Studies & Degrees in Deaf Studies
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Deaf Studies is a growing field of study brought about by the long history and culture of deafness. It is quite ironic that, although this major also deals with deaf psychology, courses offered to students who are interested in this field focus more on the language and communication of the deaf. The philosophy towards deafness and deaf people in the world have changed and evolved from a medical model to a cultural and linguistic framework. Deaf people are no longer considered as only hearing impaired or even handicapped; they are now views as Deaf or members of a cultural and linguistic minority. With this significant evolution of the deaf community, students taking this major will surely find themselves not only fulfilled, but also equipped with the right skills which they will need if they want to enter fields related to deafness.
Deaf Studies is the major perfect for students who are interesting in communicating with the Deaf—for personal reasons or otherwise. It is also the best major for students who want to learn the social, educational, historical, and cultural aspects of the deaf community. They will learn these subjects as well as psychology, literature, and sociology through classroom lectures and attendance in related seminars and conferences. Some universities also offer both practicum and internship opportunities for their students which will prepare them should they choose to enter the field of Deaf Education or other deaf-related fields such as counseling, psychology, speech therapy, audiology, nursing, business, and education.
Sign language is the most important knowledge students should learn upon taking this major. Studying sign language is the same as learning any other language; it will require students to learn its vocabulary, grammatical usage, and culturally acceptable behavior among Deaf people. Students will also learn the interculture communication among the Deaf, their culture which is holds them together rather than their disability, the minorities and the existent issues in the field, and the basic anatomy and physiology of hearing mechanisms. The latter is a very important course for students who are interested in hearing impairments because it will cover the causes and treatments for hearing loss. The course also includes knowing the different assistive technical devices, measurement of hearing, and the role of genetics to deafness. Other courses include sign language theatre, comparative linguistics, as well as composition, the dynamics of oppression among the deaf minorities, the oral traditions in the deaf community, and deaf women’s studies.
Students who successfully finished this two year (if full time) or three year (if part time) major will find that there are many opportunities waiting for them. Graduates can enter as legislative or judicial initiatives and directives to ensure that the Deaf people have full access to both public and private programs and services. They can also work in deaf-related fields by providing social, community, legal, and education services. Those with advanced training in sign language, they can find career opportunities as sign language interpreters, sign language instructors, government specialists, speech pathologists, counselors, audiologists, community service personnel, and program administrators.