Town for deaf to be designed round world of silence

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by iGav, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. iGav macrumors G3

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    #1
    I think this is a fascinating concept, especially from my viewpoint as a designer.

    Rinky dink link

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #2
    Fascinating concept and from an accessibility-design point of view, similar communities for the blind, physically disabled etc would probably create a raft of improvements for the wider world. With people increasingly shutting out the sounds of society with iPods, perhaps these visual cues will be become even more relevant!

    My problem with these 'gated' communities whether of deaf/blind/elderly etc is the lack of integration with the rest of the world. I laud their ideas of giving deaf chidren role models but I'm not sure it's necessarily the best thing unless they want those kids to grow up and remain in a bubble. Last year, I read an article in one of the broadsheets about a deaf couple who were refusing cochlear implants for their deaf child because they wanted her to be part of the deaf community rather than the hearing. It concerned me because I couldn't see why the child couldn't have the chance to be part of both and make her own decision later.
     
  3. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #3
    I look at this mostly with horror.
    It might be golden and self imposed, but it's still a cage.
    Sorry, but apartheid, in whichever flavor, doesn't cut it with me.
    I hope that they actually fold this and I certainly hope no other "groups" follow suit.
    It's terrible that our self-centered society doesn't appear to provide better answer to people's needs, but to build yourself a ghetto seems hardly a good one.
     
  4. apple2991 macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Let's be honest here, they're not just black or asian. These are people who require specific needs to survive, and being in this kind of community could enhance their entire way of life. Why deprive them the opportunity to live a life that feels close to normal, where they can try to overcome--even if just sporadically--the incredible burden their handicap is on everything they do, every minute of their lives?

    I'm not arguing that we should separate groups like this just because, but these families WANT to do it. I honestly can't see why this should be looked down upon, especially since these deaf people are making their own choice to participate.

    How wonderfully arbitrary of you. Ever heard of the Quakers? Amish? Pilgrims? When you choose, it's not apartheid, at least not the connotative meaning the word has adopted. But nice spin, O'Reilly.
     
  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    The thing is that Deaf people often don't see themselves as handicapped in any way. They treat not being able to hear like speaking Spanish or French. I can see some big advantages for them. I'm sure that dealing with hearing people is a pain in the ass. If I were one of them I don't think I'ld want to deal with us either.
     
  6. aloofman macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Will they have jobs in this village? It seems to me that making a living among the hearing would be easier than living in isolation.
     
  7. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #7
    Yeah I heard of this last year. It's interesting to finally see it actually happening. There's an interesting article in the NYT about this as well. We're not all that different from other minorities when you think about it. We are different from the blind and the handicapped because of the way we view ourselves and the way our culture formed. We have our own university, we have our heroes - people who first educated the deaf in America, and the ones who brought the beginnings of the ASL language to America. Laurent Clerc and Thomas H. Gallaudet were honored by us like Americans honor Washington and Lincoln.
     
  8. Applespider macrumors G4

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    #8
    I can see advantages for those specific families in that community in the short term at least. I'm sure that it is a pain for them to deal with hearing people at times. But isolating the deaf community is not going to help the hearing community learn to be more considerate or how to work with the deaf more effectively which means the deaf who don't want to be isolated or can't afford to be, suffer.

    Part of the reason that hearing people are rude or unhelpful is that they don't understand the best way to help, or not where appropriate. I have a home for the visually impaired near me and regularly see people with white sticks or guide dogs out. It astonishes me how many people either ignore them at bus-stops when they're trying to find out which number it is or alternatively, try to bundle them aboard the first one that comes regardless. Or grab their arm rather than allowing them to hold yours.

    Accessibility is a huge issue (and I'm able bodied thankfully) that we've been slow to tackle - and people don't realise how much until they've either experienced it themselves or watched others be inconvenienced. I was reminded of this recently listening to two Tube passengers bemoaning the dust and inconvenience when a platform cross over was closed to install a lilfe. They couldn't understand why they were changing all the buses/Tubes to be more accessible since they'd never get used since when was the last time anyone saw a wheelchair on the Tube. The fact that there's still only about 3 stations with wheelchair access not to mention the 'mind the gap' didn't seem to cross their minds.
     
  9. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #9
    How is this any different from an over-55 community? Are they isolated? Or are they just living away from the annoyances of youth?

    Sheesh, it's not like this place is Dachau. No one's being forced to live there.
     
  10. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #10
    “just” black or asian? What’s that supposed to mean? Care to elaborate?

    Yes they require specific needs, and they should be provided to them in their communities. If it was an “area” within a “regular” city would be to some extent different, but the idea of a “closed” community for the deaf –or for any other “special” group- might be a cute idea from a design perspective, but it appears (to me) so wrong at so many levels, that I don’t even know where to start.
    People can be deaf to different degrees, and because of different causes, some genetic, some accidental, some treatable, some not. Who could/should go there? What about mixed families? What about newborns? Should they be given an exam each year to decided whether tey can stay or not? Babies learn to speak through hearing. How living in a silent environment where nobody speaks would help their development? How would encouraging interacting exclusively “with their own” help in the long run? Increase their chance of a productive integration with the “outside” society? Or should they be expected to live within thee community boundaries for the rest of their life (and so should their children and grandchildren?)
    If all different whould “chose” to live in such enclaves, would that not disincentivate the “regular” society to proceed towards integration? What about the “disadvantaged” that couldn’t or wouldn’t move there. Wouldn’t they be in an even worse situation?
    Sorry, but I fail to understand the advantages of living in a ghetto, especially in the long term.

    And how exactly amish kids chose to be born in those communities and to be brainwashed into living three centuries ago according to rule that were questionable even then?
    I’m repeating myself here, but integration and acceptance of what’s different should be the goals of our society, not reinforcing shunning and isolation.

    I assume this is you signature. I didn’t know you visited our forums.
    Welcome, maybe you can loose them blinders.
     
  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #11
    Quick response to some questions raised in this thread

    I'm not an expert on Laurent (The town mentioned in the article) however I can answer some of your questions.

    1. This is NOT a 'town of Deaf people'. It is a town where everyone signs. That includes hearing people as well as Deaf people. A large proportion of the population will be hearing, who also sign well.

    2. As far as I know, being able to sign is the only precondition of buying land there. Nothing to do with if you are d/Deaf or hearing.

    2.5 Lack of jobs? Sure. Guess in Laurent, all these corner cafes and petrol stations and net terminals and shops and homebusineses and schools and churches and Government offices will just sit empty like in any other small town with an able working population. Or maybe not.

    3. Lack of integration? Sure, Bush is a shining example of integration with the rest of the world, but cheap jibes aside, this town will have an astonishing array of cultures and values, as Deaf people (and their hearing friends and hearing partners and hearing family and hearing children all of who also sign) move in from all around the world.

    I expect it to be a rich, vivid multicultural place. Sign Language arts has really taken off lately, with Sign Language poetry, theatre, and performing arts all wining mainstream recognition and awards.

    3.5 How do the hearing children learn to speak English in Laurent? From the other hearing children and hearing adults there, all of whom are also ASL signers as well as english speakers. (tho using both languages at the same time is often frowned on as you end up with something resembling Franglais)

    4. It's not a gated community or a ghetto. Anyone can move in if they learn some ASL (American Sign Language.) I would remark that most nationalities have much more ghetto-like policies (e.g. refusing visas or taking passports away from people with criminal records.)

    5. Don't I recall something in my history lessons about a group of people buggering off to the Americas in a ship cos they wanted to set up a community with their own rules?

    6. Cochlear implants - I'm Deaf and I have a Deaf child. I have refused cochlear implants for her.

    I love technology, I have at times owned more computers than I could count, but it was my choice to get these machines (then my girlfriend nagged me till I threw them out again :)

    A cochlear implant is a dangerous and destructive operation which may or may not do anything for a condition which is neither dangerous or destructive.

    As opposed to the medical propaganda, I took the time to interview scores of Deaf people who have had implants, many of whom told me they wish they had never been operated upon. I also found many Deaf people had died as a consequence of the operation. I had one leading medical consultant tell me 'Oh, better dead than Deaf' when I tried to raise this point with him.

    I do accept that it helps SOME issues of deafness but not all, as is often claimed in the media (Most reputatable doctors will also give you a reasonably fair assessment of the risks, but often misrepresent the Deaf viewpoints, which are frequently alien concepts to medical people)

    When my child is old enough to make an informed choice, I will support her choice, whatever it is.

    Meanwhile she will grow up with full native linguistic skills in both BSL (British Sign Language) and English, and the world will be hers.

    Cheers

    Tomato
     
  12. PixelFactory macrumors regular

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    #12
    Reminds me of H.G. Wells' Country of the Blind. A great short story in which a mountain climber fall into a cut off utopian society of blind people. His sight is considered a handicap instead of an advantage.
     
  13. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #13
    I would worry about people sticking needles in my brain as well.

    Yow... I would be tempted to respond with some unprintable words or perhaps universally recognized signs.

    Sounds like the position of a good father.
     
  14. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

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    #14
    so are you saying there are different sign "languages" other than sign "slang" and proper sign? what a strange and bewildering concept, depending on how you move your hands it's translated as either british or english? and isn't british actually english anyways?

    i find it interesting that these people find seclusion to be the answer. i suppose it's easier to hide from reality than to face it. :rolleyes:

    whoever raised the question about the difference between this and a retirement community, I don't think I've ever met a child in a retirement community who has been sheltered completely from the outside world.

    Let's just hope your children's outside contact is from more than just the television.
     
  15. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #15
    Briefly - just about every country has their own native sign language, in the same way as you get English, French, Finnish, etc, you also get ASL (American Sign Language), LSF (Lingues Signes Francais), Auslan (Australian Sign Language.

    These languages differ in pretty much the same way that spoken languages do. (glossing over a huge amount of fascinating linguistic debate here)

    By historical oddity, ASL is a very different language from BSL (British Sign Language) and actually has roots from LSF because a major Deaf community activist in 1800's USA was from France, and introduced the old French Sign language there, which then spread and evolved into modern ASL.

    When I go to international Deaf conferences, you get multilingual Deaf people working as interpreters to interpret from one sign language into another.

    It's considered good form to learn as much of the host country's sign language as you can while you are there.

    The well travelled Deaf person ( and because the Deaf community is dispersed more widely, Deaf people travel more than hearing people do) is expected to know 5 or more sign languages; some of my Deaf friends are fluent in approaching 10 languages - I'm nowhere near that competent yet but I'm working on it :)

    RedTomato
     
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #16
    That would be me. Ok then, would you deny an immigrant the opportunity to live in a (pick ethnicity)-town? Are the residents of Chinatown depriving their kids? Or are they getting more benefits than they are losing?

    Are fraternities depriving their members of anything because they choose to live in a frat house on frat row? I always hear people saying how positive it is to live in a frat house. Or are they hiding from reality?

    Ever been to a Kibbutz or a commune? A monastary? College dorms? All examples of voluntary seclusion. Some have more contact with the outside world than others, but is that for you to decide? Where do you get off telling others how to raise their kids?

    Hell, I live on a ranch far from civilization these days. Am I 'hiding from reality' by secluding myself?

    Let's hope your contact is as well. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #17
    I think this is a great idea and worthy of a road trip when its done. I'd love to see it and experience how well it works, although I don't know any sign language.

    D
     
  18. Ugg macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Being on the edge of deafness, but not knowing sign and rarely ever interacting with anyone profoundly deaf, I can only add my 2p by saying it's great that there is a community being built to serve those who sign but gated communities aren't healthy in the long run. I think a neighborhood or mall or some such would be a much better idea. Its success will be reflected in its longevity.

    As regards coclear implants, for those who think that not having them implanted in children is akin to child abuse. Think again. The technology is about at the level of those old fashioned earhorns. It may help but it might not and the possibility of permanent damage is quite large.

    The inbreeding remark was so tasteless that I almost hate to respond to it. Why should fat people breeed? We know that obesity is becoming the #1 health problem in this country. Alcoholics, lefthanders.... Should they not be allowed to marry and have kids with whom they please?

    There was a huge uproar in the deaf world when it became apparent that deafness could be eliminated around the world through genetic manipulation. Why should it be?
     
  19. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    #19
    Which happens to be who the town is named after - Laurent Clerc.

    So yeah, ASL is actually a descendant to French, and thus it's grammatical structure is similar to French - and it's cousin Spanish - and very different from English.

    (Those who sign in English grammatical structure is using PSE, which basically uses ASL signs in English word order. PSE is not a independent language, it's simply manual English - similar to how written English is not a independent language, but a part of the English language as a whole).
     
  20. apple2991 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I did in the next sentence. I mean these aren't just people who happen to have various skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, or even religious beliefs. The only differences between them and the societal majority isn't just an arbitrary thing like skin color--it is a serious medical condition.

    While the only real difference between black people and white people is societal, cultural, or imagined, the difference between the deaf and the non-deaf is tangible and real.

    Let's be honest, it's not as if it's a town where a silence ban is put over all and everything. It's simply a town that has requirements that are inclined to helping people with a handicap. If you can hear and speak ably, you are allowed to do so. You are simply also required to be able to communicate ably with deaf members of the town.

    How do children with deaf parents normally learn or have any relationship with their parents, then? An exam to see if they can stay? It's not about keeping out people who aren't deaf, just keeping the town inclined to have accessibility to those deaf and hard of hearing. If I want to live there, I can, as long as I understand certain things--like that I must know how to sign, etc.

    How much can society realistically really integrate with deaf people, blind people, or any other acute minority with a physical disability? We're not talking about letting different ethnicities drink from the same water fountain or even granting homosexuals legally sanctified marriages. This isn't a cultural or mental integration--the only way to integrate the blind or deaf is with cold, hard action that society as a majority cannot and will not recognize, simply because it is inefficient (as in having all of the clerks at a grocery store proficient in sign language) or simply impractical for the country as a whole.

    I'm sorry, when did we move to Salem? The kids don't have a choice, but unless you want to lower the age of legal adulthood to 4 years old, there is nothing we can do about it--they're kids. You may not like the fact that parents are allowed to raise their kids as Amish, or Scientologist, or to be racist and closed-minded. But you don't get to make that choice for them. Just like every other person in America, as soon as a person in an Amish or deaf-inclined city turns 18, they are free to decide whether they want to continue that life, or pursue their own personal choices. They are no longer under their parent's wing. People have to be allowed to make their own choices. If your parents sucked while you were growing up, dang, I feel bad for you, but that's kind of just the way it is.

    And to be against it for others just because we don't like it goes against everything it means to be an American, anyway.
     
  21. crenz macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    It is easy to forget that it is not always the "others" that do the brainwashing -- we do it ourselves. Examples for not so obvious brainwashing:

    • Make your kids think they're not worth anything unless they have excellent grades
    • Teach them to work their butts off because that's what life is about
    • Teach them to be lazy since they can just live off social insurance (**might not be applicable for your country)
    • Make them feel that sex is something so ugly that they will avoid it for the rest of their life
    • Teach them that sex is the key to fulfilment in life, and that they have the right to have it with anyone they want at any time they want in any way the want.

    There's lots of brainwashing going on in our society, it just depends on your viewpoint. :)
     
  22. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #22
    Thanks for the insights (this and previous post). I wasn’t aware that there was such a sign “babel” to the point that you need a sign translator (I guess I envisioned them more like “sign dialects”, built around a common structure). How “connected” are national sign languages to their spoken counterpart? Is there inter-dependance or is it just tradition? Is/was there a movement towards an international standardization? How easy would that be and would you, as a signer, support it (as opposed of wanting to maintain a language identity)? Sorry for the barrage of questions.
    I always thougth that sign language could be a great “neutral” way to bridge the communication barrier, if it was taught in (mainstream) school, kind of like esperanto tried to do in the past, but maybe it wouldn’t be that easy.
     
  23. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #23
    Apple2991, I realize that the ideals behind Laurent are noble and perhaps justified, and I think some of the concepts behind it (like discarding the sub-urban sprawl set-up in favour of a traditional “european-style” walking town) are great and should maybe extended to any town, deaf-inclined or not. Other thing are more dodgy, for example the requirement for people to speak ASL. If that is indeed the case, and if the town was to become incorporated, it could be, I think, unconstitutional. However, even if it might not be the declared scope to begin with, I think that it would easily transform itself into a close community, especially from what I gathered from the original article, and I can’t help thinking that a closed community of people who share a disability would be a step backwards in the integration process, and would reinforce the concept to “the others” and to themselves that they are so different that they need a town of their own.
    This to me is an horrific thought.

    If the non-hearing community of Laurent would amount to “only” a significant minority (let’s say 10%), than I would agree that this might work, as it would be, in effect, "just" a “signing-friendly" town. But if the goals are for a required all-signing and mostly deaf community, than the possibilities of this being or becoming a gilded cage would become very high, in my opinion. I think that for this kind of approach to be successful, it needs to be intewined with a "regular" community. For example, for over a century (long before it became a jet-set destination) Martha’s Vineyard was unique in the sense that it had (for genetic reasons) a high number of deaf people and that EVERYONE was a signer. Kids, shop-keepers, fishermen, housewifes, everyone. As a consequence social barriers for the deaf were almost non-existant and they had an easier life, better jobs and so on. It just worked. However, although there were many-fold more deaf than in the rest of the country they still were just about 1-4%, depending on the village (IIRC). Enough to “drive” a complete social integration, but not enough to be a secluded community with some of the (hypothetical but realistic) drawbacks mentioned in previous posts, without any sort of requirement.


    Clearly, parents are the ones entitled to make choices for their children when they are young, but it’s not true that everyone has access to the same choices when they turn 18, independently on how they are raised. That will vary greatly, and especially in close and cult-like communities the information available about the outside is limited and distorted and the pressure to remain within the fold huge, to the point that it borderlines abuse (and in no way I am referring to Laurent here).

    I wish that was still true. It seems to apply less and less every month. Hopefully that will change in 2008. ;)

    I guess that to an extent any kind of education is a sort of brainwashing, but there is a difference between brainwashing your children that they should listen to other people’s opinions and brainwashing them that anyone who won’t keep dancing according to your own interpretation of your instruction book is a bad person and will pay dearly for that.

    I think you misinterpreted my comment, or I wasn’t clear. I certainly wouldn’t dream of suggesting that they shouldn’t be allowed to have families with whomever they want. Quite the opposite, I think (and I meant) that they should be put in the position of carrying a normal life and shouldn’t be forced, encouraged, or even simply led by the inaction of “the others” to seclude themselves in closed communities that would only lead to further isolation. I am sorry if I wasn’t clear enough and I apologize if anyone was offended. I edited my previous post to avoid further misunderstandings.
     
  24. apple2991 macrumors 6502

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    #24
    You said it exactly.
     
  25. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #25
    Most people new to Sign language start off asking questions like that :) In response:

    I wasn’t aware that there was such a spoken-language “babel” to the point that you need a speech translator (I guess I envisioned them more like “speech dialects”, built around a common structure). How “connected” are national spoken languages to their signed counterpart?

    Is there inter-dependance or is it just tradition? Is there a popular movement towards an international standardization of spoken languages? Would your government be able to enforce it? How easy would that be and would you, as a spoken-lanuage user, support it (as opposed to wanting to maintain a language identity)?

    Sorry for the barrage of questions.

    I always thougth that spoken-language could be a great “neutral” way to bridge the communication barrier, if it was taught in (mainstream) school, kind of like international-sign tries to do, but maybe it wouldn’t be that easy.
     

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