WHAT IS ADVOCACY?
Advocacy “is any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports, defends or pleads on behalf of others.” (Oxford Dictionary).
Advocacy can be for a particular individual or on behalf of a group of Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing children or adults. HLADE has advocated for and/or helped pass at least 8 pieces of Delaware legislation and commented on innumerable polices and regulations on the federal and state level to help increase access and equality for children and adults with hearing loss. HLADE welcomes your input and suggestions to create or improve laws, policies and regulations to help Deaf, deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people. We provide technical expertise to policy makers, the Delaware legislature and numerous state councils, businesses and organizations.
TO ADVOCATE-BE CAREFUL AND RESPECTFUL IN YOUR WORDS!
The words we use and how people with disabilities identify their particular disability is very important! We should know the words a person uses to label their disability or we can always ask the person with a disability how they want to be called or labeled- such as Deaf, deaf, late-deafened or hard of hearing.
The word “hearing loss” is a medical term to describe if a person is not able to hear as well as a “normal hearing person.” (Oxford Dictionary). There are also educational, psychological, social and disability classifications to describe “hearing loss.” Culturally Deaf people often reject the term “hearing impaired” because they feel they are not “impaired, “disabled” or “abnormal” because they feel they can do anything a hearing person can do, they just can not hear or hear well. Some people that label themselves as Deaf meet the official medical definition of a “qualified” medical “hearing loss. So if they may meet the criteria to qualify for medical, social, Social Security and/or other government and private benefits. Deaf peoole consider thamselves “normal,” they just “can’t hear.” In general, Deaf people do not consider hearing loss as a “problem” that needs to be “fixed.”
So when you advocate for or talk to people with any type of disability, be mindful of your language and use proper etiquette to demonstrate sensitivity and respect for them as a person.
DEAF, LATE-DEAFENED, HARD OF HEARING-WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
A DEAF PERSON WRITTEN WITH A Capital letter “D”
A Deaf person, written with the capitol letter “D” means a person that self-identifies as a member of the Deaf Culture, use American Sign Language as their primary mode of communication. They usually were born Deaf or lost most or all their hearing on or about the age of three but still depend on visual cues such as facial expressions, lipreading and body language. They may or may not use hearing aids, but for some Deaf people, they may use hearing technology for general awareness of sound and safety/emergency reasons. Some deaf people may hear some or most conversation with the help of hearing technology, but they have chosen to be in the Deaf Culture. Research has overwhemingly proven that Deaf people in general have the same intellectual capacity as normal hearing people, but lack access and opportunity.
A deaf OR late-deafened PERSON WRITTEN WITH A SMALL LETTER “d”
A deaf person or late-deafened person, written with a little “d” means a person that self-identifies and is integrated as a member of mainstream society and affiliates and considers themselves a part of the fully hearing, normal hearing society and primarily communicates using their residual hearing, listening and spoken language (speech and voice) and/or hearing or listening technology in the hearing world. They can be born with some hearing loss or develop a mild, moderate or severe-profound hearing loss and may function as a deaf person (small “d”)or become deaf later in life, after on or about the age of three.
A HARD OF HEARING PERSON
A hard of hearing person usuaally is born with a mild, moderate or severe-profound hearing loss usually uses hearing aids, cochlear implants, hearing and listening technology, lipreading, facial expressions and body language. They also often require listening training, communication training, auditory processing, aural rehabilitation, vocabulary and computer training to live in the best way possible in a hearing world. Regardless of the type or degree of hearing loss they fully integrate their life in the hearing world.
People with hearing loss may refer to themselves as Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing or late-deafened OR a person with a “hearing loss.” The label they give themselves depends on their knowledge, experience and primary community. Some people with hearing loss are very sensitive about what words people use when talking to or referring to them. So we should all show respect by using the words they prefer when talking to or advocating on their behalf.
CONTACT US IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE THAT NEEDS ADVOCACY FOR A PERSONAL DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING ISSUE OR IF HLADE NEEDS TO CALL ATTENTION TO OR ADVOCATE FOR ISSUES IMPACTING Deaf, deaf, late-deafened, deaf-blind or hard of hearing children or adults!:)