About 1 in 20 Americans have some sort of profound hearing loss. There is no denying that among all the people in this country who have hearing loss or are deaf, at least a portion of them have the opportunity to develop speech. Finding an accurate ratio of so called ‘oral successes‘ is difficult. However, it’s appropriate to say that there is a significant percentage of deaf individuals who will never become oral (to speak “properly”).
I once read, as an example how difficult it can be learn speech, to place your hand in front of your mouth and say “thank you” and “popcorn”. Notice the difference? It’s subtle, but it’s barely there.
With all that said, there is a portion of deaf and hard of hearing individuals who will be able to become oral (or who have become deafened later in life). However, for all involved it will take a long process through a discipline called ‘speech pathology‘:
Speech pathology is an important field that deals with various speech disorders and disabilities. A speech disorder is an impairment of voice and the articulation of speech sounds. Maintenance of fluency is often difficult, and conversation tasks can be both daunting and overwhelming. Those who suffer from a speech disorder often face obstacles like stuttering or a lisp. A speech pathologist helps in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. They study effective treatment plans and provide appropriate information to patients and their families.
I’m convinced that the lack of speech pathology has resulted in the degrading moniker “deaf and dumb”. One must realize not everyone can develop speech and it has NOTHING to do with their intelligence. For example, one can be an elite engineer while not being able to maintain audible speech. In addition, please don’t believe the ignorant, common misconceptions of the deaf.
So it was with honor that this site was selected as a top resource for speech pathologists according to Online Speech Pathology Programs. This website wants to equip people studying speech pathology (helping people with their speech) with all the resources they need including the realization that not all will achieve it — many will opt for communicating via Sign Language.
I applaud their holistic effort and am humbled to be included as a resource for a proper education of deafness and hearing loss.