I often times think of what my reactions or opinions would be to these issues if I did not have any knowledge of the Deaf community and its culture, language and people. Issues such as accessibly and DeafSpace do not come up often in the hearing world and that is a shame.
Fortunately, I am learning about the Deaf community and the many barriers that are in place for those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Getting the opportunity to delve deeper into the issues surrounding DeafSpace has allowed me to educate myself on the issue, the lack of action that is being taken, as well as what is being done to remedy the situation.
Before researching DeafSpace, I was not aware of how much the world is built for those who are hearing and able bodied. Those who are Deaf, blind, in a wheelchair or have even lost a limb are constantly faced with obstacles they must overcome on a daily basis. Being able to communicate freely and without hindrances such as not enough space, poor lighting, poor acoustics, obstructed sight lines, or distracting colours is unacceptable. When I think about it, establishing wider hallways and curved walls in buildings, using more glass for elevators and rooms, using more open concepts in building designs are just a few changes that can be implemented to make a difference. Failure to compensate for these is discrimination, in and of itself, forms of Audism.
"An attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear; like racism or sexism, audism judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of whether a person hears and speaks.( Humphrey & Alcorn, 2006)"
There are 3 levels of Audism
1. Metaphysical- The belief that human identity and being is directly linked with language and speech.
2. Individual-The belief that ones success and intelligence is tied to their ability in the language of the majority hearing culture
3. Systemic- The belief that deaf individuals must be dominated, restricted, and governed by educational and medical institutions (Blanchard, 2015).
Failure to take into account the needs and culture of the Deaf community is discriminating and prejudce against their way of being.