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Deaf Like Me Paperback – January 1, 1985

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Gallaudet University Press; 1 edition (January 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930323114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930323110
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Written by the uncle and father of a little girl who happens to be deaf, this story sensitively weaves reality and learning in with a fairly simple account of coming to terms with deafness ......this new edition contains a special epilogue by Lynn Spradley, grown and in her twenties. This epilogue is excellent and adds a distinct new dimension to the entire book.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book warmly.
Edward Peters
Sign language is a natural language that helps Deaf people communicate with others, which is one of the most important things in a hearing world.
This book is required reading for my sign language class, and there was only one copy in the library.
Scotta Blanchat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Rivkah Maccaby on December 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tell-alls by parents of disabled kids is a genre now, but when Deaf Like Me first was published, it was an unusual book for the market. The story is of the Spradley family, and daughter Lynn, who is one of many children born Deaf in the US in the late sixties and early seventies, the result of an epidemic of Rubella (German Measles).
At the time Lynn's deafness was diagnosed, the common wisdom among hearing professionals was that children born deaf should not be exposed to any kind of sign language, and instead should receive intensive tutoring, even as infants, in speaking and speechreading. Although the tide would turn soon, the Spradleys had no way of anticipating that; they embarked on an odyssey of trying to teach Lynn to speak, and with a hearing aid, and by watching intently, to appear to listen as a hearing child.
After many years of pouring words into Lynn, with the promise from the experts that one day Lynn would finally pour the words back out, the Spradleys are frustrated with not being able to talk to their daughter. Lynn is several years old, and becoming a discipline problem.
Then one day, the Spradleys meet a five year old, signing Deaf child, a child who not only communicates with her parents, but makes jokes. The Spradleys are forced to reconsider years of expert advice balanced against one little girl who can talk to her parents, where their daughter cannot.
How the Spradleys learn to stand on their own, and disregard the experts, even in the face of some heavy censure, is the story of heroism. This is a book to own, because you will want to return to it again and again.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "hdp6e" on March 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Deaf Like Me is a story of 2 young parents struggling to raise their deaf daughter, Lynn, in a hearing world. Written by Thomas Spradley, Lynn's father, the book begins before Lynn was born with her mother's fear of rubella. The book takes you through the fear and waiting for the pregnancy and the eventual realization of Lynn's deafness. The story is written in a simple, straightforward manner, yet conveys the emotions of the new parents. The descriptions Thomas gives are often lacking in vibrancy and inventive vocabulary, but at the same time he conveys honest, true-to-life emotion.
The first 80% of the book is focused on the Spradley's attempts to raise Lynn to succeed in the hearing world. Thomas agonizingly describes the auditory training and constant schooling that he and his wife give Lynn, only to have her barely speaking 4 words at the age of 5. The constant movement of the family portrays varying experiences that Lynn and her parents go through as they try to teach her lip-reading and speech. It is not until the last 2 chapters that the Spradleys finally realize that communication with their daughter is more important than their dreams for her success as a `normal' hearing person and begin teaching her sign. These last two chapters show Lynn's character developing its own independent personality. Lynn also begins to explore a new deaf culture that neither her nor her parents have any experience.
My fault with the book as that I feel it ends just as the story becomes interesting. The eighteen chapters of oralism, which are shocking and disturbing, are painful lesson in futility. An impatient reader would most certainly give up on the book after the seemingly thousands of failed attempts at oralism. The dedicated reader however, is rewarded with touching moments of a family that finds its `normalcy' through the common language of sign.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Edward Peters on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Over 90% of deaf children in the US have hearing parents, and perhaps the first thing those parents learn is that the single word "deaf" is unable to convey the wide range of hearing losses lumped under the term "deaf", and with that, the consequently wide range of options that Deaf people have for dealing with life. Since each Deaf story is so uniquie, though, it is all the more wonderful that the Spradley family was able to tell the highly individualistic story of their deaf daughter Lynn (now a young adult) in such way that it holds the interest of, and teaches valuable lessons to, the families of other deaf chidlren, regardless of their particular situation. Curious how one family can learn things about itself while reading the story of another family, but that's what happened with us. This more "humane" book is also welcome break from the reams of more techical reading that most hearing parents must plow through as part of helping their deaf children. I recommend this book warmly.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By tokioka@hawaiian.net on November 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
As the mother of a hearing impaired child, I highly recommend this book. I read it shortly after our son's diagnosis (in April of 1996) at the age of one year. Although we were just beginning this remarkable journey of raising a child with a disability, I found great comfort in the struggles and triumphs of this loving family. It was easy to identify with their need to communicate with their child. And I agree completely with their choice to use a mode of commuication which is easiest for the child. Over the past 2 1/2 years, we have come to the conclusion that we must adapt our world to meet the needs of our child, rather than expecting him to adapt to ours without the necessary tools. I applaud this family for their courageous decision!
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