Deaf people need a car that has all three mirrors, however, that's a requirement for everybody, not just Deaf people. Insurance companies have made studies (that I will bring up at some point) showing Deaf people can be safer drivers. I'm not one of them, even though I do pay close attention to my surroundings. My driving record will prove that point. I'd have to say my worst year was 2009, when I got five tickets... Sigh. Q: Deaf people's remaining senses are better than other people's, like blind people have better senses. A: Not true. If you suddenly become deaf overnight, your other senses will not become supernatural. They'll be the same as they ever were. As with anything, you have to practice with your senses to improve any of them. Since I was born Deaf, I never had the opportunity to depend on sound. My eyesight, taste, touch, and smells have become a little bit more effective than others' but only because I've had a lifetime of training each sense. Especially sight. My eyes are my life, and I'm constantly using them to get around in the world. Sight is my most powerful sense. If you became deaf overnight, my senses would be more attuned than yours. Q: I noticed you capitalize the D in Deaf but sometimes you don't. Why? A: The capitalized D in "Deaf" implies the culture. When I'm talking about me, I am Deaf because I'm involved with the culture and everything pertaining to it. However, if you're talking about the medical term itself, then it is simply "deaf". Q: All Deaf people are masters at lipreading. A: LOL! :;laughing No, we're not. There are so many variables with lipreading! I'll list just a few: 1. How you move your lips 2. How similar the lip movement of making two sounds are 3. If you have a beard or mustache or other things around the mouth or a harelip or something like braces 4. If the lighting is dim or bright 5. The context of what you're talking about 6. What situation we're in 7. How much speech therapy we've had 8. If you're moving or I am 9. If you're facing me or facing away or to the side 10. How fast you're speaking 11. Et cetera Take all of that into consideration, and you have one incredibly difficult task to do while remembering everything. A ton of sound movements look very similar to each other. For example, go to the mirror and mouth to yourself with no sound, "Olive Juice" then "I Love You". You'll see that they look almost identical. An average Deaf person will catch only 25% of a full conversation. Only 25%! That's a huge gap in information. There are people who have had years and training with only Speech Therapy and can hold a full conversation pretty well, provided all conditions are met. There are others who have had absolutely ZERO and have no idea what the heck you just said. As for myself, I can get by in normal everyday situations. I can read the common phrases such as going to the checkout or greeting a person or something like that. "Hello", "Thank you", "Have a nice day", etc. If you do happen to meet a Deaf person, DO NOT assume they can lipread. It's very annoying to be asked if I can lipread sometimes. Handy tip: What you can do is find a pen and paper to write your conversation down or whip out your nice smartphone and start typing in the notepad on your phone. Q: Sign language is an universal language! A: No, it's not. Sign language is exactly that, a language. It has dialects depending on location. Signs from the West coast may be different from signs in the East coast, just as Maine signs can be different from Floridan signs. Countries have their own sign languages. America has American Sign Language. Britain has British Sign Language. France has French Sign Language. Italy, Italian Sign Language. Japan, Japanese Sign Language. You get the idea. A surprising tidbit: American Sign Language didn't come from British Sign Language as you might think. It actually came from France. Arrivederci!