30 years of the ADA: Measuring progress and calling for improvements

By Anna Leahy

At age 4, Jaipreet Virdi lost most of her hearing during a severe bout of meningitis. For years she endured a range of fruitless treatments that ultimately led her to study the ways medicine and technology sought to cure deafness. In her insightful book “Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History,” Virdi probes how society perceives deafness and challenges the idea that a disability is a deficit. Instead, she views deafness and other disabilities as differences that come with the individual’s responsibility for participation, and society often makes such participation difficult. “In my case,” Virdi writes, “this negotiation [of how to lead a normal life] involved a series of attempts to ‘cure’ my deafness so I could hear better, speak better, be better.”

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