Introduction / History
The Deaf community (capital D) is the group of deaf people who identify and communicate with each other using their own sign language. Spanish Sign Language is a language totally different from simply signing or spelling Spanish. Nearly all Deaf Spaniards can read some written Spanish and communicate to a limited degree by lip reading. Their ability to read Spanish, however, is very limited.
Only ten percent of deaf people have deaf parents; few deaf children can communicate adequately with their hearing parents. Instead, deaf people congregate with each other at "associations" in urban centers. These "associations" are open most nights and provide full programs of social, cultural, sporting and support services so that most socialization takes place with other Deaf in these settings.
Spanish Deaf are nominally Catholic but most have no interest in pursuing an understanding of spiritual things. There are no churches just for Deaf. Two groups of Deaf meet regularly as part of a hearing church and there are Catholic services with signing in most of the larger population centers.
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