Essay on “Disabled or Different”

Published: 2021/12/17
Number of words: 1052

The community perceives the deaf as people who are disabled or physically impaired. However, the deaf community perceives themselves as different and aligns their challenges to being a minority language. Although the deaf is challenged in hearing, they are not disabled but different. The deaf community is not acknowledged in the community and is often misjudged based on hearing potential. People believe that deaf individuals are impaired and deserve sympathy, and should be treated unequally to others. This perception and stereotype have haunted the disabled for a prolonged time leading to injustices and prejudice in their treatment. The deaf community has earned numerous merits from the connotation of impairment under the ADA policy despite the limitations of being labeled as disabled.

There is a contentious debate since the deaf wants the connotation of disability eradicated. Yet, the deaf desire to take advantage of the legal coverage and benefits of people defined under the category of disabled people. People with hearing challenges face difficulties daily because they believe they are at a significant disadvantage to lifestyle and fully operational in a community that does not naturally cater to their needs. The socioeconomic rights-based approach of disability sees a person’s disability as a predicament regarding how people perceive one another rather than themselves (Smith & Andrews, 2015). As a result, those with presumed impairments are empowered to be equal partners in defining how the community will handle them. Being labeled deaf is both a good thing for its pros and a negative thing for the cons associated with the condition. Employers have the obligation of inclusion for deaf individuals by the power convened to them by the ADA act and other equality policies.

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In collaboration with the government as official stakeholders, the deaf community is empowered in advocacy of their rights. The privileges are granted inequity with the people assured of fair and equal distribution of opportunities. Federal and states regulation through the ADA policy guarantee fairness and equity by incorporating deaf in a wide range of activities. The ADA act of 1991 characterizes deaf as an impairment giving legal support, which acts as a prime advantage for the community ( However, there is a limitation in the implication that arises of the deaf being impaired, thus lacking some physical and mental ability (Berke, 2020). Legal binding prevents seclusion of the deaf, segregation from service access, or any form of discriminatory treatment. For instance, ADA prohibits bias in social institutions, the transport sector, employment, and other areas meant for public access.

Merits arise from the support from the society irrespective of being labeled as handicapped such as education services and interpretation. Employment practices addressed for both public and private sectors, states, local, and federal authorities reinforce ADA on employment agents, labor unions, and other crucial societal fields. Motivation through empowerment, placing great value in their society, and self-assurance are essential components of a healthy Deaf culture. Throughout their lives, the Deaf Realm has been seriously underestimated and misinterpreted (Sexton, 2017). They’ve had to prove themselves and their identities, as well as fight to be properly represented by their own.

The issue of audism has a significant adverse impact on the deaf community. Ongoing treatment of the deaf as inferiors by people with the potential of hearing and speaking harms the deaf. Psychological harm such as emotional degradation and lowered self-esteem among deaf individuals result. Feelings of insecurity, depression, and poor interactions can arise from the audism impact. Besides, poor communication may arise from the prejudice of the individual’s potential and hearing ability (Stapleton, 2016). Further, audism can be described as an attitude that results from a community or individuals lacking the willingness to accommodate the deaf, leading to prejudice. Other prevalent signs of audism include individuals’ or community’ failure or opposition against the use of gestures despite acknowledging the presence of a deaf person, advocating for deaf community conforming, and reduced expectations for people with hearing difficulties.

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The concern on conflicts arising from the interactions of the American Deaf Community regarding being perceived as a minority language, disabled group, and distinct culture is significant (Gournaris & Aubrecht, 2013). Contrasting views on the difficulties in hearing as a disability or difference depend on the stereotype and attitude of individuals. Being disabled implies that something of great significance is wrong with a person, which is not explicitly what it means to be deaf. The deaf is considered disabled by the rest of the world because they cannot communicate using their hearing but must rely on visual cues. The Deaf culture has demonstrated to be self-sufficient, industrious, and dedicated to their mutual purpose with diligence. Gostin (2015) claims that the Deaf community is perceived as handicapped by the hearing universe. They see themselves as a linguistic minority; these two perspectives highlight how crucial it is to understand the Deaf realm and embrace the diversity of their culture before they are improperly underestimated and judged.

There are merits and limitations when the deaf when labeled as disabled. The ADA and social support offered the deaf community bridge the gap between the hearing and those with hearing difficulties. The rise and continued success of the deaf culture as a language minority and people with a difference instead of disability have managed to fight for equity and cultural push for a balanced society. The culture’s perseverance and empowerment have yielded a significant impact on the community despite the challenges encountered.


Berke, J. (2020). How an Audist attitude negatively affects deaf people. Very well Health.

Gostin, L. O. (2015). The Americans with Disabilities Act at 25: the highest expression of American values. Jama, 313(22), 2231-2235.

Gournaris, M. J., & Aubrecht, A. L. (2013). Deaf/Hearing Cross-cultural Conflicts and the Creation of Culturally Competent Treatment Programs. In Deaf mental health care (pp. 87-124). Routledge.

Sexton, J. (2017). Empowering adolescents who are deaf and hard of hearing. North Carolina medical journal, 78(2), 129-130.

Smith, D. H., & Andrews, J. F. (2015). Deaf and hard of hearing faculty in higher education: enhancing access, equity, policy, and practice. Disability & Society30(10), 1521-1536.

Stapleton, L. D. (2016). Audism and racism: The hidden curriculum impacting Black d/Deaf college students in the classroom. Negro Educational Review, 67(1-4), 149.

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