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The Art of Being Deaf

Australian scholar Donna McDonald has achieved a successful career in social work policy focusing on disadvantage and disability, yet, until now, her work has never directly addressed the personal challenges she faced having been part of a generation of children in Australia and around the world who were born deaf, but assimilated into oral education programs in the 1950s and '60s. In The Art of Being Deaf, McDonald tells her story and describes the process of reconciling her deaf-self and her hearing persona. When she was five, McDonald was placed in an oral deaf school. There, she was trained to communicate only in spoken English. Her determination led to achievements that caused many to identify her as a "deaf girl that had made good." Yet, as McDonald describes in her memoir, despite her constant focus on fitting into the hearing world, she soon realized that she was closing-off an essential part of her identity-that of being deaf. Through the writing of the book, she comes to embrace that part of herself and to acknowledge that the art of being deaf has many crucial parallels to the art of life in general. This moving personal story will not only appeal to those who have shared similar experiences within the deaf community, but anyone who has struggled with disadvantages and questions of identity.
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About the Author

Donna McDonald is a senior lecturer and convenor of the Disability Studies Program in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University, Meadowbrook Queensland, Australia.


"There's a generational story to be told here that is important-McDonald was part of a 'between' generation of deaf kids/students around the globe (but especially in the UK, Australia, developed Europe, and US) who now had access to 'regular' schools but who were still struggling in the shadow-land between deaf schools/lives/identities and the public/regular schools." (Brenda Jo Brueggeman, Ohio State University)"

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