I called my daughter's name a few times already, and she did not respond to me. I got frustrated with her. I told her she has a name and she should acknowledge whoever calls her name. It is rude if you do not, right? "Mommy, why do people have names?". I was puzzled. I explained to her so people can respectfully call other people names instead of saying "Hey you" and for identity rights like birth certificate and picture ID. Especially school enrollment papers. I dug deeper through research and found names were given between 500,000 to 50,000 years ago due to Christianity, burial, and conversational wise by using description. They spoke a name and it showed to respect.
Today, I learned it is not just names. I found people using descriptions of others instead of names. How offensive? It can be offensive if other people describes our disabilities and what we cannot do instead of our names first. "The girl with nasal accent who .." "The boy who has something on his head.."
Instead, it should be "Ashlee is.." and instead of pointing our flaws or what we cannot do, we can say,
"Ashlee, she owns a business. She sells Deaf Awareness apparel. She is also deaf"
"Ashlee loves to draw. She loves to help others and she really does love her family. Even though, she is deaf, she does not let things limit her!"
My daughter recently joined a Best Buddies Program. We reviewed paperwork and I really loved this one paper! "Remember to treat your buddy the way you like to be treated (The Golden Rule). It is important to use "People First Language" the disability does not define the child." The example was given, "She is a student with Down Syndrome" NOT "She is a Down Syndrome girl". I have been called "The deaf girl who is on the cheer squad" when I was in High school on a cheer-leading team. I just hope our children can prevent this and even for us as an adults to teach them and to advocate for themselves. I even would want my daughter to be called "Makayla" not "The girl who has a deaf mom". She has a name. She has good qualities. We all do.
My favorite quote these days is "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all" and to follow the "Golden Rule"- treat others as you would like to be treated.
Take a picture of yourself with a name and post on Instagram with hashtag #LAR'snamemovement (LAR is for Love, Ashlee Rose in case you are wondering) and @loveashleerose to help the Golden Rule Movement. Be an advocate for yourself, for us, for our children, and for all..
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".