A Deaf perspective

Antony Daamen adaamen at OPTUSNET.COM.AU
Mon Mar 29 06:20:15 UTC 2004

Hi all on the list!

I am Antony Daamen now living in Australia, Townsville.

I am hearing, married a Deaf wife (Terry ) in Nov 1994.  That is when I
started to learn Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Now I am the Regional
Co-ordinator for the Queensland Deaf Society.

That is the good news. The bad news I am so busy, that I have very little
time to spend on SW.  So I sit in the background "listening" to all your
conversations.  If there are any interesting comments, I save these or send
them to other people interested in this topic.

Terry was born deaf, because her mum had rubella (Geman Measles) while being
6 months pregnant.  She could hear some, and was brought up oral. She was
born in whyalla, a small town in South Australia.  She learned some Sign
English from 3 Deaf students that were in a higher class then her.  This was
in the first year at school.  The next year she went to the 'hearing ' class
and did have very little contact with Deaf people. 

When we met, we communicated through lipreading and speech. She speaks quite
wel, but her general knowledge was quite poor.  For instance she didn't know
what moss is, or who Margaret Thatcher is.

When we were courting, I started to do some basic courses in Auslan (3 x 6
weeks).  When we got married I felt that communication is the most important
part of any relationship, but even more so a marriage.  I felt that the
lipreading/ speaking we were doing was not enough. So quite reluctantly
Terry joined me in hte full time course in Auslan.  Within weeks, her whole
outlookon life changed!!!  

She met other Deaf, her general knowledge improved, her interests became
much broader.  She became very "Deaf proud"!!  (It helps that I am a walking
encyclopedia :-))  I was able to explain things to her. from natural things
(storm, weather, moss) mechanical (I tought her to drive, including things
like checks and change a tyre), spiritual ( I could explain concepts from
the bible i.e. revelation), etc etc etc.

Today, she is a Tutor of Auslan (teaches Auslan to hearing people) and is a
Deaf supportworker.  (Helps Deaf with  disabilities.) Oh yes, she also has a
full time job as a cleaner!!

What more proof you want of the benefit of knowing your native language!!  A
language that you can always understand!

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