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Deaf Like Me

Thomas S. Spradley and James P. Spradley, in Deaf Like Me chronicle the experiences of a parents coming to grips with their daughter's deafness and learning much not only about that handicap but about human love. The Spradleys are brothers, Thomas is the father of Lynn, who was born deaf, and James is an anthropologist and uncle to Lynn. Louise, Lynn's mother, is an integral part of the book, and Lynn herself, at 19 years old in 1985, writes the book's Epilogue, making the work a truly family effort.

Perhaps one reason that the parents felt such pain at the discovery of their daughter's deafness was that the mother Louise felt partly responsible because she had German measles during her pregnancy. Before their daughter's deafness is confirmed, their greatest fear seems to be that she will appear to be different to others, to the world. She will not be able to communicate through speech, in other words. She will be marked as different, she will, suffer, and they will suffer. They are momentarily relieved when they hear her laugh (22), not only because she has a voice but because it means that she must also have her hearing.

The story goes on to become an awakening for the parents, and for the reader, with respect to deafness and deaf people. Lynn becomes a daughter who is proud of herself and her intelligence and accomplishments, and her parents learn to love her as she is---communicating with sign language rather than the vocal speech they try to impose on her. The parents---and the daughter herself, of course---endure the deafness itself, until they learn important lessons about what deafness is and is not and how deaf people should be treated. The book focuses most importantly on the issue of what is "normal. For sometime, the parents believe that if only their daughter can be taught to speak, she will be "normal" like other children. It is not a coincidence that the first words at the top of the cover of the book---above e...

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Deaf Like Me. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:23, February 18, 2019, from