Hello, who am I? I’m Fiona, name sign. I want to talk about Deaf Culture. Ah yes Deaf Culture.
What is Deaf Culture? I learnt about it through Kelston School for the Deaf that time when I was there. I learnt sign language from other students there, we were all about 9, 10 years old. There was some sign language in the school, it was new to me, I was rusty to start with then got used to it.
My mother and father were terribly upset. They thought it was a terrible school so they pulled me out and moved me to St Dominics in Fielding (another school for deaf). All the students there were very oral, they spoke very carefully. I was 13, the other students were about 11/12 years old so I was older than the others there. I signed naturally and influenced the other students at St Dominics. I was horrified there, I was expecting to be naturally me, me with Deaf Culture in me. When I signed I was naturally showing Deaf culture. The nuns would be furious! They didn’t want sign language there!
I was taken from St Dominics in Fielding and taken to St Dominics school in Henderson, near Kelston School for the Deaf. It was a full hearing school, I was the very first Deaf person to be mainstreamed. There were no Deaf Units anywhere at the time, nothing. There was no Deaf culture in that full hearing environment. Communication, well, who could I communicate with? No one. I could hear nothing. I was lost. After two years at that boarding school (all three schools were boarding schools) I left school.
At the back of my head I was remembering the past, wondering where Deaf people are. I knew I still had Deaf Culture in me. I needed to try and connect with other Deaf people. I looked and looked then found the Deaf Club. That is the true home of Deaf Culture. Its natural.
My mother and father realised that they can’t stop me. Now my daughters grew up knowing Deaf culture, they know a lot about Deaf culture. Its wonderful.
I’ve learnt a lot about Deaf Culture, it is a very valuable part of who I am and my identity.
Thank you for watching. Bye!!