I grew up with a great uncle who was deaf. His father didn’t allow him to learn to sign (“he’d look like a freak”), he wasn’t allow to get a job, get married, or drive a car. My uncle communicated through basic notes and some home signs/gestures. In spite of this, Uncle Harry tried to be independent. He’d ride his bike all over and he tried to teach us kids about the animals on the family farm.
His isolation and dependency on the family had a tremendous impact on me. Because of his life, I learned to sign, became an interpreter, and taught Deaf children. No Deaf person should be denied the opportunity to accomplish whatever they dream! The work we do here at Goshen College provides well trained interpreters who go out and bridge the communication gap between Deaf and hearing people.