“What can deaf people do,” luckily isn’t something that comes up in Google’s auto-fill but you’d be shocked (or maybe you wouldn’t) to know that this is a question that many deaf people have heard in some way or another.
It’s very common for people to assume that deaf people can’t do mundane tasks like driving or working the same job a hearing person can. Many think that deaf people “can’t” do simple things they can, just because they’re…deaf? This is just absurd. Of course, there may be some jobs or tasks that the deaf can’t do or are limited by – like telemarketing, reception or call centre’s were answering the phone is a big part of the job. But other than that, there’s not much deaf people can’t do.
Let us bring this point forward for a minute – on the topic of driving. Deaf people can still SEE and aren’t physically limited. So they can still drive. If you were to assume a deaf person can’t drive because they can’t hear what’s happening on the road, then people who blast their music so loud they too can’t hear the road, shouldn’t be able to drive either. Right?
Amazingly, this ableist thinking is also extended to schools where teachers and aids discourage deaf students from doing VCE because it would be “too hard to cope” and instead push students to take VCAL and the “easier” subjects instead. They’ll even take it upon themselves to look for TAFE courses that are “easy” and “convenient” instead, often disregarding the goals and ambitions of the student. However, this is not a reflection of YOUR abilities, but rather their privilege in not wanting to put in that little bit of effort to help you out.
You don’t have to be defined by any of that. Remember that a big part of this thinking is due to the un-education of hearing people – not you. There’s a certain stigma that’s passed down, not to mention TV and movies, and if people never meet a deaf person IRL they’ll never know any different. That’s on THEM, so it’s up to you to prove them wrong!
So, here is what deaf people CAN do: anything they want!
We’re lucky to live in an era where there are so many innovations that help so many people with disabilities, including deaf people. And new tools are being invented or discovered every day. We have interpreters to help us study, closed captions to help us understand video content, tools for around the home – the list goes on!
Unfortunately, we still live in a privileged world where privileged people don’t know any different and have everything catered to them. It’s unrealistic to think that would change any time soon – but it is changing, slowly. That doesn’t mean you can’t do things for yourself. Stand up for what you want and go for it! You CAN drive if you want and you CAN study what you want too if you want.
There are resources to help you and they’re easier to find/get than you think! At Youth In Bloom, we help our clients with just this. Helping them find resources and achieve what they want too because it’s very possible. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you get where you want to be.