A CODA and her mother on ‘CODA’s portrayal of deaf culture
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Three Rochester Institute Of Technology grads were involved in producing the film "CODA", an Oscar-winning film about a hearing child with deaf parents.
One academic advisor with the National Technical Institute For The Deaf, (NTID) which is a part of RIT, sat down with News10NBC’s Stephanie Duprey to talk about the film.
"CODA" stands for "Child of Deaf Adults". Lisa DeWindt Sommer who is deaf and works at NTID, has two hearing children. Kaitlin Sommer, her daughter, said she thought the movie was wonderful, but it’s just “a start”.
"It’s so wonderful to see deaf people on screen, I think that is so important and I think we need to see more of that,” Kaitlin said.
Kaitlin is a CODA, a child of a deaf parent. She said the film "CODA" showcased the challenges of navigating the hearing world and the deaf world, but this movie is just a start for deaf representation.
"One thing I’ve seen a lot of CODA’s talk about, and one thing I was a little upset about is the actress who portrayed the coda wasn’t actually a coda herself, so I feel like if you had an actual coda there it would have been easier to express the actual experience that we go through, and that’s why I say this movie is just a start.”
Kaitlin’s mom, Lisa, is an academic advisor at NTID. Lisa said, she too, enjoyed the movie but wants to see more in-depth concepts as it relates to deaf and CODA families.
"Discuss more issues, that happen related to a hearing child with deaf parents, with schooling and how sometimes deaf parents, there is a sense of isolation,” Lisa said.
Something else Lisa pointed out was how important distinctions are. CODA, with a "C", is for kids 18 and older, KODA, with a "K", Kid of Deaf Adults is under 18. The film, CODA follows the experiences of a hearing girl who interprets for her deaf family members and has aspirations to be a singer.
"I think it’s important to discuss culture and have deaf culture in mind and to talk about American Sign Language, and fingerspelling,” Lisa added.
Kaitlin also said that people shouldn’t be afraid to interact with a deaf person and that there are ways to communicate.
"I feel like in Rochester people are more used to interacting with deaf people, used to interacting with deaf people, so it’s not as much of a shock, but I think this movie is super important too, because it exposes people to, like ‘There’s deaf people here.’ ‘Here are the struggles that they go through,’ and, you know, not to run and hide when you interact with a deaf person. You know, like, there’s ways to communicate and avoiding them isn’t something that you should be doing."
Click here to see some tips RIT has for interacting with deaf people as a hearing person.