Friday, August 20, 2010

A long way to go

A few days ago, I was at a good friend's house with a group of girls. I'm close with some of them, but there were a couple who I was friends with when I was younger but haven't talked to very much in recent years. I was discussing how I was taking my driver's test the following day (which I passed, by the way! Yeah!) and how my parents were being even more paranoid than normal, since my sister had been hit by a car the week prior. I was describing how the girl driving hit her, and the mom came out and said it was their fault, but they did not get police involved since it was a minor accident in the parking lot. I mentioned how my sister decided not to ask for money for her car damage, since she didn't feel the scratch was very noticeable, and the girl driving the car also had special needs. A few days later, the mother called saying it was my sister's fault and asked for a very large sum of money for their car repairs. As I was relaying this story,
friend-who's-grown-apart (FWGA) chimed in:

FWGA: She had "special needs"? I didn't know 'they' could drive.
Close friend: I'm pretty sure that's discrimination if you say someone can't drive because of that.
FWGA: No! Because blind people aren't allowed to drive. Neither can deaf I'm pretty sure they don't let 'them' drive.

Oy...While we've come a long way, we still have a long way to go! (And yes, I set her straight! It's just concerning that this conversation occurred right after I said I was taking my driving test.)


  1. If that girl with special needs passed her driving test, then she is very capable of driving and being careful on the road. Most DMV do not have hearing screening as part of their driving test so they don't know who is deaf and who isn't (on the other hand, semi drivers sometimes require to take a hearing test). But they do have vision screening.

    There is a license plate that notify the police that you are deaf so they be aware that you can't always hear the siren. You should use it.

  2. I am not sure if you misunderstood my post. I am well aware that people with disabilities are capable of driving, so long as they pass their driving test. The girl I was talking with seemed to think anyone with any sort of disability is not allowed to drive, but I told her otherwise.

    Would people who aren't police be able to identify the license plate as one for the deaf? How is it different from a typical license plate?

  3. I didn't misunderstand, I was confirming :)

    In my state, yes, but most people don't know what it means. It is abbreviated.

  4. Oops, I'm sorry! I guess I was the one who misunderstood :P

    How do you go about getting the license plate? Is it through the DMV/DPS?

  5. you ask about it at your local DMV. it is up to you if you are concern about getting in trouble for not pulling over for polices and ambulances. Some deaf people don't use it because they are pretty good at checking their mirrors.

  6. I want to hear what you said to "set her straight" lol...
    People forget who they're talking to at times...or wait, did the girl not know you had hearing loss? (or forgot, seeing as you haven't talked to her in a while)
    And driving is really a lot more looking than listening...the only thing that you would have to hear would be the sirens, like people mentioned.

  7. First, congrats on the driving test! Second, it's interesting that FWGA's comment shows that she apparently doesn't think of you as deaf. Do you often encounter that reaction? Are people confused as to how to label you -- technically deaf, but functionally hearing? Because like it or not, that's kind've a human instinct, to try to label people as quickly and conveniently as possible. People tend to forget that my son is deaf, and about 92% of the time it doesn't matter because his deafness isn't relevant. But the other 8%, I find myself gently reminding them. And they're always embarrassed, as if it's a major faux pas or a delicate subject. Odd.

  8. SLTA- We were buddies for years in elementary school (Brownie/girl scout days), so she always knew I had hearing loss. I agree with you on the looking more than listening part. Although, somebody honked at me for the first time recently (I was apparently waiting too long to cross at an intersection) and it made me feel jumpy/shaken up the rest of the drive.

    Julia-Thank you! :) You know, I really don't get that reaction very often. Last year, there were 2 other girls with CI's in my grade (one of them changed schools, so now there's just one) so it just seems like most students have some degree of knowledge about hearing loss and aren't afraid to use the word "deaf". There are always those ignorant people, and, to be completely honest, I sometimes avoid using the word deaf (especially with people I don't know as well) since all the sudden they will either
    A)Be too nervous to talk to me and avoid me at all costs
    B)Start talking really slowly/loudly.
    I do think a lot of people tend to just forget, though. It's not like it's something that is constantly on everyone's minds while trying to speak with me (or at least I hope it's not). My friends *always* seem to be making the comment "Sorry, I'm like deaf or something," causing me to roll my eyes and shake my head, typically getting a laughing response once people realize/remember that while my friend can hear just fine, I am completely deaf. I think people definitely try to off your attitude about it, but some there are certainly those people that get weirded out easily. And then there's the fact that you're Ben's mom, so people are probably afraid of offending you/saying the wrong thing.


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