“Deaf culture is the set of social beliefs, behaviours, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are influenced by deafness and which use sign languages as the main means of communication.” Source
My experience of being Deaf was rather quite hard in the early stages.
I had to blend in in a mainstream primary school.
I did have a wonderful childhood, I loved joining in, playing games etc., but when I and the others my age started maturing it was more difficult for me.
I went to a secondary school with a Deaf unit built in but I felt too different. Social life revolved around talking rather than play. I began to struggle a lot with communication and I was failing in my work. The kids in the Deaf Unit didn’t really sign much because they weren’t proud of being Deaf and used speech to blend in with others.
I left after a year and went to a private school in England to begin my education at the end of year 8. The private school was for Deaf & Hard of Hearing pupils. It was an overwhelming experience for me, as I had never learnt how to sign or had the opportunity to understand the culture of Deaf lives.
I began to make friends with those from hearing families, as they were easier to talk to, but then I came across a girl who was willing to teach me how to sign. She practically changed my life and I was happy at that school for a long while.
Finishing school was a scary experience as I didn’t want to leave my little bubble and didn’t want to explore the real world. Coming back home and living with my parents was really difficult, as I didn’t have a close relationship with them.
They told me to go to this local Deaf club in Cardiff and I remember my first time going there, I felt really scared because I was worried they wouldn’t like me or understand what I said. They all know each other and grew up in local places, whereas I had been out of Wales for so long. I have to say, I am glad that I tried and I am in a different, good, place now.
It’s nice that now I know what I am doing in the future and how to achieve it.
Cardiff Deaf Cool Youth Club meets at 163 Newport Road, Roath Cardiff. Contact them on their Facebook page about their next get together.