Friday, August 31, 2018

New A&E documentary gives viewers look into lives of Deaf people

From Parade:

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who lost most of her hearing as a toddler, is an executive producer of the A&E documentary Deaf Out Loud (September 12), which follows three predominantly deaf families as they raise their children in a hearing world. 
“People use different terms to refer to us—hearing impaired, hard of hearing, hearing loss,” says Matlin, 53. “The misconception lies in the fact that deaf people all think alike, talk alike and live alike, and that’s not true.” 
 In a 2017 interview, Parade asked Matlin if she thinks there have been inroads into acting roles for the deaf community. Here’s what she had to say:
“Yes, but not enough. Though deaf and hard of hearing people as well as people with a disability make up 20 percent of our population, only 2 percent of roles in film and TV feature actors with a disability and of that 2 percent, 5 percent are played by actors who actually HAVE a disability. It’s 30 years since I won the Academy Award as the first deaf person to receive this honor and we still have to talk about the lack of inclusion? It’s a sorry situation.”
A&E says the documentary special follows the lives of three predominantly deaf families who utilise different communication modalities in everyday life. 
The show delves into the various ways deaf culture is expressed and embraced in the United States. Misconceptions exist about deaf individuals – from schooling to employment and raising a family. The documentary aims to change these misperceptions and bring awareness and better understanding to the public at large. The three families will show viewers the diversity of deaf culture today, and how it differs from hearing cultures.

“People with disabilities need to see positive representations of themselves, both as people with satisfying personal lives and as people who can perform successfully in the workplace,” said executive producer Jonathan Murray. “Those positive images will change for the better the way the greater society sees people with disabilities, opening up more opportunities for them.”

Get a sneak peek of the A&E documentary Deaf Out Loud here: The documentary premieres on A&E September 12.