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RARI: TRUE BIZ Discussion Guide

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Deaf Culture

Values, behaviors, and traditions of Deaf Culture

  • Promoting an environment that supports vision as the primary sense used for communication at school, in the home, and in the community, as vision offers individuals who are deaf access to information about the world and the independence to drive, travel, work, and participate in every aspect of society.
  • Valuing children who are deaf as the future of deaf people and Deaf culture. Deaf culture therefore encourages the use of ASL, in addition to any other communication modalities the child may have.
  • Support for bilingual ASL/English education of children who are deaf so they are competent in both languages.​
  • Inclusion of specific rules of behavior in communication in addition to the conventional rules of turn taking. For example, consistent eye contact and visual attention during a conversation is expected. In addition, a person using sign language has the floor during a conversation until he or she provides a visual indicator (pause, facial expression, etc.) that he or she is finished. ​Inclusion of unique strategies for gaining a person's attention includes:
    • flicking a light switch a few times to gain the attention of a group of people in a room
    • waving if the person is within the line of sight, or
    • gently tapping a person on the shoulder if he or she is not within the line of sight.​​
  • ​Perpetuation of Deaf culture through a variety of traditions including films, folklore, literature, athletics, poetry, celebrations, clubs, organizations, theaters, and school reunions. Deaf culture also includes some of its own "music" and poetry as well as dance

Learning about the culture of Deaf people is also learning about their language.

Deaf (with a capital "D") refers to embracing the cultural norms, beliefs, and values of the Deaf Community. The term "Deaf" should be capitalized when it is used as a shortened reference to being a member of the Deaf Community

American Deaf culture centers on the use of ASL and identification and unity with other people who are Deaf. A Deaf sociolinguist, Dr. Barbara Kannapel, developed a definition of the American Deaf culture that includes a set of learned behaviors of a group of people who are deaf and who have their own language (ASL), values, rules, and traditions.

Visit these web resources to learn more about Deaf media and art

ASL Films

  • ASL Films is an independent, deaf owned and operated production company for all feature film media. Founded in 2005 by partners Mark Wood and Mindy Moore, ASL Films is committed to creating sophisticated entertainment with an appeal that both inspires and rewards sponsors and audiences alike. At its inception the company made its first mark producing a feature length film, Forget Me Not which was a huge success that earned many raves and encores from all over the country.

Deaf Art / Deaf Artists

  • Welcome to RIT/NTID’s Deaf Artists website. This site features over 100 Deaf and hard of hearing artists and numerous resources and materials. Welcome and Enjoy If you wish to feature your works on this site, please review our submission criteria.

Visual Language and Visual Learning

  • VL2 is a Science of Learning Center (SLC) on Visual Language and Visual Learning, one of six SLCs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is hosted by Gallaudet University. NSF established the Science of Learning Centers to support interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research that presents new lines of thinking and inquiry into the science of learning.