Last night a woman pushed against my cart at TJMaxx and,in a loud voice filled with anger, said “MOVE..I TOLD YOU TO MOVE!”
I braced myself and looked her straight in the eye and I signed as I spoke, firmly and clearly, ” I am deaf and I didn’t hear you ask me to move..or I would have..but you WILL NOT speak to me in that way” and then, pointing to her daughter that stood behind her, I continued,.”What kind of impression are you making on your daughter..pushing carts,yelling at someone you don’t even know”
She scoffed, ” I can’t tell you deaf”
and I replied ” That’s right..you don’t know that I’m deaf but you still shouldn’t talk to anyone like that…much less when you have your child watching you..and you should never assume that someone is ignoring you when you don’t know the situation.”
She walked off in a huff and I stood there for a moment, regaining my composure and then I continued shopping for a few minutes, made my purchases and left…slightly angered by the ignorance and attitude of the woman.
Deafness is a hidden ABILITY…it’s not always easy to recognize that a person can read lips and communicate with their hands. Deafness sometimes gets mistaken for snobbery or rudeness or not knowing the English language…but it’s actually a gift..it brings out the best and the worst in people.
Deafness gives the ability to cut through the superficial and get to the heart of the matter. It isolates and yet it brings in strength and clarity.
I hear the music but I miss the lyrics so friends introduced me to apps like Sound Hound and some friends even lip sync and sing for me!
I hear the voices but can’t understand the words and that’s when I use AVA-the Audio Visual Accessibility app. This is what I’m looking at on my phone when I’m at conferences, in class, or at church or any other situation where there’s several people and I’m not close enough to touch them.
That’s right…”touch them” is what I wrote…because, in order to read lips I must be close enough to reach out and touch the person that’s talking to me.
So when you are out and about, making small talk in the line, or trying to get through crowded aisles, or waiting your turn at the checkout please do not assume that everybody can hear..you just might be in the presence of a person with the ability to read your lips, listen to what you mean and not just “hear.”….and it just might be me!
#deaftherapist #BeKind #LOVEMatters #Jeannasoul #AVA #hearingprivilege