The dilemma in the deaf community: linguistic minority or persons with disability?
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This thesis examines the dominant construction of deaf people as persons with disability, and contrasts it with the suggested construction of deaf people as linguistic minority, with the view to resolving the dilemma regarding their classification. The principal objective is to provide deaf people with the best legislative option for the protection of their rights. An interdisciplinary approach is followed, analysing the medical and the sociocultural perspective, in order to provide the reader with a holistic view of the situation. Both legislative options are assessed and their implications are examined, whereas special emphasis is given in areas such as health, education, culture and language. It is demonstrated that both options apply. Thus, the thesis concludes by bridging the two options and by suggesting a common approach. Several recommendations are provided calling for cohesion and mutual respect, inclusion of deaf peoples’ preferred point of view with a view to empowering their position. Last but not least, emphasis is placed on their right to choice, their right of self-determination and on the development of understanding and respect of diversity.