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The Identity And Self-Concept Of The Deaf Person

This paper discusses the identity and self-concept of deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) persons. It presents the author’s reflections on the identity and self-concept of DHH individuals, describing how and why they perceive themselves the way they do and explaining implications of their perceptions. Keywords: deaf person, identity, self-concept Identity and Self-Concept of Deaf Persons People who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) have different concepts of themselves depending on their early experiences. The kind of support systems they have experienced and grown up with helps build the foundation on how they see themselves as a member of the general society. Scheetz (2012) introduced three types of identity of DHH students depending…show more content…
According to Scheetz (2012), DHH students who are children of deaf parents and have a deaf sibling adopt the culturally Deaf identity, those who were born into a family who stress oralism develop the culturally hearing identity, and those who are children of a hearing family adopt the bicultural identity. DHH students who have developed the culturally Deaf identity rely primarily on the manual mode of communication, but they have rich knowledge of Deaf culture, traditions, and values because they, together with their family, live by these culture, traditions, and values. These students usually go to special schools for the deaf and may benefit more from the American Sign Language (ASL) or other manual system. One issue here is that, because of DHH students’ tendency to be exclusively exposed to the Deaf culture and community, they may end up having…show more content…
While we acknowledge and value the culturally Deaf identity, it is apparent that the push in the modern time is the consideration of oralism, whenever possible, that stimulates the adoption of the culturally hearing and bicultural identities by the majority of our deaf students. Hence, most of our deaf students hold a self-concept that they are DHH but they can talk and write in English as well. They are proud of perceiving themselves as bicultural, socially competent, and successful members of the general society. Calderon and Greenberg (2011) suggested that in order for the DHH people to be successful members of the society, gaining the full access to its richness and opportunities, they need to learn to live in both the hearing and the Deaf worlds. Current public schools support this philosophy and, thus, provide their DHH students with opportunities to be exposed to both the hearing and the Deaf cultures. The geographical background of deaf population may be one of the causes of this development. Leigh (2010) reported that 5% of deaf children were born to deaf parents, while 95% of them were born to hearing parents. Hearing parents actively support oralism and resolutely influence their DHH children to avail of hearing aids or cochlear implants, whenever possible, to function successfully in the society just like the hearing population. As a result, their DHH
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