Feedback, comments, & queries

The joy of learning ASL

Hi! My name is Katie Marlette and I’m a junior at Boyceville High School. We have to take classes to get a credit for another language to graduate. And I thought it would be a new thing to try ASL. I did . . . I really enjoy it. I have learned a lot of things and we are doing a project this month and this web site has a lot of info and is very helpful! Thanks for having a great web-site.

Katie Marlette
Boyceville, Wisconsin

The Editors reply: Glad to learn that you followed through on your decision to learn ASL. As we hope you’ll find out, it can come in VERY handy in a variety of situations, including meeting Deaf people, hearing babies who know how to sign, and distance communication. We hope that you’ll keep in practice, and will continue to enhance your signing skills.

Thanks for the compliment, too! We’re constantly enhancing and upgrading our sites to make them more informative and helpful.

 Tags, terms, and truth in labeling

Good morning. I’m a first year ASL student at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, California. My class has been given the assignment to read and write about the article “What Do We Call Ourselves?” from May 1993 Deaf Life. I found your article interesting, however, that was 13 years ago. Since the 1993 article, has the Deaf community seen any progress or positive changes in how the hearing world addresses and/or identifies Deaf people? In addition, is progress being made in terms of educating the hearing world in the use of preferred labeling on consumer products i.e., hearing-impaired vs. deaf or hard of hearing?

Zetta Tsukamoto
Mission Viejo, California

The Editors reply: Thanks for contacting us about the current situation regarding deaf-related terminology and labels.

“What do we call ourselves? And what do others call us?” was indeed published in 1993, but was incorporated into the third edition of For Hearing People Only with a few additions, since we felt that it was still pertinent. Some progress has certainly been made since 1993, but not enough to render the current batch of offensive terms obsolete.

We still see expressions like “interpreted for the hearing-impaired” in newspaper items, so that term can be considered still very much with us. You can check the introductory section of your local telephone directory to see if phrases like “emergency access for the hearing-impaired” are still used, or whether a more up-to-date expression like “emergency access for TTY users/deaf persons” is used.

We found some instances of “hearing-impaired” in coverage of the recent “Unity for Gallaudet” protests.

The cochlear-implant boom has not resulted in better public perceptions of deaf people. Some cochlear-implant recipients insist on using the term “hearing-impaired,” so—again—that term can't really be considered scrapped.

“Deaf-mute” and “deaf and dumb” are, unfortunately, still in currency. “Deaf-mute” and “deaf and mute" are still to be found in U.S. newspaper reportage, and “deaf and dumb" are still used in reportage originating in Africa and India. There’s even an organization called the Ghana Deaf and Dumb Association. Of course, deaf people have formidable problems in those societies.

The task of educating the general public is ongoing and infinite.

Greetings from Gally


I am enrolled in a course at Gallaudet and am working on a mini-paper requirement on comparing someone in deaf culture (or Deaf culture) with someone later deafened or hard of hearing. I stumbled via Google onto your website and enjoyed it very much. I want to quote you on preferring to use “community” so please send editor’s name so I can properly reference.

D. H.
severe hearing loss, hearing aid left, CI right
Washington, D.C.

The Editors reply: We’ve already responded to this student, thanking her for her interest in our sites.

Thoughts from Texas

Hello—this is sort of random so I apologize.

Hello; my name is Kate Wilburn. I am a college student at the University of Texas A&M at Corpus Christi. I am currently doing a research paper in my senior level Modern Popular Culture class about the Cochlear Implant. I have to have a firm focus, the cultural aspect of the deaf, in order to write this paper. I have used your site as part of my research to help as a secondary source.

While reading the information about the website I was interested to read section 11 (distinct schools). The reason I found this so interesting was the fact that I was part of a hearing class allowed to attend Texas School for the Deaf. Though we were only allowed to attend one class (Auto Body Repair), it was definitely an experience I would not change. I learned so much. I am glad to have that experience and it has forever changed me. Having this experience made what you have written about even more true to me.

Thank you for you time,
Kate Wilburn
Corpus Christi, Texas

The Editors reply: Thank you for sharing your views and experiences with us! The Auto Body Repair shop stint must have been fun—learning signs for all those different components.

Kudos from Columbus

I love the new makeover of — great job of the colors, icons, and designs. Thumbs up to staff!

Jimmy Cardosi
Columbus, Ohio

The Editors reply: Thanks! We’ll continue to improve the content and look of our sites.

Getting unstuck from “the dead zone”

Hi, I have been searching the net on all sorts of resources for the deaf and deaf culture. Your site is lovely, by the way, but really what I have been looking for is maybe not a site to help but just some advice from a person. I recently lost my hearing due to illness; now I am profoundly deaf. I learned a bit of sign when I was growing up so I can carry on a simple conversation. But I am neither good enough at signing or understanding speech to get along ... I am kind of stuck in this dead zone of not really having a place. I want to get into the deaf community and experience more of it and I want to sign more. What would be the best way to do that, without feeling like a tag along? ... I’m just kind of lost and confused. Thanks.

 Alina Marshall
Anchorage, Alaska

The Editors reply: Thanks for your feedback. You are not alone!  There is a Deaf community in Anchorage, and we encourage you to connect with it. The Alaska Association of the Deaf, for example, has headquarters in Anchorage, and there should be several social clubs and groups that welcome you. You can get up-to-date information at the Alaska State Library, too.

You can contact the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) through its Website. There should be a local group that you can join. ALDA embraces late-deafened adults from all sorts of backgrounds and every communicative preference. Some ALDAns are good signers, others aren’t. They’re open-minded about alternative methods of communication. ALDAns give each other psychological support, networking, and encouragement. They also have fun.

“I learned a lot”

Well, It is very interesting!! Especially history, Deaf cultures and Deaf Life.
I learned a lot about the Gallaudet College, President, faculty and students.
It is greatly appreciated!!

 Loretta Pilgrim
Coweta, Oklahoma

The Editors reply: Thank you for your comments. We hope that you enjoy our sites. Come back again. We’re growing.

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