Interview with Dr. Paddy Ladd (2 of 5)

Question: How did you coin the term “Deafhood?” (1:23)

Part 3 to 5 will be posted by end of the week.


  • moi 16 years ago

    kinda hard to understand the dude. but hey thanks for introducing us to the guy who coined the phrase… I guess? Umm I think the answer though is simple. Ever heard of “brotherhood” “sisterhood” that’s where it came from.

  • Lipstick 16 years ago

    Ha ha! I love that Paddy attributes the expression of the word “deafhood” to some Deaf person who has died. Is he channeling Laurent Clerc perhaps? Or Eliza Boardman Clerc? What a novel idea. Leave it to Paddy to keep us guessing.

  • Sandra Goldstein 16 years ago

    I still do not feel comfortable to use Deafhood. I always consider the term, deaf, as an adjective. Brotherhood, Sisterhood, motherhood, childhood, etc… Look at those terms, brother, sister, mother, child as a noun.

    The sign for Deafhood is strange… Use Sign Exact English… Deaf and hood ( sign for guts)..

    Why not use the sign the group for hood…??

    Why not use Deaf Guts instead of Deafhood??

    Same principle for Deaf culture…Deaf Way should be in place of Deaf culture…

    Deaf Studies or Deaf History or Deaf Studies are more appropriate terms than Deaf Culture.

    We should find a more appropriate term to use in place of Deafhood.

    Sandra Goldstein 🙂

  • Jean Boutcher 16 years ago

    Salut Joey,

    Forgive me, Joey, for my illiteracy in British Sign Language (BSL). I should have learned BSL
    (shame on me), I wonder if it is possible for someone to translate Dr. Paddy Ladd’s BSL into ASL or to post a transcript below
    your vlog.

    Best to you and Dr. Ladd!

  • Joey Baer 16 years ago

    BSL stands for British Sign Language.

  • Barb 16 years ago

    yeah,,, it kinda to understanding what he tried to say…but waiting for next vlog…I agreed with number 1 moi’s comment….very simple words…

  • DT 16 years ago

    If he signed in BSL, none of us would have gotten much of what he said; he used a lot of ASL and I got the gist of what he was saying. Thanks, Paddy, for knowing as much ASL as you do!

  • Ella Lentz 16 years ago

    Hello! Always wonderful to see dear Paddy “live” (signing, being himself)…
    Wanted to respond to commenters…if you don’t mind…

    Paddy is using American Sign Language WITH British Sign Language “accent”…that’s why it’s a bit difficult to understand just like hearing students having some difficulty understanding professors speaking in English but with an accent.

    Need to remind everybody that his ASL is far far far far superior than my BSL or Japanese Sign Language!! I was there learning from Deaf people in both countries and I did manage to utilize their languages in communicating basic ideas with some Deaf people there. They had hard time understanding me but they were patient because they were interested in my ideas. Same as ASL students here in USA (both Deaf or hearing) having accents as they acquire mastery in ASL…often they are difficult to understand because they are not skilled enough in ASL. If they have worthy ideas, it’s always worth the time and patience to communicate with them and be sure to keep on encouraging (and challenging) them to master ASL.

    Sandra, regarding the term Deafhood…it is an English word. Now Paddy has assigned a sign to it (a compound sign)…and how you interpret it (Deaf Guts)…may be different from how others interpret it. I like to interpret it as “Deaf Soul.”

    Basically, it’s a term to contrast “deafness” when discussing the dimension or reality of “Deaf”. You said “deaf” is an adjective. You are right. We use that. We embrace that word, but we can see that there are two extremely different meaning to the word “deaf” .

    I can now clarify when I analyze or ask which dimension the person or system is viewing “deaf”—and its either “deafness” or “Deafhood”.

    Deafness reflects the medical dimension which the ignorant system out there is stuck with.

    Deafhood (thanks to Paddy) reflects the true positive experience thousands thousands thousands of Deaf people all over the world and throughout the ages have experienced which is very different than the “deafness” model.

    Deafhood also helps us to process the healing de-colonization of our mind, body and soul from Oralism/Audism mentality. Deafness “heals” us by hearing devices and oral training (i.e. Auditory Verbal Therapy, SimCom, etc.).

    We do need that term, but we do not need to be stuck with that term, i.e. other written languages translating Deafhood may not have an exact equivalence, but since Paddy has proposed that word, it’s been very helpful for many of us. And again, it does not replace “deaf”, but it clarifies WHICH DIMENSION something/someone has upon “deaf”. It can help with better communication and clearer actions/goals of organizations, etc.

  • drmzz 16 years ago

    Understood him clearly. Point is, it came out of him, within. Interesting. Deaf soul cannot be denied. LOL to the channeling comment.

  • cnkatz 16 years ago

    Thank you Joey for doing this. A great service, you are doing, for deafkind and more!

    Thank you Paddy for being willing to be interviewed. This clip, your information on how you coined the word, helps me tremendously in developing a paper discussing deafhood in the light of major theroies on stages of development (Erikson – psycho-social development, Kohlberg – moral development, and Fowler – faith development).

    Your The Deafhood Papers Vol 1. paper in the NAD monograph was the first paper you coined the word. Attributing to some deaf force (entity-“god?” behind and above you in coining the word – that’s the D spirit – love that!

    Thank you for sharing! Looking forward to three more parts!

  • John Critser 16 years ago

    Paddy used his common sense on the best term to coin: Deafhood. It’s the brotherhood of Deafhood in accepting the Deaf identity, and accepting who we are and seeking others like us to communicate with in our language, ASL, BSL, or any signed languages of the world. It is the intricacies of Deaf culture that Deafhood can only explain.

    If we ask an oral person to explain the cultural view of Deafness, what do we get? The medicinal view.

    Thus was borne Deafhood to straighten everything out, to enable people in an identity crisis to find their identity, to understand what being Deaf is all about in our own shoes, not based on ones’ assumptions, or based on the medicinal viewpoint.

    Medicinal view: “we’re abnormal”

    Deafhood view: “we are normal, just like everyone, except that we can’t hear.”

    Deaf studies is more of a study thoroughly on both Deaf culture and the medicinal view, the history, both on the Deaf educational and the Deaf community platform.

    It was not about somebody who had died, channeling messages to Dr. Paddy Ladd in coining the term Deafhood. That was just one miniscule comment, what is revelant is that he figured out that “Deafhood” made the most sense in describing the deep inner workings of our Deaf identity and our world, our culture, our language, our pride, and our sense of being able to function in this world and be successful just like anybody can be.

    Deafhood is more cultural and community thing. It is something that can only be from the inside, or incorporated from the inside, from your sense of identity and sense of community, sense of culture. We are a legitimate culture, not just the deaf way..every Deaf person can be different, but the Deaf culture in whole is what it is: Deaf culture!

    I believe what Paddy was talking about is

  • John Critser 16 years ago

    that he put everything together, his thoughts, his papers, all the Deaf who was and is, and will be, he carefully thought out looking at the big picture, and only one term came to his mind:

    Deafhood. Looking at the big picture, that was the only one term that came to mind.

  • deafkathy 16 years ago

    Simple ASL by Paddy shown thousands words! Bravo!

  • moi 16 years ago

    The “moi” that posted here is not me – it’s a different person. Just want to make sure there’s no confusion.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. Thanks, Joey, for doing this!!! *beam*

  • Justin 16 years ago

    Hi There,

    Ella, Thank you for explaing clearly about the term using “Deaf” and “Deafhood” as Deaf soul. I seem to understand what Dr. Paddy Ladd’s signing and down on the wayI read the “warning” with explaination that he uses ASL with BSL. It took me a while but the whole time, I understood him clearly.

    I would like to share to what comes to my mind when Dr. Ladd’s search for word and end up “Deafhood.” One thing that I remember was watching a movie called, “Parenthood” with Steve Martin. How a parent experinces raising children through their life. It is a good movie and funny, too.

    As compare to “Deafhood” to me it is like how I was raised with my parent and where I am going as a Deaf person in hearing world and deaf world. What my experinces in life as Deaf person. I don’t feel like it a “Bold” name as “Deaf power” but self-understanding of what I am going through as “Deafhood.”

    I am getting at the point where I want to buy Dr. Paddy Ladd’s book and go deeper to what he have written.

    One thing that is nice is to see more interview of Paddy and I feel more connects to him as a Deaf person. Looking forward to see more of this interviews.

    Keep it up, Joey!

  • Orkid : ) 16 years ago

    Hello Joey –

    I am so glad to watch Dr. Paddy Ladd explained his reasons behind the term “Deaf-Hood.”

    I am watching him in ASL, clear. I don’t think he is using his BSL because you interviewed him in ASL. However, I noticed that he used a little bit of GESTUNO.

    I cannot wait for the next interview with Dr. Ladd once again.

    Great to watch Dr. Paddy Ladd.
    We all need to learn something about ourself and feel we need to have all ASL users (both deaf/hh and hearing) to have positive, supportive communities without problems.

    I remember Dr. Paddy Ladd did mention that we still need hearing ASL users/supporters to join us in this path of Deafhood.

    – O.

  • Kami 16 years ago

    Glad to see a real picture of Paddy as I had been wondering what he really looked like.
    Good job with your book.
    Many thanks, Paddy.

  • Kevin 16 years ago

    THANKS Joey for the interview! I’m stuck with dial up but still downloaded both of the interviews.

    Ella Lentz, I truly appreciate your comment. It needed to be said. The completely shallow and complaining comments are more proof that Deaf are in desperate need for people like Paddy Ladd and you.

    It is because of him, you and others, I’m sitting up and listening and more importantly, it’s making me digest concepts that were not available to me before and changing my attitudes to the very core.. Used to have an extremely negative view of Deaf Culture.

  • Merle Baldridge 16 years ago

    I can relate to Dr Padd very well. I came up with many words and slogans out of nowhere but from my heart. It is very mystery but beautiful passion in Deaf’s hearts when coming up with right words!

  • Suzy 16 years ago

    Oh! I love it when commenters like ELLA and DRMZZ say things like DEAFHOOD is a spiritual experience.

    Hey, aren’t we spiritual beings who happen to be use Ameslan/ASL and English for communication?! We aren’t deaficit, not one bit! (pardon me…i grew up with puns!)

    gotta laugh at some things in the life we create!

  • Lu Williams 16 years ago

    It seem kinda strange that now all of the sudden people want to reword “deaf” to “deafhood”
    Why dont we just leave it as it is No matter
    what changes we make…no one is ever gonna be happy and we cant please everyone.

  • nomad 16 years ago

    i think dr. ladd’s work and discussions like this are a long time coming and, as an interpreter, it is wonderful to watch this happen.
    i still don’t quite know what, if any, my role is as a hearing interpreter in this process, but i will be watching and smiling…

  • patti durr 16 years ago

    ya hoo for part two

    thanks joey

    thanks paddy

    re: Deafhood as a spiritual praxis – yes true true true Paddy discusses this notion in depth – the journey is a spiritual one

    the sign orientation of ear-mouth (Deaf) intuition- i think is referencing this notion that there is something primal / organic / natural / spiritual within each of us who are d-e-a-f. to me the sign as Paddy does it seems to convey this notion of coming into touch with one’s center as an individual and as a collective unit

    i was wondering why so many U.S. Deaf folks sign it ear-mouth (Deaf) then fingerspell h-o-o-d?

    not a criticism – but i have been wondering why?
    is it cuz the “intuition/ soul” soul part signed too low for a compound sign – is the distance to great to travel from the mouth to the center chakra via sign motion – does it seem it will be cut off in VLOG camera shots so this is why folks r fingerspelling the last 4 letters or had folks not seen paddy sign this before?

    just curious?

    now joey – is part 3 – “so why do you sign it Deaf – pointing at center area, Paddy?”

    i think it is a good question and id be curious to see his response



  • C 16 years ago

    I understand Paddy clear. Interesting how he came up with that term, it was not during the writing of his book, but at a point where the title of the book came up.

    I’m with Sandra Goldstein on her view of that term.

  • deafchipmunk 16 years ago


    Many thanks, Joey for sharing Paddy with us via your vlog. I find him very interesting and sense of humour!

    Many thanks Ella and John Critser, for your clear explanation about Deafhood as well as Deaf”soul”.

    I have thought that Deafhood is like we accept who we are and embrace our lifestyle as Deaf. We reject deafness.

    That is what we need more positive about our Deaf and ASL and spread that out….

    Great Vlogging, Joey!


  • J.J. Puorro 16 years ago

    Cool! Looking forward to parts 3,4,and 5 soon!

    As for Paddy’s signing…I understood just fine..looked like 90% ASL with some BSL thrown in..but I even understood the gist of his BSL signs…

  • Platonic's Eye 16 years ago

    Fantastic, after all I have been recieved the concept somewhat vague all about deafhood until what You explained now I see more positive on other side that is what I need to understand the difference between deafness and deafhood that would be very helpful to number of people who want to understand . Your explanation is very appreciated, thanks for clarification of what Deafhood!

  • Jon Savage 16 years ago


  • deb ann 16 years ago

    it’s very interesting to watch his BSL and ASL and then I watch it again for his answer about the deafhood. Interesting! I’d like to read his book. What is the title of the book? But I’m looking forward to the upcoming parts of his vlog!

  • deb ann 16 years ago

    what a minute…is the book’s title, deafhood?

  • Joey Baer 16 years ago

    The book is called “Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood”. It can be purchased at

    Good luck!

  • David Ennis 16 years ago

    The concept of Deafhood is so perfect. When I got a term of Deafhood for first time in my life, this term refers to neighborhood, not sisterhood or brotherhood because I respect my neighbors as as equal as they respect me. In other words, this term helps removing the Audistic practices.

  • deb ann 16 years ago

    Thanks, Joey!

  • Barb DiGi 16 years ago

    I love it when Dr. Ladd said he coined the term, Deafhood, from a Deaf ancestor that shot through his signs (mouth). I do believe in those spiritual messages and it is meaningful.

    Using the term, Deafhood, is fitting since the definition of hood according to the dictionary means “state or condition of being”. So it leads to the question: What does it mean being Deaf? What are the conditions as a Deaf person?

    It is extremely the opposite as identifying someone who has a deafness condition like Ella pointed out that it is viewed as a medical condition. Deafhood is free of that since it focuses on a person going through multiple experiences as a Deaf person as a part of the process. This is what I am interpreting.


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