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Paige Andrzej
Attends Mountain Vista High School
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Paige Andrzej

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Intercultural Communication Poster #2 A young man with a cochlear implant, Oliver, befriends his hearing coworker, Rose. A...
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Ariana Jouzdani's profile photoPaige Andrzej's profile photoAmy Kroll's profile photo
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When I'm just regular, everyday Amy I tend to sit back and be an observer. If I'm feeling out of my depth, it's even worse. It's very easy to be there but not be there. While this may work in hearing culture, it doesn't work in Deaf culture. It actually builds a divide that pushes others away.

Having the right attitude is valued in the Deaf community. Whatever you put in, the Deaf community will put in too. Deaf people are use to (and very willing to) code-switch for beginners. This is where the modify their communication to fit you. They won't do it forever. They expect you to learn as you go.

In 2004, I worked at a summer camp for Deaf middle and high schoolers. I was a camp cook. On night, while serving dinner, this teenage girl walks up to me and signs really fast. I had no clue and couldn't fake it because she wanted something but I didn't know what. I asked her to sign again but still nothing. I was standing there with a blank look on my face. She signs HEARING? I nod. Boy, did she ever code-shifted. It was every word in a slowly signed English sentence. I was crushed...this wasn't my first week on the job and I was studying to be an interpreter. Looking back, she got what she wanted and we did communicate. It's also my clearest memory of not understanding someone. It happens. It still happens. I just have more strategies now then I did then.

While it's uncomfortable - make yourself go, make yourself fake it, make yourself ask for clarification, make yourself be active, do it! The more you do, the faster you will learn it. 
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Paige Andrzej

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Intercultural Communication Poster #1 Hai Lin is a young Chinese woman who makes a living by leveling up and collecting gold...
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  • Mountain Vista High School
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