September is Deaf Awareness Month, a time to celebrate the rich cultural history of the deaf community and continue the work of advocating for the rights of deaf people everywhere.
Meet Brian Brothers, Aide/Attendant in Environmental Services.
Q: How long have you worked at Crouse Hospital?
A: 21 years
Q: What do you like about working here?
A: A to Z, I like it all.
Q: What challenges do you face as a deaf person working in a hospital?
A: Masks have made it harder to communicate because deaf people rely on reading lips and body language.
Q: Were you born deaf?
A: Yes, my mother had German measles when she was pregnant with me, causing me to be born deaf.
Q: What do you wish people knew or understood about being deaf?
A: Here, there are only a few people I am able to interact with. I would like to see Crouse improve on deaf inclusion.
Q: What do you like about being deaf?
A: I like that I am a sarcastic person and people joke with me. Sometimes I worry about my deaf humor coming off wrong to people who don’t understand the culture.
Q: How do you communicate with hearing people in public?
A: I write notes back and forth, sometimes I use my phone. It makes it easier instead of making people guess.
Q: Are people receptive to that?
A: Yes, once I tell people I am deaf they understand.
Q: How did you communicate before cell phones and video chat features?
A: In the old days they gave me a pager for work. For making phone calls, you had to go through an operator who read your typed message and relayed it to the person you were calling. (TTY- teletypewriter)
Q: Do you celebrate deaf awareness month?
A: I do. There is usually one day that is deaf awareness day, but I don’t know what day it is this year. (It was September 9).
We would like to thank Brian for sharing this insightful interview. The D&I Committee is committed to ongoing education and training about ways to ensure that we are enhancing accessibility for all.
Below is a list to answer one of the most popular deaf-related questions on the internet: where can I learn sign language?*
• Sign language is not universal. Why not? Because sign languages develop naturally in communities, the same way spoken languages do. Sign languages aren’t artificially created, nor are they gifts given to deaf people by hearing ones — they’re fully-realized, complex languages with their own grammars, syntaxes and vocabularies.
• In North America, the primary sign language used is American Sign Language (ASL).
• There is an International Sign language that was artificially created (by deaf people) to communicate worldwide, in situations like the United Nations—think Esperanto.
• According to the World Federation of the Deaf, more than 200 signed languages are used worldwide!
• Since signed languages are created by deaf people, they are not related to the spoken languages used in the same areas. For example, ASL and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, even though many people in America and the UK use the same spoken language, English.
• When learning sign language, you should always seek out a deaf teacher.
* According to the Communication Service for the Deaf
Crouse News is reported by members of our Communications Team.