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<p>The Deaf community represents the whole of the community involved and influenced by deaf culture. Members of the deaf community include deaf, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, and hearing people, who contribute to the community in a positive manner. What binds deaf people is on the one hand their audio-logical impairment, and on the other hand their determination to not be restricted in life by this hearing problem. Many people outside the community of deaf people hold two perspectives of the hearing impaired: one view is based on a pathological analysis; another is impacted by a cultural observation of the deaf world. Very often if you have not experienced the world through the eyes of a deaf person, you do not understand that the hearing impairment is a disability that does not have to limit the life achievement and experience of the person bearing its limitations. In fact, deaf culture dictates that being deaf is not a disability, but a life experience to be respected and treasured.</p> <p><strong>Point of View</strong><br/> Deaf community members have a point of view that requires understanding by the outside world. In recent years, there have been many advances in cultural and legal considerations, allowing people to have a greater appreciation for the life being led by deaf people. Although, there are certain physical limitations that are obvious to be challenging, they can be overcome, and with the right kind of support, education, and commitment, a deaf person can build a successful life, and be self-reliant. The point of view that people who happen to have hearing impairment are primarily outside the “norm”, or are not “standard” medically-speaking, is the perspective based on the Medical Model. The alternative point of view of people part of the deaf community is referred to as Cultural Model, which views deaf people as part of a community that shares: A) a common means of communication (sign languages); B) a common culture; and C) a way of relating to the world that is visually based and expressed through gestures. This latter way of looking at the deaf community is accepted by people who form a part of the deaf culture, as the former “medical” perspective is thought to be discriminatory and degrading to the abilities of the hearing impaired, referred to as “Audism”, a form of discrimination like sexism and racism.</p> <p>Audism is not an acceptable way of relating to deaf people, who resent the fact of being labeled as outside the norm. The deaf community has its own culture and history centered on the common bond of sign languages, which is an essential way of communication among deaf people.</p>
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