6 Important Things That You Might Not Know About ASL And Deaf Culture

6 Important Things That You Might Not Know About ASL And Deaf Culture

Look past all the things you think you know, and learn what Deaf culture really means.
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I grew up adoring my aunt, who stayed with my family many weekends, and eventually moved in with us a few years ago. She's deaf, but also cognitively delayed, meaning she'll permanently function at the level of an elementary or middle-schooler. Because of her cognitive delays, my aunt didn't have the typical "deaf upbringing" she might have had. She's never really been a part of Deaf culture. Of course, she has some things in common with other deaf adults - she prefers physical affection, loves seeing friends and hates saying goodbye to them and chooses movies with physical action or humor.

But as someone who interacted on a daily basis with a deaf woman and spoke conversational sign language, I knew very little about Deaf culture when I went to college. Last year, I took a Deaf culture class that taught me so much about the lives of deaf Americans, signed languages, customs and cultural expectations. I realized then how much most hearing people don't know or incorrectly assume about deaf people.

1. There are only two countries that use predominantly ASL.


The United States and Canada are the only two countries who primarily use American Sign Language. French Sign Language was the basis for ASL and the two still share plenty of similarities, though they also differ in plenty of ways. However, according to The Ethnologue, there are around 130 recognized Deaf sign languages in the world, though there are also other undocumented sign languages out there too. Long story short, deaf people can't just go to any country and automatically communicate with other deaf people. Sign languages aren't universal. There is an International Sign Language, but it's not widely used outside of worldwide meetings, such as the World Federation of the Deaf Conference.


2. Deaf people are typically better drivers.

Plenty of people assume that those who can't hear also can't drive. The opposite is true. Statistics have proven that most deaf drivers are equal to or better than hearing drivers. This could potentially be because noise distractions don't exist for them or because they rely so much more on visual signals, which is what driving is primarily based on. While deaf drivers are proven to be perfectly competent, there are a number of other countries around the world that don't allow their deaf citizens to drive.


3. Deaf culture has its own films, "music," dance, poetry, literature and folklore.

Like any country, community or cultural group, Deaf culture has its own forms of art and entertainment. For example, deaf poetry is a 3-D art form (performed both in video and at live events), using hand shapes, hand locations, body movements and facial expressions to tell a poetic story. There are also a multitude of books written by deaf adults, films with entirely deaf actors and videos that blend sign language with things like music or dance.


4. "CODAs" are a go-between for two separate cultures.

CODA is an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults, meaning a hearing child born to one or more deaf parents. It's actually quite common for deaf people to give birth to hearing children, as deafness is not typically genetic. CODAs have the opportunity to live between Deaf culture and hearing culture, which can be both a blessing and a curse. They usually have the benefit of being fully bilingual, but can also struggle with learning to verbalize words at a young age, and in many cases need speech therapy when entering school. They also often take on the role of their parent's interpreter from a young age, which can teach skills, but also can be too much responsibility and information for a child to be exposed to. There is a fascinating piece here, written by a CODA about some of his experiences.


5. Name signs are usually personal and treasured.

My own experience with name signs is different from the more typical Deaf culture name sign experience. My aunt, as a deaf adult who is also cognitively delayed, is unaware of the importance that other deaf people place on name signs, and has always taken a much more simple approach. She gives each person she meets a sign that is essentially the first letter of their name held against her cheek, shoulder or the top of her head.

However, more often in the Deaf Community, name signs are a gift. They are given to non-deaf friends or family only when the deaf person feels they've earned a name sign and their trust. Some other deaf people do use the person's initials, though often in other locations or combined with some other personal characteristic. Other people choose to create their own personalized name sign based on a physical feature, personality trait, habit or inside joke. The signs are particularly treasured and take time to be chosen.


6. Deaf people are generally proud to be deaf.

While much of "hearing America" looks at deaf people with pity and thinks of deafness as a disability and hardship, members of the Deaf Community don't see it that way at all. Many of them hope to have deaf children who will also become strong members of the Deaf Community. The culture is incredibly close-knit, encouraging and open by nature. Deaf people share much more with their friends and neighbors than someone hearing usually would.

But the most important thing to take away from all of this is that if deaf people don't think of themselves as disabled, hearing people shouldn't think of them that way either.

Cover Image Credit: Nancy Rourke

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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50 Instagram Captions For The New Year’s Resolution You’ll Drop By March

Anything is better than, "new year, new me".

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When the new year starts, we all start rolling out our New Year resolutions.

Some people say that in the new year, they'll start going to the gym, followed by them posting a selfie on Instagram with the caption, "New year, new me". If getting in your shape is your 2019 New Year's resolution (or if you have a different idea), here are 50 Instagram captions you can and should use.

1. "The best is yet to come."

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Simple, but effective.

2. "12 new chapters, 365 new chances."

Again, simple, but this one is pretty clever.

3. "365 new days, 365 more excuses"

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Or maybe this is more your style. The choice is yours.

4. "My New Year's resolution is to remember to write '2019' instead of '2018'.

I can't be the only one who does this until almost the middle of the year.

5. "Why overthink when you can overdrink?"

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What a way to bring in the new year, am I right?

6. "I would lose weight for my New Year's resolution, but I hate losing."

Don't we all?

7. "Let's start off the new year by being incredibly thankful that we aren't in Times Square right now..."

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While I've always wanted to go to Times Square to watch the ball drop on NYE, I can't imagine being in a crowd of that many people. I'll just watch it from the comfort of my own couch, thanks.

8. "Sometimes all we need is a fresh start... and lots and lots of (insert alcoholic drink here)."

You can say champagne, whiskey, tequila, whatever fits your lifestyle.

9. "It only happens once a year."

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Just like the diet you promised you'd keep for your New Year's resolution...

10. "There are far, far better things than anything we leave behind."

-C.S Lewis

11. "A little party never killed nobody."

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Nothin' wrong with a little Fergie to spice up your Instagram caption.

12. "My New Year's Resolution is to be more optimistic by keeping my cup half full... with (insert fave alcoholic drink).

Could be champagne, could be rum, but either way, there's a ton of optimism.

13. "Every day is one step closer to summer 2018."

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If you're one of those who count down every year until summer, this one is definitely for you.

14. "I don't call them New Year's Resolutions, I call them 'casual promises to myself that I'm under no obligation to fulfill'".

15. "A New Year's Resolution is one thing that goes in one year and out the other."

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Or it comes in one day and leaves the next. Same thing, ya know.

16. "A New Year's resolution is only a to-do list for the first week of January."

Kinda like a grocery list.

17. "Prepared to slay 2019."

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I mean, you could say "sleigh" if you wanna change it up a little.

18. "The calm before the storm."

This is the perfect caption to your pre-party selfie.

19. "Tonight we drink, tomorrow we moan in agony."

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Don't party too hard on NYE, kids.

20. "Save water, drink (alcoholic drink)."

And like the others, any alcoholic drink is acceptable.

21. "Hold on to the memories, they will hold onto you."

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-Taylor Swift

Because we all love a good Taylor Swift lyric, am I right?

22. "No champagne, no gain."

23. "Poor quality pic, high quality friends."

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Acceptable any day, not solely for NYE.

24. "Sips about to go down."

25. "Tonight, I'm making pour decisions."

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See the pun? It's punny.

26. "New year, same ole' me."

Because most of us don't drastically change when the clock strikes midnight.

27. "May all of your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions."

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This is appropriate because, ya know, most resolutions don't stick around.

28. "Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right."

29. "2018, you couldn't have set the bar any lower."

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30. "Don't look back. You're not going that way."

Go into the new year with a new attitude.

31. "Sometimes all we need is a fresh start."

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Which, a new year is pretty much a fresh start. Make it anything you want it to be.

32. "I'm wearing the hat. Where's the party?"

We all love a good Full House quote.

33. "All I see is magic."

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This is the perfect quote for a picture of that midnight kiss or a ball dropping.

34. "Page 1 of 365."

It works if you're starting your New Year's resolution on January 1st, otherwise, this one doesn't apply.

35. "What can you do today that you were not capable of 12 months ago?"

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Kinda inspiring, kinda a slap in the face. The choice is yours.

36. "My New Year's resolution is to follow through with my New Year's resolution."

37. "This year, I will be stronger, braver, kinder, and unstoppable."

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38. "My New Year's resolution is to stop lying about myself about making lifestyle changes."

Brutal, but true. Brutally honest, if you will.

39. "I no longer believe in New Year's Resolutions. I believe in day's resolutions."

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I guess that's one way to keep yourself accountable, right?

40. "Here's to another year and another chance to get it right."

You'll get there... even if it takes 2 or 3 or 10 years.

41. "New year, new feels, new chances, same dreams, fresh starts."

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Who doesn't love a good inspirational quote for an Instagram caption?

42. "You can always start again."

For when your resolutions fall apart by March.

43. "Let go of what's holding you back."

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You can keep your resolutions if you let go of what's holding you back. Talk about #inspirational, huh?

44. "And now we welcome the new year; full of things that have never been."

Time to do all of the things you've never imagined you could or would do.

45. "He who breaks a New Year's resolution is a weakling; he who makes one is a fool."

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-F.M Knowles

You don't want to be a fool, do you? That's how you can get out of having a New Year's resolution.

46. "Trust the magic of new beginnings."

Now THIS is a perfect caption for your first post of the new year.

47. "The new year is yours. What will you do with it?"

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This is also a great way to interact with your followers, ya know?

48. "New year, same me, because I'm already fabulous."

Similar to #26, but has a little extra pizazz to it.

49. "Make it pop like pink champagne."

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Aka make your New Year's resolutions pop like pink champagne.

50. "New year, same me, bigger goals."

EXCEPT, this year, you need to actually achieve these goals. You got this.

With all of that being said, I hope you've found a great Instagram caption to use for your upcoming post. Here's to 2019 and probably broken resolutions.


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