Switched at Birth, a new television show on ABC Family continues to raise deaf awareness. Here are my thoughts on the latest episode.
I was really pleased to see the question of "Can people who are deaf drive safely?" addressed in the second episode. I think that's one of the most common misconceptions hearing people have about the deaf. In this episode Daphne's biological parents were very concerned about her riding to school on the back of a motorcycle driven by her deaf friend. I liked that Daphne's mom was compassionate about their concern but stood her ground in explaining that people who are deaf can be safe drivers.
Another scene I liked took place in a music store when Liam who is hearing tried to converse with Daphne and she misunderstood what he said. She then took him over to a pair of headphones, played music for him, and then asked him to lipread what she said. When he was completely unable to do it, he began to understand how difficult lipreading is. Here again, a common misconception hearing people have about the super lipreading powers of the deaf was examined.
My other favorite moment from the show was the scene where Daphne ate breakfast alone with her biological parents, brother, and Bay. Without her Mom there to remind them by her translating, the family quickly forgot that Daphne can't hear them. They talked all at once, back and forth, and the camera spun around to show Daphne's view as she tried to make sense of the conversation. When her lack of understanding was revealed by her delighted comment after taking a bite of toast that the jam was rhubarb which her biological mother had just been explaining at length, the family was shocked. Then her brother made a quip about her being similar to his grandpa. In my experience when someone with hearing loss is not elderly, people forget. I have to constantly remind people how to communicate with me and I bet that's your experience too.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the show covers next. Stay tuned.