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

Some Qualifications

Now before leaving the Theory of Deaf Community Development, we want to clarify some troubling issues. First, a general theory like the Theory of Deaf Community Development does not apply universally. We know that not all deaf people are rejected by the general community and that not all deaf people find the Deaf Community appealing. The theory does not require that all deaf people do anything; it only establishes tendencies—the probabilities that deaf people will act in particular ways.

Additionally, the deaf communities are not “silent utopias,” ideal organizations, perfect substitutes for any general community. Deaf people have their faults; being deaf does not make one a saint. Similarly, a Deaf Community is not the embodiment of all that one may value in a community. Deaf Communities vary from country to country; all have weaknesses as well as strengths. The theory does not concern itself with values. What is important to the theory is that deaf people behave as it predicts.

In determining who will join the Deaf Community, two factors are critical: the degree of hearing impairment and the age at onset of deafness. The theory applies only to those persons whose hearing is so poor that they cannot understand speech through the ear alone. Those hard of hearing persons who can communicate adequately with the benefit of hearing aids will seldom be attracted to the Deaf Community, nor will they likely be welcome into it. The Deaf Community does not accept all deaf persons, only those with onsets of impaired hearing before adulthood.

Finally, the structure of the Deaf Community can be improved or it can deteriorate. It is dynamic, not static. Deaf people, like all people, exist within constantly evolving societies. The theory holds that deaf people will continue to seek each others company, but does not specify the means by which they will achieve that objective.