Constructing lives: the deaf experience
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Deafness, especially congenital deafness, need not be a "disability" or a "handicap" unless the community that the deaf person functions in makes it so by placing structural and (especially) attitudinal barriers across the educational, social and vocational lives of deaf individuals. Professor Power argues that in many respects Deaf people should be seen as a minority linguistic and cultural community, united by a shared experience of the world from a Deaf perspective, by a shared social, community and family life and especially united by their bond in the common use of Australian Sign Language (Auslan). In many ways "Deaf Australian" lives resemble the lives of "Italian Australian" or "Vietnamese Australian" lives. Deafness need not be a disability, but just an alternative (if sometimes difficult and frustrating) realisation of "the human condition".
© 1997 Griffith University