Date Published: May 31, 2002
Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)
Leonard, A., Duren, D., & Reiman, J.

Today in America, 28 million people experience hearing loss. This article presents an approach and issues that should be considered when working with a discrete subset of this population -- individuals who identify as members of Deaf culture. The practitioner should remain aware, however, that the information presented may not be relevant to everyone with hearing loss. A mediator may need to work with someone with whom he or she will communicate solely through a sign language interpreter. Or, he or she may have a client who sounds like a typically hearing person, and even uses a cell phone. It is vital to remember that each of these clients navigates communication differently. When faced with a client who is deaf or hard of hearing, the mediator should try to ascertain the client’s linguistic and cultural particulars. He or she should work with the client to identify individual needs and related accommodations. There are a large number of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but are not participants in the Deaf culture. These individuals have unique needs in communication (many of which can be positively addressed through technological and acoustical accommodation) that are entirely different from those discussed in the article. An effective mediator will need to go to other sources to obtain the information he or she needs to work effectively with them.  In this highly-targeted article, the authors provide an outstanding overview of the principal perspectives and issues mediators must consider when working with individuals belonging to Deaf culture. (From Article)