Victims from Birth: Inborn Deafness
Thesis: Inborn deafness will be the major factor that will affect career, social life and education of Gauvin.
Deafness, or hearing loss, is the illness when the person can not hear. It can be complete and incurable, but there are cases when people can be helped with hearing aids. Despite the contemporary discourse about unimportance of physical disabilities in the life of the person, many problems exist.
When the person becomes deaf in the adult age, he/she might be able to react adequately to the difficulties of the new status. However, children who were born with the disability do not know the optimal way to react to the challenges connected with their situation. Some deaf people consider their deafness to a culture, not an illness. Wendy McElroy in her article discusses the example of Sharon Duchesneau and Candace McCullough, whohave made everything possible to “make”their son Gauvin to be born absolutely deaf and so would become the part of their deaf culture, as mothers are also deaf. Levy in the article “Deafness, Culture, and Choice” should be treated rather with compassion than condamnation. She does not fullyagree with McElroy, but still thinks that parents can make such choice for their children. Inborn deafness is the major factor that will affect the career, social life, and education of Gauvin.
Gauvin will not be able to avoid problems with social life. According to Levi (n.d.), “The deaf will always be cut off from the buzz of conversation … [and] always slightly alienated from the mainstream of political, social, and cultural life.” In fact, the chances that Gauvin will grow up extremely alienated from the society are very high. From the beginning of his life, he will be made to communicate in the company of physically challenged children. Starting from the early childhood, Gauvin will feel that he is different from his peers. Playing on the playground will become a challenge for him because children who are 2-5 years old do not understand that somebody can be different from them. They are also quite aggressive towards those who do not fit into their small world view and can throw sand or just do not want to play with a strange boy. As the result, the only possibility for Gauvin to socialize in the pre-school period is to be in the company of the other deaf children or his parents. Another problem with social life might appear in the adulthood when Gauvin will decide to have a family and children. First of all, finding a woman that will not consider his deafness a problem will be challenging for several reasons. Gauvin might not be used to socializing with those who live outside the deaf community, to which he might belong from the earliest years of his life. Being odd to the children on the playground, then at school, does not result in becoming the most popular person in the class and the friend of all peers. Secondly, if Gauvin manages to find a woman he loves, they might be frightened by the perspective of giving birth to children with hearing loss. Despite the claims that it is not a disability but a difference, the majority of people still prefer to be average and healthy.
Gauvin will be challenged in education from the childhood. Levy assert: “…the deaf do much wars than the hearing on…education levels”. Studying at school will cause many problems. His parents might want their son to attend a school for the deaf. In this case, the future opportunities to integrate into the society are very low. However, it will give Gauvin more chances to receive a better education because the methods of teaching will perfectly fit the needs of the deaf children. For example, he will be taught lip-reading and the language of signs. It is possible to assume that his parents might decide to enroll Gauvin in the class with hearing children. In this scenario, the boy might suffer from being isolated because all children want to feel they belong to a group of peers. The academic challenges will also appear because he will not be able to listen to the teacher and participate in the discussions. The majority of students will not be able to understand the language of signs, and they might not tolerate Gauvin’s difference. If basic school education is obligatory for everyone, and teachers have to use an individual approach to every student, the higher education does not offer such things. Lectures and seminars are mandatory for university students. There is always an option that the student can do all work in the written form, but it requires the preliminary agreement with the professor.
Problems on the career path are also inevitable for people like Gauvin. Levy (n.d.) writes that “The deaf will always be … restricted to a narrower range of jobs”. The competition is high in practically all spheres of work. The chances to find a good job with a reasonable salary decrease even because somebody’s education is slightly better than the one of the applicant. No need to say that the majority of the deaf people like Gauvin are not the first choice for hiring if there are other applicants. They need to be much better than the others in the professional sense to find the job. Gauvin might become a talented surgeon, but inability to speak creates additional difficulties. It is problematic to imagine a deaf surgeon who can not react quickly to the words of colleagues and needs an interpreter. Another issue concerning the career of physically challenged people relates to the right to choose from the variety of professions. Not all specializations fit them, no matter how much they want to achieve success in a particular area. Gauvin can not work as a bus driver, because there is a need to communicate with people. He will not hear when people will ask him about the price or destination, and might try to speak in gestures. Not all people are polite and some of them, especially teenagers, might make fun of him. Gauvin will have to go through hundreds of cases of humiliation at work. In addition, he might be simple fired for inability to do his job on the needed level.
Being deaf makes the social life, career choice and path, and the education process serious challenges that Gauvin and all deaf people have to overcome. They require help and understanding from the people around from the early childhood because otherwise they will be integrated only in their small community of deaf people.
Levi, N. “Deafness, Culture, and Choice.” J Med Ethics 28. 2002. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.
McElroy, Wendy. “Victims from Birth.” ifeminists.com. 9 Apr. 2002. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.