I Too Have a Dream
Make a Difference in the World
I pray that one day, many of the citizens of this great country of ours will take the time to learn sign language and be able to communicate with those deaf that are now isolated within our cities and communities. 90% of the parents of deaf children, according to the latest article I read, are hearing and many of those parents don't know sign language. This has a great effect upon their deaf children--and in many cases keeps them knowledge deprived. If deaf children have no early language access, it can hinder their development throughout their lives. I know, because my first deaf son was one of these children. Eventually, in spite of the oral school philosophy in our area, we learned sign language--but, mainly signed English. I wish for our son's sake it had been sooner. What I didn't understand, at the time, was that the deaf in our country have their own language, and it's order and syntax is not the same as English.
I am still learning ASL, and trying to become a better signer. I've experienced first hand the kindness and acceptance of the deaf community, through the deaf branch of our church--and their willingness to help and be patient with me as I make mistakes. They have been gracious towards me, in my willingness to learn and to try to communicate with them in their own language. My dream is that many others, one day, will also take the step to reach out and learn ASL.
Some feel that the deaf should just get cochlear implants, or rely on stronger hearing aides, and learn English---and for some, this might be an option, but it should be their choice. Most of the deaf, that I know, are proud of being part of the deaf community--and don't feel like they are handicapped--as some hearing might think. My profoundly deaf daughter has a higher IQ than I have--her's is close to genius! But sadly, some still treat her as though she is not as intelligent--because she signs. My oldest, profoundly deaf son, is an expert welder, and a better artist than I am---but can't get a job in his field, because he is deaf. My younger deaf son, who graduated from a university---teaches ASL now, but he too experienced difficulty in finding jobs.
When listening to the speech, by Martin Luther King,Jr., recently--I Have A Dream"--I can still relate much of what he said to the deaf and their situation TODAY. The lives of many deaf are still crippled from prejudice and unfair discrimination---"and exiled in their own land"-- as quoted from his speech concerning the black communities of his day.
This is "My Dream"--That one day the deaf will be judged by their own talents and abilities, and not by their deafness.
That one day --the deaf and the hearing can sit down together and communicate with one another.
And, That one day--All of God's children--without prejudice--will have a chance to achieve their own dreams.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Recently we celebrated a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. I was able to tell the elderly, that I work with, more about his life and his peaceful struggle in behalf of the blacks in our country. Not only was I inspired by his life and his accomplishments, but I was interested to learn that he started an organization in behalf of his cause called the SCLC. I was surprised by the similarity of the initials to our non-profit organization established for the deaf--with the initials of SLCLC. Our goal is to help deaf children to have materials in their primary language of ASL, to help with their education and provide them with the tools to also achieve their dreams.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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