Thursday, April 1, 2010

"My Deaf Family" - Marlee Matlin's New Youtube Series

If you haven't seen My Deaf Family yet, go check it out! Or watch the pilot here (yes, it is captioned):

I saw this yesterday after several bloggers posted about it. Marlee Matlin is producing this show about Jared, a hearing 15-year-old who lives with the five other members of his family, four of whom are deaf. The 10-minute pilot, linked and embedded below, covers the basics of Jared's family, his family's use of American Sign Language and a visit to his siblings' school for a basketball game.

I really enjoyed this first episode. Jared's family is just like any other family, really. They fight, play basketball in the street, order pizza for dinner and take road trips. The unique thing is that they mostly communicate with American Sign Language, and of course their Deafness changes the way they interact with the world (for example, they order pizza by video relay, and the mom talks a bit about how she approaches hearing people about her loss).

Everyone in the video has something interesting to say about hearing loss. The mother in particular is opinionated and has a lot to say, while the dad seems more thoughtful and quiet. Jared obviously loves and supports his family. Only thing is - I feel like somebody is going to end up in an accident if the driver keeps signing at 75 miles per hour on the freeway! ('Course, same thing can happen if you love to talk and gesture!)

I've subscribed to the MyDeafFamily channel on Youtube and will be keeping an eye out for more webisodes!


  1. Its been said that deaf drivers are vastly better drivers than hearing drivers. I sign all the time when I'm driving with someone whether its 30 mph, 80 mph, 55 mph.

  2. Communication while driving is fine as long as you keep your attention on the road, whether you are talking or signing.

    I have not seen any studies either way regarding deaf people driving - if you have seen anything, let me know! I'm sure it would be interesting reading :)

  3. Hi Megan,
    I want to post about this show too. I watched it and then had my teenage son watch it. Do you have any idea when the next episode will be available?

  4. I've been looking around for that info but haven't been able to find anything. Marlee Matlin's twitter seems to indicate she needs financing for more episodes: and that she put this on youtube when television rejected it. I hope there is more soon.

  5. The mother, Bridgetta, was one of the protest leaders at Gallaudet in 1988. She is a natural leader and being a leader, one is usually strong with opinions. The father, Leslie, is not a leader and is more a follower. He fits quite well for a strong leader like his wife. Bridgetta is comes from a hereditary deaf family which explains why 3 out of 4 children are deaf. Leslie came from a hearing family, so Jared, the oldest, has to have his father's dominant genes.

    As for signing while driving, all deaf people do it. My parents did. I do. My husband does. Even my CODA son does. Never have any of us gotten into accidents due to signing while driving. Hearing loss make us use our eyes more effectively while hearing people depend more on hearing and use their peripheral vision quite poorly therefore not great drivers if eyes are off the road. Our field of vision is used more effectively than hearing people do. My mother in law still doesn't get this after years of riding with me and my husband and she herself got into 2 accidents for not paying attention to the for talking on phone and another for talking to her elderly mother next to her...that goes to prove my point.

  6. sign the petition at:



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