29
Jun

Slow Deaf Child

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Deaf Children = Wild Animals?: You’ve probably seen those yellow signs by the roadside that announce “SLOW Deaf Child” or “Caution: Deaf Child Area”. Are these signs really necessary? Deer, cows, and ducks may occasionally have their own signs, but do Deaf children need them? Deaf children are not wild animals. They can be taught how to play outside and cross the street safely. The problem is not that they are Deaf. The real problem is society – the attitude of parents, caretakers, and even some schools. They may believe that Deaf children need special treatment. They may lack fluent signing skills, making it difficult for them to teach and discipline their Deaf children. Or they may simply be too lazy to make an effort to teach about street safety. Any children – Deaf or hearing – who haven’t been taught to stay out of the street, should not be outside unsupervised in the first place. Putting up signs like these does nothing but spread the idea that Deaf children are disabled, helpless, or lacking intelligence. A far better solution is to teach Deaf children how to be independent and self-reliant, both of which will do a whole lot more for their self-esteem than a yellow sign.

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16 Comments
  1. Jenn June 29, 2006

    I always feel funny seeing those signs, too.
    Unfortunately I’ve seen drivers assume that honking a horn gives them right of way, and many speed on residental streets illegaly.

    Experienced drivers drive much more carelessly nearest their homes.

    At age 9 I was hit, concussed by a car while on a bike. I had checked to be sure the intersection was clear. I was rearended by a car I never saw coming. It seemed I was out for only a second or two, but when I came to, I saw a man looking at me in shock, and the amulance arrived soon after, and there was a deaf man who lived a few blocks down who knew me talking to the EMTs and my parents came soon after.

    It’s very easy to say a child who doesn’t know how to pay attention to traffic shouldn’t be in the street. What about that person who did a hit and run and left me for dead?

    I do agree that it’s inappropriate to specifically point out that a driver should slow down only because there’s a deaf child in the neighborhood. My parents never got such a sign for our neighborhood.

    However, I think it’s entirely appropriate to post “Slow: Children” without any qualifying information. I have watched some of those TV court cases and there was one really idiotic case where a driver attempted to SUE a little boy for breaking her windshield when she hit him and he went through the windshield.

    I would demand instead of signs that drivers education manuals cover pedestrian right of way more extensively to make sure all drivers completely understand the consequences of hitting a child.

    Secondly, rear drivers license plates should be mandated by law, and increased in size around 150%.

    I have been nearly hit by two cars that decided to “drive around” a car that was stopped in the street. Once it was at a 3 way intersection which the man could not see as he had 3 cars ahead of him and all he could see that the cars were stopped.

    He decided he MUST pass the cars. To do so, he was driving on the wrong way of the street and he could have killed himself and the other driver on a head-on collision had there been a car making a left turn at that intersection. As it was I was lucky enough to see the van coming where a car shouldn’t be and jump out of the way. That van had no rear license plate and I ran trying to get any info but no luck.

    Likewise when I have nearly been hit by 2 red light runners, I have never been able to observe their license plates as they retreated at 30+ mph, even though I ran after them.

    One time, a car was stopped at a green light to have passengers join on, at an intersection. All cars were stopped, fine. I stepped out and there was a man who had decided to dodge out of line and try and go around the stopped car.

    I want this in drivers license manuals: If a car is stopped improperly, do you pass it, or try to find out why it is stopped in the first place?

    So the blame is not on the pedestrian, who by law have right of the way. The blame is always on the drivers, who are the one who are handling thousands of pounds of motorized metal capable of killing people.

    I am curious–if we were talking about autistic children, who indeed do not have the judgment needed for traffic safety, and can wander off very suddenly despite their family’s efforts, would you complain about this?

    I am sure some autistic adults would, however their disability and situation is not the same as the autistic children. And it’s a very important point.

    Myself, I would still feel squeamish. I know a town that voted on mandatory 25 MPH speed limits throughout town because it has a deaf-blind school and blind or deaf pedestrians everywhere– and deaf-blind as well. Tickets are very strict.

    Is that patronizing or very courteous to be sure all pedestrians benefit from safe driving laws? I think it is very courteous. I would love to see reduced speed limits in all towns and stiff penalties for traffic law breaking.

    Reply
  2. ASC June 30, 2006

    Jenn, thanks for your comments. We do agree that drivers are the ones who should be slowing down and paying closer attention to where they are going. That would solve most of the problems out on the roads today. No sign should be needed to warn drivers to go slower because children might be playing in the area. If they are already speeding through the neighborhood, how is a sign going to help since they already ignored the speed limit sign?

    Our point is that none of the transportation departments we checked out have signs saying “Slow: Autistic Child” (many people may not even know what “autistic” means) or other signs for children with mental retardation, in a wheelchair, etc. The signs for Deaf children suggest that being Deaf puts children at an especially great risk for being run over. We don’t think that is the case at all.

    Reply
  3. Caroline June 30, 2006

    I am a mother of a deaf child. I believe there is nothing wrong with the signs, as it warns drivers that a deaf child may be out walking, playing, riding a bike etc… and that they cannot hear a car approaching from behind. It does not mean that the child does not know street safety, they just cannot hear approaching vehicles and drivers should be aware of this and take care when approaching children and drive extra slow with extra caution.

    We live in a community with no sidewalks, which means that all of the children are doing many activities on the roads. A sign that states slow down children at play alerts the driver to that, but they expect the child to hear them coming or the honk of a horn, a deaf child cannot hear these things, so a deaf child sign would alert the driver to this and would hopefully make them drive even more cautiously, which would benefit all children hearing or not, as the driver would not know which child was the deaf child.

    Reply
  4. Jenn June 30, 2006

    I do agree that the signs are inappropriately targeted. However most of the streets I’ve seen in my hometown that have the signs don’t even have actual deaf children on them. I know, I’ve asked around!

    It looks like many signs were set up decades ago and just left in place because nobody got around to taking them down.

    Every deaf person who sees such a sign in a local neighborhood should contact their city hall or transportation dept and ask about that sign. And why “slow”? That’s vague. Why not post a specific speed limit? (Caution: 15 mph zone)

    We do need to propose a new solution to the problem and pressure hearing people to think in a new way about this “problem” and make those signs history.

    Pretty soon we can make those signs history like “Whites Only” signs.

    Reply
  5. Hearing Mom of 4 July 1, 2006

    I also live where there are no sidewalks but we have never considered a Deaf Child sign. Frankly, I don’t see any difference between my deaf child and her hearing sibilings when they are out playing. In fact, my deaf child is often the one who is telling all her hearing siblings and other kids to get out of the way because a car is coming. It doesn’t matter that she can’t hear. She has learned to compensate by using her eyes more. We didn’t want to single out our deaf child by having a sign like the one you mentioned.

    Reply
  6. GoAwayAnxiety July 7, 2006

    When I grow up I had that sign near my house.. I feel kind of safe because it warn people that there is a deaf person in that area to slow down. Because of course deaf people cannot hear cars sometime they arent paying attention on roads. Also, In other hand it can help with lawsuits. Especially today people are driving fast or careless. I am not against the idea of have slow deaf people sign. Especially for children they can be immature sometimes on road. For Adult we are already trained enough to pay attention on roads. So It is just my opinion.

    Reply
  7. DeafWatcher July 12, 2006

    No more Deaf signs please! If we must have signs, we dont have to say Deaf! Just Children will be enough!

    Reply
  8. Diane January 22, 2008

    I hate that Slow Deaf Child … It reminds me of that child is “slow”. Again I often read the articles that many hearing kids get hit by the vehicles. Rarely mentioned Deaf kids. After I graduated from Gallaudet in ’91, both Deaf signs were installed … and still there where my parents live now. There were a small Deaf kid and a latened (sp) deaf adult who live on that street. One has moved away and the sign “Deaf slow child” is still there! I grew up there — and there were none! Ugh … why not put the signs on streets — Slow Red headed child, Slow Obese child and etc. Wow the last comment is July, 2006 (see above) Am I too late to make this comment here? lol

    Reply
  9. Jullian January 31, 2008

    I’m deaf and one of my younger brothers is to, but it’s not like they meet someone and atomaticly say ‘oh hi my name is so-and-so and two of my sons are deaf.’ That’s what these signs are saying. No offense or nothing but, those people who have the signs should think about their kids and how they feel. My parents used to have one in our yard when i was younger but that didn’t stop people from speeding infact i think it made it worse.After i learned how to use a baseball bat they took it down. It’s just stupid to have the signs up wee have a children at play sign that slows people down.

    Reply
  10. Casey April 28, 2008

    Okay i’m deaf.

    i’ve been deaf since i was 2….i cant tell you how many times i almost got ran over riding my bike, not because i was dumb, or because i didnt know street safety, i did. i wished we had a deaf child sign because it could have warned people. who cares if the sign says deaf child, slow down. its there to PROTECT you….nobody has to know your deaf…if your worried about your image more than your saftey…thats dumb….you should be proud that your deaf

    you cant change it so accept it, accept it by putting up a deaf sign, stand by it, and point to your self…people may not pay attention to the sign but when they see a deaf child stand next to it pointing to themselves… they’ll realize there is DEAF kids in the nieghborhood, and maybe everytime they drive by that sign

    they’ll remember a blond curly haired girl pointing to herself, and slow down

    Reply
  11. Abbie July 1, 2008

    Are you honestly suggesting that a sign put up to make drivers aware that there might a deaf child in the area playing is directly correlating to how society treats a deaf child?

    I am deaf and I am special and I am glad that my father had one up on the street. I don’t feel that it had anything to do with me but it had everything to do with alerting others that there might be a child that cannot hear traffic coming.

    Reply
  12. Suey July 1, 2008

    Why can’t a parent have their peace of mind? It depends where you live and often drivers do need to be reminded. A parent can do everything they can to prevent an accident.

    Reply
  13. Karen July 2, 2008

    A parent can have a peace of mind by putting up a sign for all children. It does not have to be for DEAF ONLY. There are plenty of children who can benefit from signs including hearing children. Parents who want Deaf signs are too focused on their deaf children’s inability to hear.

    Reply
  14. Karin July 21, 2008

    I have two 2 1/2 year olds with hearing loss. One Boy and One Girl. One day we were sitting across the street at the neighbors house and my husband went back to our house to get something. IN FIFTEEN seconds my daughter ran across the street to her father while I, the other mother and the responsible eight year old watched. The road speed limit is 25 miles per hour, we have a SLOW CHILDREN PLAYING sign 5 feet from our driveway but people still race down our quiet residential road. I went to the town the next week because I have a dare devil daughter who has hearing loss and is miniscule compared to an SUV here in rural new jersey.
    If a sign will make a small difference in one person’s driving then I am glad to have it. So Accuse me of doing it for myself and I will gladly say yes. My Husband’s mother went through 6 six days of torture watching her hearing son in a coma because he was hit by a car at six. Luckily my husband woke up but he has no memories of his first 6 years of childhood.
    As parents we owe it to our children to do every thing to protect them, including signs, telling the stupid teenagers next store to slown down and turn down the music and teaching them the proper way to cross the street. So just remember that we are parents first, parents of deaf children second.

    Reply
  15. Smith September 4, 2008

    when you have one of these stinkin signs posted right infront of your house you begin to get a bit annoyed. yes, I am sure as a parent of a deaf child you want these signs up, understandable but there needs to be better laws as to how these sings are placed. I am very easy going and I think these signs are needed and are just fine but it doesn’t have to be in front of my house right by my drive way. Put it at the end of the street. The person who has the deaf child doesn’t have to have the sign in THEIR drive way so no big deal to them but its a real bother to me. Now I have to try to see out of the driveway and have a stinking sign in my line of vision. I might hit their child b/c I can’t see backing out b/c of the sign!!!!!! I am not at all impressed by this and think that there should be laws where these signs can be placed. we are the second house on the street, I have several signs in my yard already and its fine b/c they are off to the side and not directly behind my driveway.

    Reply
  16. Karin September 4, 2008

    My comments are below.

    Smith said “when you have one of these stinkin signs posted right infront of your house you begin to get a bit annoyed. yes, I am sure as a parent of a deaf child you want these signs up, understandable but there needs to be better laws as to how these sings are placed. I am very easy going and I think these signs are needed and are just fine but it doesn’t have to be in front of my house right by my drive way. Put it at the end of the street. The person who has the deaf child doesn’t have to have the sign in THEIR drive way so no big deal to them but its a real bother to me. Now I have to try to see out of the driveway and have a stinking sign in my line of vision. I might hit their child b/c I can’t see backing out b/c of the sign!!!!!! I am not at all impressed by this and think that there should be laws where these signs can be placed. we are the second house on the street, I have several signs in my yard already and its fine b/c they are off to the side and not directly behind my driveway.”

    Talk to your road department about the placement. There are laws about how far away the signs have to be from the house of the child but if it is causing a traffic hazard I’m sure that the road department can move it for you.

    Reply

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