Oral deaf people are not recognized in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

July 25th, 2012 by | Tags: | 2 Comments »


To protect the progress the oral deaf community has made, we need to contact our Senators before July 26th by phone or email and state they DON’T want the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) ratified UNLESS is includes terms specifically protecting the rights of the oral deaf community to have access to spoken language. Once again, this is something they do NOT want to ratify. Not sure who your Senator is, you can go to the contact directory.

What the CRPD is and how it affects the rights of the signing deaf community and adversely impacts the oral deaf community:
Although CRPD looks at first glance to be innocuous it has serious potential to harm oral deaf options. CRPD makes sign language, ASL, and Deaf Culture the “right” of every deaf person. This means that it will put the “rights” of deaf children as the overriding factor in service provision of all services. That means that as the USA comes into compliance with this convention – only sign language will be provided (funded) to children. NAD has made a strategic move to pre-empt dialogue re the ADA.

Isn’t this just a foreign policy decision?
No, it will impact domestic policy as well. When the USA ratifies, our nation will have to come in compliance with our “foreign policy”. If you think that is far-fetched then look at history, Ambassador (retired) John MacDonald organized the UN disabilities convention – and as Ambassador McDonald has proudly told me, “That is what ADA and IDEA grew out of…” ADA will have to comply with the language ratified.

Isn’t it just allowing sign language or ensuring it for others?
No, it attempts to establish sign language as the preferred language of the “deaf community”. That means that the “preferred communication modality of the child” will be sign. Parents will have their choice removed. Statements that sign is the natural and preferred language of the deaf will allow states, school districts and others to support only sign. This is a deliberate and strategic move to undermine parental choice and listening and spoken language options for children.

The ADA and other disability laws do not currently include deaf-specific language; the CRPD recognizes sign language and deaf culture as “human rights”, and includes language such as “deaf culture”, “linguistic identity”, and “deaf community”. We do not object to competent sign language rights, but rather to the exclusive use of the terms and the pre-emptive strike against parental rights and family culture.

Please call YOUR Senator today and email or phone Senator Kerry (Committee Chair) and other members of the committee:

1. The CRPD as written is biased toward the signing deaf community and the oral deaf community has had no representation in this process. NAD is an organization, which has done an excellent job in advancing the agenda of the signing deaf community, but not the large and growing oral deaf community. Provide them with this contact info:
YOUR own name and parent group contacts (i.e. PA Coalition)

2. Request that the legislation either strike all reference to “deaf “or that it provide inclusive language, that CRPD make references to the signing deaf community and the oral deaf community. The term deaf community implies an agreement and authority that simply do not exist.

Suggest that the current language should not imply that the state is literally determining the culture, language and mores of all deaf people based on a faction. You might also mention that NAD has business backings with a guaranteed voting block at their meetings. (The signing deaf industry of relay operations, interpreters and videophone service’s is financially propelling this forward.)

3. Suggest that language would ideally state that we recognize that the deaf community is a rich and varied one, many members of the deaf community choose to use sign language and many members of the deaf community choose to use spoken language. There need to be access, equitable funding, competent educational facilities and expertise in providing options in both modalities. There needs to be reference to the right of a deaf person to have access to the full gamut of communication options including sign language and auditory oral

4. Ask if there has been a review of the financial impact of this legislation?

Here is an example letter to send to the senators:

As your constituent and a parent of a deaf child, I am an advocate for the oral deaf community and do NOT support the resolution on the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) scheduled for vote this Thursday, July 26, 2012.

This resolution is biased and it excludes part of the deaf community. The language being presented in this resolution needs to have the verbiage to recognize auditory oral AND sign language as deaf communication options. Right now it’s sign language specific only.

This resolution is offensive against the oral deaf community. We need to make sure this resolution recognizes that the oral deaf deserve the same rights and access to service by tagging “auditory-oral deaf” into the language of it OR this resolution needs to go away.

I’m all for the rights of the signing deaf community but there has to be specific language to protect the oral deaf community and give respect to the options. Oral deaf need rights too.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I would be honored to meet and share my experiences with you.

 *DISCLAIMER* This article was not written by Rachel or Elizabeth.  The information sent to us by other advocates in the hearing loss community and the credit goes to whoever wrote the information. 


Tina Morris

July 28, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Please take a few seconds to electronically sign this petition to protect the oral deaf.


November 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

[...] Our research found analyses of CPRD, firstly from a deaf lawyer’s angle and from a verbal deaf perspective. The value of balanced information is clear after reading both these [...]