Life in progress

Panic – #AtoZ Challenge


For my Deaf son, Alex, there’s no difference between a spider and a fire alarm. He understands what panic looks like, and he knows when I’m in one, but unless I sign why (which is difficult under the circumstances of real panic), then all he can do is wait until someone explains what the commotion is.

I could, and probably should, install special warning alarms in the house for him. The doorbell (first I’d have to get a doorbell) and the smoke detector are the two most obvious things to alert him of.  I haven’t bothered yet because he’s never at home alone. And equipment is expensive. Just an alarm clock that either shakes the bed or lights up (which only works in the dark I’m guessing) …scratch that. I just looked up the cost of one at Walmart and he wants a Spiderman one. They don’t make them. On with a search.

But I digress. There are many circumstances in which a Deaf person can be caught short. Just two examples: alarms in hotels don’t normally exist for the Deaf, and a bomb threat in a shopping mall would leave a Deaf person who was out alone wondering which way to run. We don’t realize how much we rely on our hearing.

Again, another reason for having more people in society who know some sign language. So many things to advocate for, so little time.

The sign, in ASL for “fire”:

My A to Z theme concerns the joys and challenges of being the hearing mother of my Deaf son, Alex. To learn more about his beginnings in life, click here to go to my first A to Z entry.

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

11 thoughts on “Panic – #AtoZ Challenge

  1. This is such a helpful series – thank you!


  2. Pingback: My Article Read (4-19-2016) – My Daily Musing

  3. A lot of public places here have flashing lights or scrolling signs that are synchronised with audible alarms and verbal announcements, (like a reverse of the audio crossing signals on pedestrian crossings for blind people) especially for fire alarms and announcements on public transport.
    I’m surprised it isn’t more widespread though.


  4. This is hard. Most of the things are made or used based on the majority of the population which seems economically right but not morally.


  5. Your comparison of expressions of panic–spiders or fire–is vivid (and a bit amusing!). What a great perspective to share. It’s so real, and well explains how important clear communication is. I’m a speech-language pathologist, and I do understand an individual’s communication rights and needs. What a terrific post.


  6. I never thought of alarms in hotels. For that matter, I wonder how many hotels are prepared to even register a deaf guest. You have raised a number of important points in this series Linda.


  7. I had never thought of that either. It would be even more frightening to see panic all around and not understand what was happening.


  8. Those that hear take so much for granted, you have opened eyes to so many. We have a few children in different schools that are deaf and many of the children actually learn to sign. I think that’s wonderful!


  9. Some totally valid points there Linda! I never thought of them actually. Your posts have really made me more conscious of what a deaf person’s life could be like….


  10. Really good points. Where I live we have a lot of electric cars and they can be scary because they’re so silent. No one can hear them coming or backing up and it’s amazing how much some of us rely on our hearing to alert us to trouble.


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