1. When a group of people
come and live together, share common goals and carry out certain responsibilities
towards each other, they form a community.
2. Its own language and culture bind any given community. For the Deaf
community, Sign Language is the binding factor.
3. The Deaf community does not exist in one common geographical area.
Deaf individuals exist all over society.
4. However, they feel isolated regarding shared language and goals with
5. Schools of the Deaf form the foundation upon which the Deaf community,
Deaf culture, and Sign Language develop and thrive.
6. It is at school where Deaf children meet others like themselves for
the first time.
7. In school Deaf children learn to sign from peers and Sign Language
becomes their first language.
8. The Deaf child acquires the culture of the deaf community, which entails
common beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviors, social habits, values,
9. The school forms a very important collective basis, the equivalent
to home in geographical terms to the Deaf.
10. Members of the Deaf community identify with other members.
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There are four avenues to membership in the Deaf community:
audio logical, political, linguistic and social:
1. Audio logical refers to actual loss of hearing ability.
2. Political refers to the potential ability to exert influence on matters,
which directly affect the Deaf community on a local, provincial, or national
3. Linguistic refers to the ability to understand and use Sign Language
4. Social refers to the ability to participate in social events of the
5. Hearing people, e.g. parents, relatives, professionals or friends,
can be accepted as members of the Deaf community only if they have an
appropriate attitude towards the Deaf community. This means they can enter
into the Deaf community via three avenues: political, linguistic, and
6. The Deaf community considers itself as a linguistic/cultural minority,
not only in South Africa but in other countries too.