Monday, September 9, 2013

Equal Access

I recently finished a book called Amy Signs written by Rebecca Willman Gernon and her daughter Amy Willman. In the synopsis of the book Rebecca Willman Gernon states, “Thirty-seven years ago, I vowed to write a truthful book about raising a deaf child.” This book goes beyond the parental perspective in that the reader is also given Amy Willman’s perspective. Amy is now a grown woman with a Master’s degree who works as a university professor, but her journey to get there was not without its trials.
I am a hearing person. It seems weird to write those words because in my limited world I have never thought of myself in those terms. My interactions with those who are deaf have been limited. Yet, after a year of working to become a librarian, my understanding of what equal access is has forced me to think and consider those who live in a world that isn’t “made” for them. I am ashamed that I haven’t considered it before, but I am so grateful for opportunity to make a difference now. Because of my education I have become determined to learn about the populations that need equal access: the elderly, the blind, the deaf, refugees, etc.
Amy Signs is a fairly quick read but full of information and at times very emotional. In reading it, I was struck by the educational struggle for parents of deaf children. The options are limited and children can be so very cruel to those who are different. I was also educated about the difference between a deaf person and a Deaf person. Overall, it is worth a read, it educates, informs, and is entertaining.

A few other possible reads on this topic are:

   As an African American woman born in 1943, Maxine Childress Brown possessed a unique vantage point to witness the transformative events in her parents’ lives. Both came from the South -- her father, Herbert Childress, from Nashville, TN, and her mother, Thomasina Brown, from Concord, NC. The oldest of three daughters, Maxine was fascinated by her parents’ stories. She marveled at how they raised a well-respected, middle-class family in the midst of segregation with the added challenge of being deaf.
Deaf-Blind Reality: Living the Life explores what life is really like for persons with a combination of vision and hearing loss, and in a few cases, other disabilities as well. 

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