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Deaf Like Me Paperback – January 1, 1985
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About the Author
James P. Spradley was an anthropologist and writer.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Should be a must read for all. Being deaf does not mean you are dumb. Deaf and dumb do not fit together. And sign language is a beautiful language.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Outstanding read. I highly recommend this for every hearing parent of a Deaf child. You need this perspective as you evaluate your educational choices for your children. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Marshall Lawrence
Very interesting book. I would definitely recommend it, even if you are not going to school for Interpreting or learning how to sign.Published 17 months ago by Amanda Cato
I had to read this book for class. After reading Deaf Like Me I received a better understanding on what it was like for a deaf child growing up and what it is like to be a deaf... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bianca Hayes