WHAT IS A CODA?
When I told my friend I was writing my memoir and that I planned to title it, “Adventures of a CODA,” she asked, “What is a ‘CODA?”
“’CODA’ in capital letters,” I answered, “is an acronym; each letter stands for one word. The letters mean ‘Child of Deaf Adults,’ and this ‘Child’ has normal hearing.”
“It’s impossible to give you one all-inclusive definition of a CODA because each of us is unique, just as every human being is unique. Those who try to characterize a CODA often fail because their view is incomplete or is distorted by their ignorance of the subject. They reach false conclusions and unintentionally cause misunderstandings.”
“But we can correctly claim that all CODAs are hearing and are born to non-hearing parents who communicate in a signed language, and all CODAs immediately face immeasurable challenges in adapting to their situation. We can also agree that it is important for society to recognize and respect the diversity of communication and cultural experiences these circumstances represent.”
“But these generalizations fall short of promoting understanding of CODAs and members of the Deaf Culture. The fact is that, after years of making great strides in gaining their civil rights, members of the deaf community still suffer discrimination, ridicule, and misunderstanding, or they are simply ignored by the general population. CODAs witness this occurring firsthand.”
“Ignorance is remedied by education. Thus, I believe every high school should have a required course in the history of the deaf, equipping students to understand the barriers that hinder deaf people from assimilating into general society. Included should be training in basic signing and fingerspelling, enabling students to communicate with the deaf persons they meet in everyday encounters.”
“Wow!“ said my friend. “I’d like to learn more.” And I replied, “Read my memoir!”