AUDISM  (with a D not a T) is a form of discrimination aimed at persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Some examples are people with covered mouths trying to speak with those who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as standing 6 feet away from  a deaf person where we are unable to communicate from such distance.
 
According to Deaf to Work, those who are deaf and hard of hearing have a 75%  unemployment rate.  19% who are employed are under-employed.
 
The deaf and hard of hearing is the group that has more police brutality and are more likely to be shot and killed by police due to not being able to hear commands.
 
Public high school teachers are usually not trained for deaf children.  Deaf school programs are almost non-existent.   Deaf people end up coming out of school only reading at a third grade level.
 
It is crucial that all children be able to see adults and other children’s faces for communication.  For deaf children, it is nearly impossible to learn oral communication and communicate effectively without seeing facial expressions and reading lips. About 30 to 40% of communication comes from reading lips.  Even more come from facial expressions.  ASL (American Sign Language) uses facial expressions.  Deaf and hard of hearing children are very isolated and have high rates of depression and anxiety.  With masks and addition to the 6 feet social distancing, this makes the issue exponentially worse.  This totally silences and isolates children at a crucial time in life.  I am a deaf person who has learned to speak orally normally to most and middle ground for some with a deaf accent.  If there were mask mandates and Covid restrictions when I was a child, I doubt I would be able to speak very well,  nor be able to obtain the careers that I have had as Meteorologist, Teacher, and Scientist.
 
Jay Lewchanin