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.
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.
We believe that the legislation needs to 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. 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!
We believe the 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 needs 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!