In the autobiography Deaf Again, Mark Drolsbaugh writes about his life being born hearing, growing up hard of hearing, to eventually becoming deaf. By writing this book, he helps many people view from his perspective on what it is like for someone to struggle trying to fit in the hearing society. Through his early years, his eyes were closed to the deaf world, being only taught how to live in a hearing world. Not only does the book cover his personal involvement, but it covers some important moments in deaf history. It really is eye-opening because instead of just learning about deaf culture and deaf history, someone who lived through it is actually explaining their experiences.
The story takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Mark was born. Both of his parents were deaf, but his grandparents were hearing. From birth until first grade, he had perfectly normal hearing so he developed language skills as any normal child would. Mark’s hearing loss was slow, and happened overtime without going noticed. When the reality of his hearing loss struck his family and teachers, questions about his education aroused. His parents and his grandparents were worried that teaching him sign language would draw him from learning spoken language, so it was decided that Mark would be raised as a normal hearing and speaking child.
At this time in history, those who were deaf were tried at best to be converted into hearing people. Doctors, speech therapists, and audiologists all recommended the use of speaking and lip reading instead of sign language. Since Mark’s grandparents were hearing, they were closer to the parental position instead of his deaf parents. His grandparents provided him with the best possible education he could get, starting by enrolling him in Plymouth Meeting Friends School (PMFS), a private school outside of Philadelphia. Here he was given quality education, while also being assisted and understood for being hard of hearing. When Mark went to high school, he attended Germantown Friends School. Mark compares this school to a “Harvard High School” and also mentions that a considerable amount of these students continue onwards to Ivy League colleges (pg. 38). It was here that his struggles became noticeable. Until ninth grade, he had just been just passing by with the help of some friends who would further explain the lesson. Once he was finally a freshman, he was given his first interpreter. A whole new world of learning was opened to him, keeping him up to speed in classes while also keeping him fully involved. The interpreters given assisted him through high school, and also helped him accomplish being the first deaf student to graduate from GFS.
A major turning point in the authors’ life was when he attended Gallaudet University. At Gallaudet, he...