Deaf Community and Genetics

Anna Middleton, Steven Emery, Christina Palmer, Patrick Boudreault

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

The Deaf community consists of a group of like minded people sharing a common sign language and culture. This community has a positive attitude toward being deaf. Typically, deafness is considered a strong part of linguistic and cultural identity and Deaf individuals do not wish to have treatments or a cure. Deaf people have concerns that a hearing society, with little knowledge or experience of their rich culture and language, would encourage the use of pre‐implantation genetic diagnosis and prenatal genetic testing for deafness with the ultimate aim of having hearing children. They feel strongly that deafness is a source of human variation that does not warrant the use of genetic technology in this way. Deaf (written with an uppercase 'D') refers to people who belong to the Deaf community. Deaf people use sign language (e.g. British Sign Language, American Sign Language, Auslan, etc.) as their first or preferred language. They also have a positive identity attached to being Deaf. People who consider themselves deaf (written with a lowercase 'd') or hard of hearing tend to use speech as their preferred form of communication, and may experience being deaf as a medical disability that needs to be treated. These groups often have very differing attitudes towards the use of genetic technology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationeLS
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Ltd
ISBN (Electronic)9780470015902
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2013

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    Middleton, A., Emery, S., Palmer, C., & Boudreault, P. (2013). Deaf Community and Genetics. In eLS John Wiley and Sons Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470015902.a0005875.pub2