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<<Biblioteca Digital del Portal<<La Educación<<La Educación (120) I, 1995 <<Artículo
La Educación
Número: (120) I
Año: 1995

The Preferred Idea

Persons born deaf or deafened in childhood reject the clinical-pathological model of deafness; they prefer a social orientation. They see themselves as members of a distinct culture, not as sick people. They may have difficulty being understood when they speak—they are sometimes mistakenly called “deaf mutes”—but that old-fashioned term connotes a disorder that is a matter of experience and instruction, not a necessary consequence of childhood deafness.

Deafness does not cause physical pain. Those who have never heard do not miss sound: they may be curious about it, but they do not hunger for it. They recognize that they differ from most people in some respects. Having grown up without adequate hearing for communication, they have adapted to it in many ways.

One ingenious adaptation is their formation of social entity, which we shall refer to as the Deaf Community—a unique phenomenon that deserves the careful consideration of educators and rehabilitators, whether their interest is in deafness specifically, or disability generally. Even if they have no professional commitment in this area, they will find the Deaf Community an exciting development that reveals much about how humans adapt to adverse circumstances.1