What do you know about the deaf
"How to communicate with a deaf person?" to the title of the 12th episode "What do you know about the deaf?". The topic is explained by Natalia Gałecka. Tomasz Smakowski translates into Polish sign language.
Every day deaf people pass you by, often you don’t know it. In private and professional situations, it may happen that you have to communicate with a deaf person. What to do then?
First of all, stay calm. Even if you don’t know sign language – don’t panic. Believe me, you aren’t the first unknowing PSL (Polish sign language) person in a deaf person’s life. The deaf know that most Poles cannot sign. Therefore, the deaf will immediately take the initiative and show you how they want to communicate with you.
And this is the second advice – don’t dictate your way of communication. Let the deaf person show you how he wants to communicate with you. Some people have implants and this allows them to communicate phonically. Even then, however, they can benefit from lip-reading. Then speak in an ordinary, everyday way. Don’t talk too slowly, don’t open your mouth very wide don’t raise your voice. Also remember not to cover your mouth, e.g. with your hand, and to look at a deaf person. Don’t move your head left and right – this can make mouth reading difficult. Also, don’t turn your back on her. However, not every deaf person reads the mouth and uses implants. Then what?
Another way is to communicate in writing. Depending on the place and possibilities, it may be writing on paper or on the phone. You can also use an application that will convert the sentences you say into text displayed on your smartphone, because more and more phones have built-in voice recognition on the system. However, not every deaf person knows Polish at a level that allows good communication.
A deaf person may also choose to use a real-time translation service. This is done via the app. The interpreter is on the phone and translates both sentences you say in Polish into sign language on an ongoing basis, as well as sentences that a deaf person signs into Polish.
As you can see, there are several ways to communicate with a deaf person. However, I recall what I said at the beginning of the movie: It is the deaf person who chooses the method that is convenient for him, and you must adapt to this method. Even if you see an implant, you can’t put it on right away, that this person can easily communicate with you in Polish.
Of course, I don’t think I need to mention that the PSL (Polish sign language) course will be the best way. You don’t have to become fluent right away. It is enough that already at A1 level you will feel the specificity of visual-spatial communication and – in the case of unfamiliarity with a given mark – you will have the courage to gesticulate. The most important thing is that we – hearing people – were open to the needs of the deaf. Don’tt be afraid, smile and be open to the need for increased gestures and facial expressions. A deaf person is simply a foreign language person. Surely you’ve ever been in a situation where you tried to get along with someone abroad, not knowing the mother tongue of that person. It’s the same here.
I hope that thanks to this video, when you meet a deaf person on your way, you will not get stressed out, but experience a communication adventure with a smile on your face.