Deaf Culture

Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind is proud to be the provider of American Sign language through our culture which is known as Deaf culture.

Culture and language intertwine, with language reflecting characteristics of the culture. Learning about the culture of Deaf people is also learning about their language. Deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with each other and with hearing people who know the language. ASL is a visual/gestural language that has no vocal component. ASL is a complete, grammatically complex language. It differs from a communication code designed to represent English directly. ASL is not a universal language, however. There are signed languages in other countries (e.g., Italian Sign Language, Chinese Sign Language, Swedish Sign Language).

In a school cafeteria; a white man sitting providing storytelling with several children sitting on the floor watching.

The values, behaviors, and traditions of Deaf culture include:

  • Promoting an environment that supports vision as the primary sense used for communication at school, in the home, and in the community, as vision offers individuals who are Deaf access to information about the world and the independence to drive, travel, work, and participate in every aspect of society.
  • Valuing children who are Deaf as the future of Deaf people and Deaf culture. Deaf culture, therefore, encourages the use of ASL, in addition to any other communication modalities the child may have.
  • Support for bilingual ASL/English education of children who are Deaf so they are competent in both languages.
  • The perpetuation of Deaf culture through a variety of traditions, including films, folklore, literature, athletics, poetry, celebrations, clubs, organizations, theaters, and school reunions.