When a group of people come and live together, share common goals and carry out certain responsibilities towards each other, they form a community.
Any given community is bound by its own language and culture. For the Deaf community, Sign Language is the binding factor
The Deaf community does not exist in one common geographical area. Deaf individuals exist within the community
This society makes them isolated individuals regarding shared language and goals with the broader society
Schools for the Deaf form the foundation upon which the Deaf community, Deaf culture and Sign Language develop and thrive. It is at school where Deaf children meet others like themselves for the first time and learn to sign from peers and Sign Language becomes their first language.
The Deaf child acquires the culture of the Deaf community which entails common beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviors, social habits, values and technology
The school forms a very important collective base which is for Deaf people the equivalent of home in geographical terms
Members of the Deaf community with other members
The four avenues to membership in the Deaf community are:
- Audio logical which refers to actual loss of hearing ability
- Political which refers to the potential ability to exert influence on matters which directly affect the Deaf community on a local, provincial, or national level.
- linguistic which refers to the ability to understand and use Sign Language fluently, and
- social which refers to the ability to participate in social events of the Deaf community.
Hearing people, for example, parents, relatives, professionals, or friends, can be accepted as members of the Deaf community only if they have an appropriate attitude towards the Deaf community. This means they can enter into the Deaf community via three avenues:
- linguistic, and
The Deaf community considers itself as a linguistic/cultural minority, not only in Uganda but in other countries too.
Socialization in the Deaf community
Because of the bonding among Deaf people which starts in schools of the Deaf, Deaf adults gather in certain places and engage in social events involving Deaf people and hearing friends who have a certain degree of fluency in Uganda Sign Language.