The Deaf Community growing in adversity, is not a single society with one purpose which one can "sign up for". It is a diverse meeting of individuals who come together for many purposes but who share some basics of experience, communication and commitment. The communication will be in sign. The commitment will be to support other deaf people and to have a place to meet.
There has been discussion in the past, on the extent of the Deaf Community. It has become clear that it is not helpful to try to define the Deaf Community in terms of pathology. The medical / educational definitions of loss and lack of abilities do not adequately describe the nature of the Community. The most effective definition is provided by Baker and Padden (1978):
"The deaf community comprises those deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who share a common language, common experiences and values and a common way of interacting with each other and with hearing people. The most basic factor determining who is a member of the deaf community seems to be what is called `attitudinal deafness'. This occurs when a person identifies him/herself as a member of the deaf community and other members accept that person as part of the community." Baker and Padden(1978, p. 4)
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