A Different World

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010120030421

A series of five fifteen minute programmes exploring what it feels like to be deaf and asking whether deafness can enrich a life. Programme One: For a hearing person, it might be inconceivable to wish deafness on a child. But, during her pregnancy, Dr Sharon Ridgeway, who's deaf herself, secretly hoped that her child would be born deaf too, and here describes her delight when that wish came true. She explains why the continuation of deafness through five generations of her family is to be celebrated. For Cornelia Wilson, who is herself hearing and has two deaf sons, the problems began with the misplaced sympathy of her health visitor and continue through the false assumptions of the hearing world - but she here describes her optimism that they will lose nothing for having been born without full hearing.

010220030422

A series of five fifteen minute programmes exploring what it feels like to be deaf and asking whether deafness can enrich a life. Programme Two: Is deafness a solvable medical problem or a state which is not problematic and has no need of being solved? Margaret du Feu, a consultant psychiatrist, outlines the importance for a child's development of answering this question early on, and recalls her own decision to have a cochlear implant, while her colleague Tim Hardie describes the confusion of a parent facing conflicting arguments over what would be best for his deaf child.

0103Personal Identity20030423

A series of five fifteen minute programmes exploring what it feels like to be deaf and asking whether deafness can enrich a life. Programme Three: To what extent does being deaf shape your personal identity? And how do deaf people find the place in the deaf world that is right for them? TV director John Maidens and film maker Samuel Dore talk about what it means to them to have been born profoundly deaf - and about what their deafness has given them.

010420030424

A series of five fifteen minute programmes exploring what it feels like to be deaf and asking whether deafness can enrich a life. Programme Four: Richard Parker woke up one morning to find that he could see his wife speaking but not hear a word she said. Michael Simmons, thirty years older than Richard, has gradually found himself sidelined from what he calls 'the cement between the bricks of life' - the apparently trivial comments which, once missed, are not worth repeating but which effectively leave a deaf person out of the flow of everyday conversation. Both are learning to live with less hearing than they once took for granted - and while one is beginning to appreciate the unexpected bonuses, the other is very far from seeing them.

0105Martha's Vineyard20030425

Martha's Vineyard, an island community off the east coast of the USA, is a prime example of how the ignorance of the hearing world is more of a handicap than deafness itself. For nearly three centuries, every child in this isolated community learnt to sign from birth, as there was an unusually high rate of deafness on the island. To be deaf was not to be handicapped - to be ignorant of sign language was. Professor Nora Groce, an anthropologist from Yale University, introduces us to Martha's Vineyard, while deaf people in 21st century Britain explain how it might hold lessons for us now.