Celebrating Deaf Awareness Month: 5 Common Questions

Answered By A Deaf Woman

It’s September which comes with mixed feelings. We’re sad to see the summer days drifting away, but excited that it’s the start of Deaf Awareness Month!


You might be thinking, wait what? I thought that was in April? Well, we can see how you might be a little confused. In April we celebrated Deaf History Month, whereas this month we are celebrating Deaf Awareness Month. What’s the difference you ask? Well let’s talk about it.


The goal of Deaf History Month is to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by deaf people. It is also an opportunity to gain an understanding of deaf history, check out this post to learn more. On the other hand, Deaf Awareness Month was established to spread awareness about deaf people in order to provide equal access in the workplace, schools, and community. This month is also a time set aside to educate others about deaf culture, advocating for those within the deaf community, as well as to educate others on how to effectively and appropriately interact with those who are deaf.


In honor of Deaf Awareness Month we are highlighting five common questions asked of deaf people. These questions will be answered by the most knowledgeable person of the three of us on this subject, Dacia!


Do you wish you could hear?

“Do I wish I was hearing? No. When others find out that I’m deaf. They respond with , “You poor thing! I’m so sorry.” I’m over here like…I’m just fine!


I was born deaf and am happy with who I am. I am satisfied. I enjoy my life! I’m happy! I have my family, a job, friends who I get together with, and I travel. Life is good!


Hearing people feel sorry for me…well I feel sorry for all of you! Want to know why? The noise, the chaos, the fighting…I don’t have to hear any of it!” 😄


Do you dream in ASL?

“Deaf people dream just like everyone else. Someone asked me, “Do you sign or talk using your voice?” I sign in my dreams. I’m just signing away!


People typically wonder how I interact with non-signers (hearing people) in my dreams. Typically, I don’t have any issues communicating since they sign too!


Occasionally, there will be times in my dreams where I’ll be frustrated while encountering a hearing person in my dream that doesn’t know how to communicate with me. However, for the most part, in my dreams communication is smooth between the hearing and deaf world. Everyone can sign and everybody comes together!


I’ve been asked, “Can you hear in your dreams?” No, in my dreams I’m deaf and the same goes for in real life!”


How do deaf people play sports?

“While growing up, I played basketball, ran track, and cheered. When it came to cheer, we had a large drum set up and a designated person to hit it on a specific count. We could all feel the vibrations coming from the drum and that kept our cheer squad in sync. It would require lots of practice to stay synchronized and through repetition we would all memorize the cheer moves based on that drum! 


At a school for the deaf, sports generally run smoothly for everyone involved. Why? The entire team is made up of deaf players, the coaches are deaf or are fluent in sign language. Everyone signs which makes communication SO easy!


For example, CSD (Calfornia School for the Deaf – Riverside) had a football team that recently went undefeated and won the division championship game. The players were so talented! They were a team filled with only deaf players and they were successful!


Now when it comes to having a deaf player on a hearing sports team (like at school for example) they can be successful as well! As long as they have access to a sign language interpreter. Gesturing, facial cues agreed upon, plus finding other ways to communicate the plays to the deaf individual. It can work!”


Can deaf people drive?

“I’m deaf, have my license, and I can drive! I can drive anywhere: work, the store, travel. Hearing people tend to be concerned that a deaf person can drive due to the fact that they can’t hear their surroundings. Deaf people depend of their vision and constantly scan their rear view and side mirrors. We also use our peripheral vision.


I’ve been asked, “What about when emergency vehicles like fire and police have their sirens on?” I would naturally see the flashing lights in the mirrors and know there was an emergency, so I would pull over, just as hearing people would do.


Is there special test in order for deaf people to get a driver’s license? No. We take the written portion and the driving portion just like everyone else. Once we pass both tests, then we are legally licensed.”


Is there a sign for a person's name?

“Hearing people ask, “Does everyone with a specific name have the same name sign?” No. If a person’s name is Bob for example, would they automatically have this name sign? No.


Sign names are truly unique and are given by deaf people. These names are given in sign language are dependent on the individual’s personality, physical characteristics etc. It should really connect to their identity and what makes them who they really are.


For my family, I gave my three children their name signs. My oldest daughter (name sign), middle daughter (name sign), and my son (name sign).”

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