Deaf Community
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Deaf Culture:
Deaf Community

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 broader society.

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, and technology.

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 level.

3. Linguistic refers to the ability to understand and use Sign Language fluently.

4. Social refers to the ability to participate in social events of the Deaf community.

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 social.

6. The Deaf community considers itself as a linguistic/cultural minority, not only in South Africa but in other countries too.