Read A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family by Lou Ann Walker Free Online
Book Title: A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family|
The author of the book: Lou Ann Walker
Edition: Harper Perennial
Date of issue: October 4th 2011
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 887 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
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I am not a CODA, but I am a sign language interpreter, so I understood much of what Lou Ann Walker was trying to express in her beautiful memoir A Loss for Words. I interpret for school-age children with varying degrees of hearing loss and the stories about Ms. Walker's parents growing up deaf in hearing families so closely mirror the experiences of the children with whom I work, it was astonishing to see that not much has changed since this book was first published (1986). Most of the deaf children I know have parents who cannot communicate fluently with them, much like the author's parents could not communicate fluently with their own hearing parents.
I loved reading about Ms. Walker's experiences interpreting. In the interpreting world CODAs have an almost mystical/legendary status; they are viewed as uber-fluent in the language, having grown up immersed in the culture. Some of her feelings I couldn't relate to fully, not having grown up in the same situation she did, but much of what she related I could empathize with completely. I have seen so many instances of misunderstanding and even ignorance and audism in my time as an interpreter and I've only been interpreting for four years.
One of the passages that really struck me was when Ms. Walker talks about deaf people seeing things as either "right/wrong, yes/no, good/bad," with no creativity or sense of a "gray area." I see this everyday in the students with whom I work. I work very hard to try to expose them to different ways of seeing things, to explain that there can be more than one answer sometimes. I agree with Ms. Walker that much of this sense of rigidness in thinking comes from the inability of the deaf children to communicate fluently with their parents. Their parents are only able to communicate simple yes or no answers, not to explain the complexities of life.
Thank you, Ms. Walker, for sharing this story of your family.
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