Deaf Again Analysis

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Deaf Again Essay Deaf Again by Mark Drolsbaugh is an autobiographical piece through which the author relays key aspects and themes in Deaf culture through his own experiences. The progression of the book can be described by his experiences going through the educational system. This can further be divided into two categories: his experiences in the hearing world and in the Deaf world. Although born into a deaf family, Mark Drolsbaugh was not prelingually deaf. As a result, when he lost his hearing, he was coerced to remain in the hearing world. Drolsbaugh’s grandparents took control of his education and did all that was in their power, from hearing aids to speech therapy, to ensure he would fit into hearing culture. This ultimately had a…show more content…
The “deaf and dumb” stigma as well as the delayed language and cognitive development of some Deaf children concerns this topic. “Ninety percent of deaf children have hearing parents, and usually there’s a significant communication gap” (Drolsbaugh 48). Therefore, it is not that being born deaf or hard of hearing that makes children unintelligent. It is the lack of access to language in the critical early years, as hearing parents often do not know sign language, that causes later issues in education. This can be seen from the fact that the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to acquire new information and establish neural pathways, is the greatest at birth and wanes throughout development. Therefore, if a child does not have sufficient access to language before five, significant language, and thus cognitive impairment, can result (100). Additionally, children learn about the world around them and develop critical thinking skills through asking questions. However, hearing parents often “wave off” such questions as unimportant due to difficulty explaining them (48). Therefore, early exposure to an accessible language such as ASL is crucial in developing language and cognitive abilities. When hearing families are fully aware and understanding of this, it can greatly facilitate improvements in education for Deaf…show more content…
In this sense, Drolsbaugh succeeds in balancing out his biases with the perspectives of others and emphasizing that his experience is just one of many. For example, although he believes that his grandfather’s efforts to keep him hearing were not the best decisions, he does not portray his grandfather negatively. Instead he says, “I know hindsight is 20/20. I don’t want my family kicking themselves in the butt for doing what others told them was the right thing to do (Drolsbaugh 13-14). He emphasizes that his grandfather and the rest of his family were acting out of genuine concern and love for him. Additionally, although his experiences in mainstream education were not entirely favorable, he does not completely dismiss its merits. The author is able to discuss both the pros and cons of Deaf children receiving mainstream education. He observes that “Socially, the deaf kids did seem to be somewhat at a disadvantage compared to students at deaf residential schools-their interaction was limited mostly to socializing amongst each other” (151). However, he does acknowledge that the quality of education at these schools appeared to be better. They were reading at a level appropriate to their age, such as Aesop’s Fables for middle school, which was still not accomplished in deaf residential schools (151). In these ways, he
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