Parallels between autistic and deaf culture

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sidetrack
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09 Sep 2016, 6:43 pm

No need for the experts and theorists, scientists, hard and soft to be called in..we are all 'experts' of 'our own experiences'..

I am well aware of how autism affects everyone differently but with words like mirror neurons..occupational therapy..motor skills..body language swirling through my head, there is something which is on my mind:*non-verbal communication*.

It's probably one of the most frequent indications of 'being on the spectrum' wherever and in my opinion the/one reason why 'idiosyncrasies' emerge in autistics is b/c of how for every person there will different ways in which a person's mind 'adapts' and compensate for whatever 'quasi-neuropsychological' function mirror neurons apparently do.

For example I'm probably saying this b/c (i) my bilingualism (Spanish and English) give me a particular fixation on language and (ii) I'll admit to not having had too good a day and having pondered about how someone told me recently "..when do we stop to [hear or follow (?)] our own voice?"..

I find that non-verbal communication is significant b/c it's absence in persons 'on the spectrum' has wide ranging implications and a hypothetical quasi-neurological basis from what I understand. Life goes on with it too much;however from what I speculate in *deaf culture* it is vital, not the least b/c along with signing, facial expressions often accommodate expression in deaf culture.

This is something which autistic culture apparently lacks;...part of me wonders and would like to dare say that perhaps deaf culture is a 'polar opposite' to autistic culture in that respect..I don't mean to offend anyone, if it seems like I underscored and/or made their experience seem less valid.

In my opinion, it would be a very interesting intellectual exercise to do an extensive cross-analysis/research venture into exploring the parallels and dissimilarities of non-verbal communication in autistic and deaf culture. Alas, such things are outside of my control not the least b/c it's not like I have an advanced degree.

Been having a stressful first returning week to community college..first in what is the finishing year of ~+15 years of school.

I don't have to be uptight b/c of that. I will get better at it. No need to 'cave in' to memories of harassment past.



C2V
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10 Sep 2016, 12:35 am

I'm very interested in deaf culture, because I'm interested in sign language being partially nonverbal. I can speak, but it is very difficult and takes a concentrated, deliberate effort on my part. And often doesn't work very well.
Interestingly, I crudely signed for a week once because I couldn't speak due to laryngitis. And I actually found it easier to use facial expression when using sign than I do when speaking.
Possibly because signing is easier than speaking, so less of my brain was occupied with it and I had some space to dedicate to my facial expression? It's interesting. I'd definitely love to get into a formal course for sing, but they're not running at the moment.
Incidentally possibly because I have so much difficulty with speaking, I'm also interested in languages and would love to go polyglot. You're lucky being bilingual !


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sidetrack
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10 Sep 2016, 7:06 am

C2V wrote:
I'm very interested in deaf culture, because I'm interested in sign language being partially nonverbal. I can speak, but it is very difficult and takes a concentrated, deliberate effort on my part. And often doesn't work very well.
Interestingly, I crudely signed for a week once because I couldn't speak due to laryngitis. And I actually found it easier to use facial expression when using sign than I do when speaking.
Possibly because signing is easier than speaking, so less of my brain was occupied with it and I had some space to dedicate to my facial expression? It's interesting. I'd definitely love to get into a formal course for sing, but they're not running at the moment.
Incidentally possibly because I have so much difficulty with speaking, I'm also interested in languages and would love to go polyglot. You're lucky being bilingual !


Gratitude.



sidetrack
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10 Sep 2016, 7:37 am

Something,something..'mind's eye'..dfferences between an 'inner voice' and it's significance in autistic and deaf culture



Raleigh
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10 Sep 2016, 7:40 am

both Deaf and autistic are in their own world/own head much of the time.


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Raleigh
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10 Sep 2016, 7:47 am

Parallels have already been noted between Deaf and autistic behaviours.
I can't quote the study because I'm no longer working in the field, but many Deaf children behave in a similar way to autistic children.


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EzraS
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10 Sep 2016, 9:01 am

There have been several deaf and hearing impaired kids in the schools I have been in for autistic kids.
And signing going on with them and just nonverbal. I do a certain amount of signing myself.

Raleigh wrote:
both Deaf and autistic are in their own world/own head much of the time.


I have also been around deaf kids without autism and I agree.



kraftiekortie
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10 Sep 2016, 10:10 am

I tried to take American Sign Language in college....and I had to drop the course because I was failing it.

Im pretty poor in my nonverbal communication.



ConceptuallyCurious
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10 Sep 2016, 5:29 pm

Every so often a thread pops up comparing Deaf culture to "autistic culture".

I would argue that we don't have a culture. We don't have our own language, we don't have our own arts, etc.

I say this as someone who is hard of hearing/deaf, can sing and socialises with Deaf people.

I was however talking about how it could potentially be possible to hide milder autistic traits more easily in Deaf culture. In my opinion social rules are more codes in the Deaf community.

Though every so often a hearing person comes in and somehow breaks all the rules, so maybe not...

I do think that expressions are easier in British Sign Language. I am FAR more expressive in BSL than English.

I think it's because in BSL the non-manual features are matched to the signs - so rote learning them is considerably easier and it's a far more expressive language so it's actually good to be over-exaggerated rather than pinging on the other person's radar as odd.

Hearing people often struggle with non-manual features because their expressions are so much more subtle.

Also, Deaf people are much more direct. They say what they mean rather than beat around the bush. Someone I'd met twice before told me I was looking fatter than two weeks before - and that's pretty normal.

I think one of the things that makes Deaf and autistic children seem similar is a lack of ability or difficulty in communicating. Where Deaf children can sign and are with other signing people those difficulties tend to disappear. Whereas an autistic person's difficulties would persist.


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10 Sep 2016, 5:30 pm

Statistically speaking, BSL users with deafness and autism tend to be able to use non-manual features but still have other emotional identification difficulties which I found quite interesting and also quite true in my case.


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10 Sep 2016, 5:54 pm

Because I have a long long time deaf friend, I happen to be quite fluent at Sign Language.

Any way from my own experience, the big difference between Autistic and Deaf people is deaf people have no difficulty in reading emotions and feelings. I thought they read better than NTs. They're very good at reading non-verbal cues.


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Raleigh
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10 Sep 2016, 5:55 pm

I know I'm much more social, expressive and communicative when I'm signing with the Deaf people I know.
If I had to speak to a hearing person I would say very little, make no eye contact and maintain my general wooden expression.


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ASPartOfMe
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11 Sep 2016, 12:21 am

The deaf culture if not fully grown is in at least its teenage stage.

Autistic culture is at most in its toddler stage so it is often unreconizable because those looking for autistic culture are using "adult", NT, and dated pre internet guidelines.

The biggest difference is that many deaf people embrace parts or much of thiers. Autistics?. Most of us don't want it and thus have no interest in seeing it. Embryonic Autistic culture exits but it is is bieng killed by willfull neglect.


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EzraS
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11 Sep 2016, 1:18 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
I tried to take American Sign Language in college....and I had to drop the course because I was failing it.

Im pretty poor in my nonverbal communication.


I'm not very good at it either. My signing skills aren't much better than my verbal skills.



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11 Sep 2016, 3:08 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The deaf culture if not fully grown is in at least its teenage stage.

Autistic culture is at most in its toddler stage so it is often unreconizable because those looking for autistic culture are using "adult", NT, and dated pre internet guidelines.

The biggest difference is that many deaf people embrace parts or much of thiers. Autistics?. Most of us don't want it and thus have no interest in seeing it. Embryonic Autistic culture exits but it is is bieng killed by willfull neglect.


Perhaps an autistic culture will develop but I honestly doubt it. It's important to keep in mind that someone can have a disability or 'difference', if you're so inclined without having a culture. The vast majority of disabilities do not have cultures. They have interest groups. Deafhood is the exception.

The reason Deaf culture developed is because it is extremely difficult for prelingual Deaf to communicate with non-signers. So Deaf people tend to socialise together to the exclusion of hearing people.Through this Deaf culture naturally developed. I don't mean they chat on forums together or sent each other postcards. Indeed, in Britain Deaf people were surprised to realise that a distinct culture had developed after they realised that their language had developed distinct grammatical features and was no longer English.

I suspect most people who think that autistic people have a culture like the idea because it sits well with accepting neurodiversity. Based on their arguments, I truly believe they don't have a thorough understanding of what Deaf culture is and have probably never experienced it.

While we've still got autistic people that know none or only a handful of autistics in person, we're not going to get a culture. We may develop a culture if a great many autistic people start living in communities of other autistic people but I doubt it would become wide spread enough.


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11 Sep 2016, 5:15 pm

I don't know about deaf culture but I met an deaf boy last summer and it was pretty interesting experience.
He was about 10 years old and couldn't speak. He was making some barely understandable sounds but that's all. He was wearing some hearing aid but didn't like it so was often taking it off. I am not sure if he could understand much of what people say but sometimes he acted as if he understands something. It was hard to ask him any question or tell him to behave. He acted as if he doesn't understand "NO!" nor "STOP!" at times and I wonder if he wasn't hearing or wasn't listening. LOL
He had a cat with him and I love cats so I ended up spending a lot of time with him because we rented a room right next to his. And I ended up playing with him too, I even went shopping with him and his mom a few times.

Despite him not speaking and not understanding speech I was able to communicate with him to some degree. He was using pretty understandable pantomime. For example when he wanted to see something he was pointing at it, pointing at his eyes and putting his hands together in "I beg you" gesture. And I ended up communicating with him using pantomime too. I found it surprisingly refreshing to not be forced to speak and I even started using some pantomime when communicating with my parents afterwards.

He had a bad habit of coming up to random people and "talking to them" ("randomly" moving while making some "meaningless" loud sounds, embarrassing, he looked like someone crazy) and I discovered I can understand him better than the strangers he "asked". So I ended up translating and some people thought I am his sister and were surprised when I said I only know him since a few days.

The only problem were the loud sounds he was making. It was painful for my sensitive ears so I often had to cover them with hands whenever he made a particularly painful sound. And he was laughing at the gesture.

Overall it was fun. I could live having a brother like him. At least my sound sensitivity wasn't preventing me from "hearing" him (I can't hear what people say when there is a lot of background noise).