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 on their individual circumstances, family backgrounds, and even choices: culturally Deaf identity, culturally hearing identity, and bicultural identity. 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...
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... 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 children, who are taught sign language in school and are now able to hear and talk, become bicultural.
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