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Oral Division

Adult Deaf Oral Division

The Oral Division within the Deaf Society was formed to support the increasing number of deaf people who were educated in an oral environment. It operated separately from the Deaf General Committee for many years and even had its own division in the Silent Messenger publications..

The Oral Division began in 1958 as a result of greater reliance on the oral methods of educating deaf children in schools and the  provision of special facilities and technology for educating the Hard of Hearing. It was at a meeting at Gordon-Davis House, Stanmore on 30 October 1958 that a group of sixteen interested folk considered a programme to support the oral deaf. The Board of the Deaf Society was prepared to make its premises, Elizabeth House, available for a programme of activities similar to those existing for the totally deaf  but with one difference - Sign Language was not to be used at all. The hall was adapted to provide sound equipment for those who were Hard of Hearing. 

The first meeting of the new Oral Division took place on 13 December 1958 in the form of a social evening.  One year later, in 1959, the Oral Division Younger Set was formed, and over the ensuing years, the Oral Division established a variety of their own committees and clubs such as the General Committee, Women’s Club and Soccer Club. It is remembered by one member of the Oral Division that on social Club Nights the rule that there was to be no fingerspelling or Sign Language was rather strictly enforced.

The Adult Deaf Oral Division of the Deaf Society functioned effectively as a completely separate division for 12 years until it was discontinued in 1971 at the request of its members.  The Oral Women’s Club, however, continued into the 1980s.

 

Sources

The Silent Messenger 1959

The Silent Messenger July and September 1970