Future Directions of the Deaflympics.On May 16, 2001, the International Olympic Committee “IOC” redirects here. For other uses, see IOC (disambiguation).
The International Olympic Committee (French: Comité International Olympique) is an organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas on June 23 met in Lausanne, Switzerland, and voted to approve a request from the Comite International des Sports des Sourds to change the name Deaf World Games
The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports that are not contested in the Olympic Games. to Deaflympics. Previously, the Deaf World Games were called the World Games for the Deaf. With the change to Deaflympics, the International Deaf sport community took a major step towards further recognition of its highest level of competition for deaf athletes. Preparing athletes to compete in these Games is a common goal shared by the 83 national Deaf sport organizations that are members of the Comite International des Sports des Sourds (CISS--International Committee of Sports for the Deaf--http://ciss.org/) which oversees the Games. This large number of nations appears to bode bode 1
v. bod·ed, bod·ing, bodes
1. To be an omen of: heavy seas that boded trouble for small craft.
2. well for the future of the Deaflympics, especially given the fact that many of these nations are new members of the CISS CISS Continuous-flow isotonic solution system Gynecology A system used in hysteroscopic procedures utilizing safer isotonic fluids, compared to present usage of hypotonic fluids, which if absorbed can cause serious complications, including death. See Hysteroscopy. , suggesting that Deaf(1) sport is enjoying an increase in its popularity.
Moreover, where once CISS member nations were concentrated in Europe, there is now a truly global mixture of nations, as witnessed by the following members--Mongolia Sports Federation of the Deaf Cyprus Deaf Athletic Organization, Swaziland Association of Sports of the Deaf, Organizacion Deportiva de Sordos del Uruguay, Estonia Deaf Sports Union, Bangladesh Deaf Sports Federation, Iceland Deaf Sports Organization, and Deaf Sports Philippines. While these numbers speak clearly to popularity of the world of Deaf sport at the international level, there is increasing evidence that Deaf sport at the grassroots level is not faring as well.
Before moving along, we need to say a word about our sources of information. Both authors have extensive involvement in the world of Deaf sport, which allows us to keep abreast Verb 1. keep abreast - keep informed; "He kept up on his country's foreign policies"
keep up, follow
trace, follow - follow, discover, or ascertain the course of development of something; "We must follow closely the economic development is Cuba" ; "trace the of trends and developments in the field. This contact is important, because the literature on Deaf sport is sparse. What is available in print is mostly found in newspapers and newsmagazines that cater mainly to the Deaf community, including the NAD NAD: see coenzyme. Broadcaster, Silent News, and DeafNation. Stories in these publications are almost solely devoted to reports of scores, championships, athletic accomplishments, and the like, with virtually no information about the behind the scenes struggles of Deaf sport athletic teams and organizations.
What we have learned from our contact with Deaf sport directors and coaches is that nearly all sports are having a difficult time recruiting new athletes. The problem appears to be lack of contact with deaf athletes at grassroot levels. This raises the question as to whether or not an event such as the Deaflympics can continue to prosper while there is a decline in its traditional means of finding and preparing deaf competitors. Although there is no clear answer to this question, there are several social changes occurring in society and within the Deaf community that directly impact motivations of deaf people This is an incomplete list of notable deaf people. Important historical figures in deaf history and culture
The idea that a person who was deaf could achieve a notable or distinguished status was not common until the latter half of the 18th century, when Abbé Charles-Michel de to undertake their own sport activities. These factors include the Deaf community's need to assert its sense of self-determination, roles of schools in the education of deaf children, and influence of medical advances on shaping the biodemographic make-up of the Deaf community. These factors and others are the focus of this article's look at the future direction of the Deaflympics.
The Deaflympics are a quadrennial quad·ren·ni·al
1. Happening once in four years.
2. Lasting for four years.
quad·renni·al n. event with summer and winter Games
Thus, since their inception, the Games became an ad hoc For this purpose. Meaning "to this" in Latin, it refers to dealing with special situations as they occur rather than functions that are repeated on a regular basis. See ad hoc query and ad hoc mode. forum for deaf people to discuss new ways to advance the lives of deaf people all over the world by the mere fact that competitions brought many deaf people together. Given the significance of the Games in promoting the general well-being of deaf people, the CISS has emphasized the necessity of encouraging countries to participate and openly awards the Games to different countries in an effort to help the host country present positive images of deaf people to its national population.
Efforts to expand the number of participating countries have succeeded to the point where over 60 countries, representing six continents Six Continents is a large retail PLC in UK which split into Six Continents Retail known as Mitchells and Butlers plc. The hotels and soft drinks business of Six Continents PLC is now known as InterContinental Hotels Group PLC. , participated at the 1997 Summer Deaflympics in Copenhagen, Denmark. About 2,700 athletes competed in these Games, and a record 28 countries won gold medals gold medal
traditional first prize. [Western Cult: Misc.]
See : Prize (Stewart & Bressler, 1997). Athletes competed in 15 sports--athletics (track and field), badminton badminton (băd`mĭntən), game played by volleying a shuttlecock (called a "bird")—a small, cork hemisphere to which feathers are attached—over a net. Light, gut-strung rackets are used. , basketball, bowling, cycling, orienteering orienteering
Cross-country footrace in which each participant uses a map and compass to navigate between checkpoints along an unfamiliar course. Introduced in Sweden in 1918, it later spread throughout Europe. World championships have been held since 1966. , shooting, table tennis, team handball team handball
A game played between two teams of seven players each, the object being to throw the ball into a hockeylike goal at either end of the rectangular court. The ball is moved by dribbling and passing with the hands. , tennis, soccer, swimming, water polo water polo, swimming game encompassing features of soccer, football, basketball, and hockey. The object of the game is to maneuver, by head, feet, or hand, a leather-covered ball 27 to 28 in. , volleyball, and wrestling.
The first Winter Deaflympics took place in 1949 in Seefeld, Austria. The number of countries participating in the Winter Games is small compared to the Summer Games This article is about the Epyx video game series. For the international multi-sport event, see Summer Olympic Games.
Summer Games is a sports video game developed by Epyx and released by U.S. Gold based on sports featured in the Summer Olympic Games. ; about 260 athletes from 18 countries competed at the 1995 Games in Finland (Stewart & Ojalas, 1995). Athletes compete in only three sports at the Winter Games--ice hockey, alpine, and nordic events. Snowboarding snowboarding: see under skiing.
Sport of sliding downhill over snow on a snowboard, a wide ski ridden in a surfing position. Derived from surfing and influenced also by skateboarding as well as skiing, snowboarding began to burgeon was a demonstration sport at the 1999 Deaflympics in Davos, Switzerland. A complete listing of past and future Games follows.
Summer 1924 Paris, France 1928 Amsterdam, Holland 1931 Nuremberg, West Germany 1935 London, England 1939 Stockholm, Sweden 1949 Copenhagen, Denmark 1953 Brussels, Belgium 1957 Milan, Italy 1961 Helsinki, Finland 1965 Washington, DC, USA 1969 Belgrade, Yugoslavia 1973 Malmo, Sweden 1977 Bucharest, Romania 1981 Cologne, West Germany 1985 Los Angeles, CA, USA 1989 Christchurch, New Zealand 1993 Sofia, Bulgaria 1997 Copenhagen, Denmark 2001 Rome, Italy 2005 Melborne, Australia Winter 1949 Seefeld, Austria 1953 Oslo, Norway 1955 Oberammergau, West Germany 1959 Montana-Vermala, Switzerland 1963 Are, Sweden 1967 Berchtesgaden, Germany 1971 Abelboden, Switzerland 1975 Lake Placid, NY, USA 1979 Meribel, France 1983 Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy 1987 Oslo, Norway 1991 Banff, Canada 1995 Yllas, Finland 1999 Davos, Switzerland 2003 Sundsvall, Sweden
Factors Impacting the Future of the Deaflympics
The direction the Deaflympics take as they slide into the 21st Century is affected by many factors, ranging from personal ones related to the athlete, to more global ones related to the place of deaf people in society. In particular, these factors change the characteristics of those who will participate in the Games and alter the image of how Deaf sport in general is perceived by those who are not deaf. A discussion of these factors is presented with the following caveat--because records of Deaf sport movements in most countries are minimal or nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non , much of what is being predicted here is based on our observations at various Deaflympics and our understanding of the dynamics of Deaf sport as it is in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and Canada.
Finding the Elite Deaf Athlete
Anyone who has had the opportunity to attend the Deaflympics over the past two decades would have noticed that characteristics of the average deaf athlete are changing. At one time, an overwhelming number of deaf athletes attended schools for deaf children where many of them were first introduced to sports. These deaf athletes did not compete on non-deaf teams in the general population, and they used sign language as their main means of interpersonal communication Interpersonal communication is the process of sending and receiving information between two or more people. Types of Interpersonal Communication
This kind of communication is subdivided into dyadic communication, Public speaking, and small-group communication. . While sign language is not universal, knowledge of it made conversing with people from other countries easier than if some other mode of communication were used, such as speech. This is always noticeable at the Games, where deaf athletes from different countries freely talk to one another in signs, without the assistance of an interpreter. Deaf athletes of yesterday, if not attending a school for deaf children, were typically active members in their local Deaf community, and especially in this community's sport programs. This made them a reservoir of information about their Deaf world which they exchanged at the Games with people from Deaf communities in other parts of the world.
But schools for deaf children are no longer the mainstay for educating deaf children they once were. Deaf children today are increasingly being educated in general education schools along with their non-deaf peers. This trend has been occurring in the United States and Canada for the past 20 years and is also evident in Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. , Australia, New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. , France, Germany, and other countries in western Europe Western Europe
The countries of western Europe, especially those that are allied with the United States and Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (established 1949 and usually known as NATO). . With dwindling dwin·dle
v. dwin·dled, dwin·dling, dwin·dles
To become gradually less until little remains.
To cause to dwindle. See Synonyms at decrease. numbers of students, it has become difficult for many schools for deaf children to offer a full slate Any political party or faction that seeks to form a majority in a parliament or on a board of directors or other responsible body typically must run a full slate if only to demonstrate that they have the capacity to attract the talent to fill every position with some person, even if that of extracurricular sports. As a result, deaf students attending these schools do not always get exposure to sports necessary to help them develop into elite athletes elite athlete Sports medicine An athlete with potential for competing in the Olympics or as a professional athlete; EAs are at ↑ risk for injuries, given the amount of training, for psychological abuse by coaches and parents, and self abuse. .
Parallel to this decline in enrollment in schools for deaf children, we have seen dramatic increases in number of students obtaining an education in local public schools. These students comprise a growing breed of deaf athletes, and bring to the Games a different standard of social expectations. Many deaf students in public schools are not exposed to use of sign language and rely instead on oral communication. An athlete is usually the only deaf person Noun 1. deaf person - a person with a severe auditory impairment
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul - a human being; "there was too much for one person to do" on a team or in a sport club. While athletic prowess may earn athletes a spot on a national Deaf team, they hover An option in Microsoft Internet Explorer that removes the permanent underline from hypertext links. The underline displays automatically and only when the cursor is placed over (hovers over) the link. Hover is available in Tools/Internet Options/Advanced/Underline links. at the fringe of social interactions occurring at the Games. Without signing skills they lack the means of gainfully gain·ful
Providing a gain; profitable: gainful employment.
gainful·ly adv. interacting with those involved in the governance of Deaf sport at local through international levels. (See Kathleen Ellis' Response to Future Directions of the Deaflympics: A Voice From the Mainstream, page 48, for a perspective of a deaf person growing up in a public school setting with no contact with deaf athletes or the Deaf community.)
There are, of course, some public school programs that incorporate sign communication in their instruction. While deaf students from these schools often know how to sign, their placement in a public school still means their involvement in sports is mainly with hearing peers. Such involvement poses a problem for national Deaf teams which must now find a means of recruiting athletes from a wider population base of students. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that many public school programs do not infuse in·fuse
1. To steep or soak without boiling in order to extract soluble elements or active principles.
2. To introduce a solution into the body through a vein for therapeutic purposes. information about the Deaf community into their curriculum for deaf students (Gaustad, 1999). Coaches and physical education teachers, too, are often ignorant of opportunities available for promising deaf athletes, not only at the international level, but also within the local community. These athletes leave school and may spend several years as adults before encountering information about opportunities in Deaf sport. These are the years when they may be at the height of their games.
Concomitant concomitant /con·com·i·tant/ (kon-kom´i-tant) accompanying; accessory; joined with another.
concomitant adjective Accompanying, accessory, joined with another with difficulty in accessing deaf athletes who are enrolled in or are products of the public school system, is the fact that these athletes are desirable because of higher standards of competition they face with hearing athletes with whom they participate and compete (Stewart, McCarthy, & Robinson, 1988; Stewart, Robinson, & McCarthy, 1991). Numbers alone ensure that competition with hearing athletes is stiffer and excellence is usually marked by higher standards than in competitions with only deaf athletes.
Given changes that are occurring in schools, we can predict the trend toward more public school athletes on national Deaf teams will continue. It is also safe to say that accessing these athletes will become less of a problem as national Deaf sport organizations learn to use the internet as a means for informing others about opportunities in the sports they provide. We can expect there will be a growing awareness among coaches in school and community sports, and among physical education teachers, about these opportunities as information about high level competitions such as the Deaflympics become more prevalent because of technological advances facilitating the spread of information through the media and the internet.
Keeping the Games Deaf
Deaf people take much pride in knowing the Deaflympics are of their own doing. The CISS Executive Board consists only of deaf members. Only deaf people are allowed to represent their national Deaf sport organizations at international meetings involving the CISS, including those related to the Deaflympics. All athletes are obviously deaf, in that each must have a minimum of 55 decibel decibel (dĕs`əbĕl', –bəl), abbr. dB, unit used to measure the loudness of sound. It is one tenth of a bel (named for A. G. Bell), but the larger unit is rarely used. hearing loss in the better ear before being permitted to participate.
Not so obvious is the fact that rules for playing each sport are not altered in any way for deaf participants. This fact distinguishes Deaf sport from sports played by other groups of people with disabilities. Deaf people are not disabled in any manner except communication-and this is only a disability when a deaf person is in a situation where hearing and speech are the primary means of communication. Deaf people consider themselves a culturally distinct minority group, and it is for cultural reasons that the Deaflympics exist. That is, culture and not ability to play a game is the factor central to deaf people having the Deaflympics. Deaf people want to be among others who are deaf and communicate in sign language.
But, is pride enough to keep the Games Deaf? CISS has refused to join the International Paralympic Committee The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is an international non-profit organisation of elite sports for athletes with disabilities. Founded on September 22, 1989, the mission of the organization is on grounds that it does not want to give up its autonomy and have the Deaflympics merged with the Paralympics (Stewart & Ammons, 1994). Moreover, there is growing concern among national Deaf sport governing bodies Sport governing bodies comes in various forms, but the key factor is having some regulatory function. This may be disciplinary action for rule infractions, deciding on rule changes etc.
Governing bodies have different scopes. that hosting the Deaflympics is becoming increasingly more expensive, as is the cost of participating in them. Raising money to offset costs Costs for which funds have been appropriated but will not be obligated because of a contingency operation. See also contingency operation. is becoming more difficult, because each year it appears that corporations and households are more heavily canvassed by their communities for sponsorships and charitable donations. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , the Games represent an increasing financial burden to the Deaf community that supports them.
Continuing concern for the financial aspect of running the Games has caused some national Deaf sport organizations to push for Deaflympics to become a part of the Paralympics. These organizations want to reduce their responsibilities for organizing and funding the Games. While they admit that control over various aspects of the Games would be lost, they also point out the Paralympics would provide adequate assurance the Games would continue. Furthermore, they harbor no reservations about being associated with other international games for people with disabilities. This push to join the Paralympics is not just coming from the nations with poor financial resources, but also from some deaf people in the United States and Canada who desire increased media exposure the Paralympics could give deaf athletes. It would be interesting to find out if those people who favor deaf people participating in the Paralympics understand there would be a cap on the number of deaf athletes who could participate. If only a limited number of athletes could participate, they might change their minds.
For the Deaflympics to continue to be played the way they have been since their inception in 1924, it is important that key people making decisions about the Games have strong ties to their Deaf communities and embrace the culture these communities spawn To launch another program from the current program. The child program is spawned from the parent program.
(operating system) spawn - To create a child process in a multitasking operating system. E.g. . Self-determination is one aspect of this culture (Stewart, 1991). Those deaf people who are against joining the Paralympics want to have the first and final say in all matters relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc the Games. They did not want the Deaflympics in Sydney, Australia, simply because a group of non-deaf people decided that was where Olympics, and hence, Paralympics were going to be held. They want the Games in a country where a group of deaf people have made a winning bid to host the Games.
However, do enough of these kinds of deaf people exist? For now they do. But the push to remain autonomous may weaken as the cultural ties that initially led to formation of the Deaflympics continue to be eroded e·rode
v. e·rod·ed, e·rod·ing, e·rodes
1. To wear (something) away by or as if by abrasion: Waves eroded the shore.
2. To eat into; corrode. by educational practices keeping deaf children dispersed dis·perse
v. dis·persed, dis·pers·ing, dis·pers·es
a. To drive off or scatter in different directions: The police dispersed the crowd.
b. over wide geographical areas, away from schools for deaf children where many would be socialized so·cial·ize
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable. into Deaf sport and other cultural activities relating to the Deaf community.
We acknowledge the possibility that one day our trip to a Deaflympics event might feature a tour of Olympic facilities that days before had been home to the best athletes in the world, some of whom would have been deaf. If this should occur, then we will view this occasion with sadness for the loss of self-determination on the part of the Deaf community. But, we will also understand that at least some aspect of the Deaflympics would be metamorphosing into a new cultural event for the Deaf community, and that as with all Games in the past, sign language will continue to be the linguistic champion of deaf participants. And, that yearning to be with other deaf people will still be a factor in motivating many athletes to participate in the Games in whatever venue they might be held.
Gaustad, M.G. (1999). Including the kids across the hall: Collaborative instruction. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 4(3), 176-190.
Moores, D.F. (1996). Educating the deaf (4th Ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Houghton Mifflin Company is a leading educational publisher in the United States. The company's headquarters is located in Boston's Back Bay. It publishes textbooks, instructional technology materials, assessments, reference works, and fiction and non-fiction for both young readers .
Stewart, D. (1991). Deaf sport: Images of sports in the Deaf community. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Gallaudet University, at Washington, D.C.; coeducational; with federal support. It was founded (1856) as the Kendall School, a training school for deaf and blind students, by Edward Miner Gallaudet (see under Gallaudet, Thomas Hopkins). .
Stewart, D., & Ammons, D. (1994). Awakenings: The 1993 World Games for the Deaf. PALAESTRA, 10, 26-31.
Stewart, D., & Bressler, H. (1997). The XVIII World Games for the Deaf: A musical paradox. PALAESTRA, 13 (4), 32-35.
Stewart, D., McCarthy, D., & Robinson, J. (1988). Participation in deaf sport: Characteristics of deaf sport directors. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 5, 233-244.
Stewart, D., & Ojalas, R. (1995). Storm & ice: The XIII World Winter Games for the Deaf. PALAESTRA, 11(4), 35-38.
Stewart, D., Robinson, J, & McCarthy, D. (1991). Participation in Deaf sport: Characteristics of elite Deaf athletes. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 8,136-145.
David A. Stewart David Allan Stewart, often known as Dave Stewart (born September 9, 1952 in Sunderland) is an English musician and record producer best known for his work with Eurythmics. He is normally credited as David A. is a professor and Director of the Deaf Education program at Michigan State University Michigan State University, at East Lansing; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1855. It opened in 1857 as Michigan Agricultural College, the first state agricultural college. . He is the Technical Delegate for ice hockey ice hockey: see hockey, ice.
Game played on an ice rink by two teams of six players on skates. The object is to drive a puck (a small, hard rubber disk) into the opponents' goal with a hockey stick, thus scoring one point. for the Comite International des Sports des Sourds and is an Associate Editor for PALAESTRA. Donalda K. Ammons is a professor at Gallaudet University. She is the Secretary-General for the Comite International des Sports des Sourds and is a Field Editor for PALAESTRA.
RELATED ARTICLE: Response to Future Directions of the Deaflympics--A Voice from The Mainstream
M. Kathleen Ellis
I have been profoundly deaf since the age of four years, and my entire educational career revolved around the mainstreamed setting. Emphasis was placed on oral communication, and I never learned even the simplest form of sign language. In addition, I had no contact with deaf adults or deaf peers, and actually did not meet another deaf individual A deaf individual, or deaf person, may mean:
An academic degree conferred by a college or university upon those who complete at least one year of prescribed study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Noun 1. years. Even though I was deeply involved in sports as an athlete, coach, and administrator, no contact or knowledge was initiated pertaining per·tain
intr.v. per·tained, per·tain·ing, per·tains
1. To have reference; relate: evidence that pertains to the accident.
2. to Deaf sport until recently.
Since my introduction to Deaf sport, I have learned of the many opportunities available for individuals like myself. Deaf sport serves not only as a forum for socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.
n. among other members of the Deaf community, but also as a basis for deaf children who are products of inclusion to become aware of this whole new world available to them. No one within my family or community had ever heard of Deaf sport; therefore, no introductions were ever made during my growing years. Much of the decline in Deaf sport at the grassroots level could be related to the very few individuals with the knowledge available to introduce deaf children to Deaf sport. Our elite deaf athletes are out there, but it is not as easy as it seems to locate these individuals, especially where the information base related to and opportunity to participate in Deaf sport are nonexistent among their communities, as was the case with mine. Schools for the deaf continue to provide this information as if it were part of the general curriculum, something that should be integrated along with the deaf student. It seems public schools are wasting perfect opportunities to provide their deaf athletes with as many opportunities for participation as possible. But many deaf children and their parents do not learn of these missed opportunities until much later, as in my case, if at all.
The more I learn about Deaf sport, the more I regret not having had the opportunity to participate during my peak athletic years. Even though I just recently became aware of Deaf sporting opportunities, it is shocking to hear that these opportunities may be subject to takeover by the hearing community, or in the worse case scenario, reduction or elimination. The highest commendation COMMENDATION. The act of recommending, praising. A merchant who merely commends goods he offers for sale, does not by that act warrant them, unless there is some fraud: simplex commendatio non obligat. is only fitting for those persistent deaf individuals who attempt to keep the Games alive and Deaf. This will obviously be a hard road to continue along, especially with financial considerations of organizing, running, and participating in such an elaborate athletic event.
However, consider some factors that could occur should the Games someday connect with the Paralympics. First, joining with the Paralympics (with which I was familiar long before learning about Deaf sport) would drastically reduce the number of deaf athletes who would be allowed to compete. There is no way that all 2,700 of our best athletes from over 60 countries would be able to participate in these events. The total number of athletes from all disability groups participating in the 1996 Summer Paralympics in Atlanta was approximately 3,000, representing 120 nations. In the 1998 Paralympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, 600 athletes from 31 countries participated. Does this leave enough room for our brightest stars to participate in meaningful competition? Or, does it disallow To exclude; reject; deny the force or validity of.
The term disallow is applied to such things as an insurance company's refusal to pay a claim. many athletes who have been working hard for the privilege to represent their countries?
Joining with the Paralympics might also lead to one thing that may be even more damaging to the Deaf community than decreased opportunities for participation at the international level. Individuals who are deaf do not have a disability, but rather a difference in communication. The Paralympics are for individuals with disabilities and, hence, should the Deaflympics join this organization, deaf athletes would be considered to have a disability. Not only would joining the Paralympics remove the Games' autonomy, but also place a label on deaf athletes as being part of the disabled community, as well. While this would not affect me tremendously as it might many other athletes, I feel personally involved because my family tried for years to prevent my being labeled as having a disability. I take great pride in the fact that with my recent learning of sign language I am considered bilingual in many settings. Through this newly learned communication modality modality /mo·dal·i·ty/ (mo-dal´i-te)
1. a method of application of, or the employment of, any therapeutic agent, especially a physical agent.
2. , I have gained more insight to personal and professional conversations than ever before. While I am very happy with my ability to communicate verbally, I regret not learning sign language at an earlier age. I also take pride in the fact that I am deaf, not disabled. This is my identity being played with here, as well as that of numerous other deaf individuals.
What would this mean for deaf athletes, especially those who identify within the cultural minority? Does this mean, therefore, that any individual living in the United States whose verbal communication does not use English is considered to have a disability? In many respects, considering a deaf individual as having a disability, rather than a culturally-based communication method, is similar to failing to acknowledge the many different cultures and languages existing within a diverse America.
It is true that planning, organizing, implementing, and participating in athletic events at the international level provide financial hardships not only for the athletes involved, but also for the entire Deaf community. Individuals in the many administrative, coaching, and athletic positions need to step up and spread the word of the existence of the Games to allow for greater awareness between both the Deaf community and the hearing world. This does not decrease the autonomy or pride associated with the Games, but allows for greater support and fundraising opportunities to be posed through more individual awareness.
Who knows what would have happened if I had been introduced to Deaf sport at an early age? I could be a professional in Deaf education teaching my students and others about Deaf sport. Or, I could be a highly involved member of the Deaf community through Deaf sport. Or, I could be exactly where I am now, sitting on the fence separating the Deaf and hearing worlds. My life could be very different or very similar to what it is now. I can only wonder.
M. Kathleen Ellis is an instructor with the departments of Kinesiology kinesiology
Study of the mechanics and anatomy of human movement and their roles in promoting health and reducing disease. Kinesiology has direct applications to fitness and health, including developing exercise programs for people with and without disabilities, preserving and Deaf Education at Michigan State University, where she recently completed her PhD in Kinesiology with major areas in Adapted Physical Education Adapted physical education is a sub-discipline of physical education. It is an individualized program created for students who require a specially designed program for more than 30 days. , Pedagogy, and Deaf Education.
(1) This paper follows the convention of using the lower case word deaf to refer to the audiological condition of having a hearing loss. The upper case word Deaf is used to refer to people or entities (such as an organization) associated with the culture of the Deaf community.