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Spring Gillard
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DeaFine Dining

DEAFINED+MURAL+FINALOne summer, while hanging out at the lake in between competitive swimming training sessions, I befriended a deaf man named Doug. He taught me to sign the alphabet. To this day, I can mostly remember how to spell, and have always been quite proud of how fast I can sign “hi.” I remember Doug fondly and wonder what ever became of him. But what I only recently learned—thanks to a student I work with, I’ll call him Dan—is that spelling out words is not exactly cool when conversing with a deaf person. Imagine if someone were to spell out each word to you instead of saying them. Dan gave us a workshop on American Sign Language (ASL) recently—one of more than 200 sign languages around the world. For many deaf people, sign is their first language, not English. So even writing notes to them in English when trying to communicate can be difficult and frustrating for them. Another thing I’ve learned is the politically correct terminology when speaking about the deaf and hard of hearing. If you are referring to a person who is deaf (functionally), then you spell the word with a small “d.” If you are referring to a person who is Deaf but also part of the Deaf community, then use a cap.  When you speak of the d/Deaf community, it’s correct to use both normal and cap as shown. I am looking forward to checking out the new restaurant that just opened in my neighbourhood, called DeaFined. The restaurant employs the d/Deaf and hard of hearing and customers must sign their order. I can’t wait to start learning this new language.

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