The book, ‘Alone in the Mainstream,’ is a collection of interviews spliced together thematically with parallels to the author 's life. It covers everything from Teachers, good and bad, to friends, bullies, classes and all other parts of growing up. The common theme gluing them all together is not solitude as the book states, but difference felt by the interviewee or the author. Several of the sections, namely the ones about great teachers and great friends, show that deaf people are not alone, but that their experience is vastly different.
The childhood of the subjects of the interviews, and the authors, lives differed drastically from mine, yet somehow managed to be the same in ways I did not expect. Having to set up a radio listening device or having to go to administration to receive proper seating are challenges I have never considered. And the idea of a teacher failing a student because he did not want to teach the student seems totally foreign to me (page 44). However the major differences would have to be just in the level of social interaction. I was always self conscious that I would say the wrong thing, or embarrass myself in some way. I could not imagine having to overcome being hard of hearing to be social.
However, there were several parts of this story that I found to parallel my own life. The hard of hearing student that went out for the debate team being chief among them. I was on the debate team when I was in high school and I always assumed that that was simply an activity that deaf// hard of hearing people could not do. So that story was of particular interest to me and I would have loved to hear more. There were also several concerns expressed in the book that I could easily relate to. Several times the...
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...nd this is important, my time in the ASL curriculum has taught me that I may be wrong. I now freely admit that I do not have all the answers, so while I disagree with parents that refuse to give their kids cochlear implants, I would never try to force my will on them.
Since my first ASL class I have also just simply gained a greater understanding of the existence of deaf culture. Originally, I had no idea that any such thing existed. And while I think it may qualify more as a subculture than a full on culture, I also admit that “the deaf subculture” just does not roll of the tongue in the same way. Jokes aside. I have learned of the existence of a community of people that have all shared a common experience and consider themselves better because of it. And I hugely support this! I would want nothing less than to be told that I am lesser because of a physical trait.
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