Friday, November 2, 2007


Look at this video: For Mamaw Tina & Papaw Jeff


Evan's mom sent me this rockin' video of the finest looking Spiderman I've seen yet! Evan is four years old and wears hearing aids. GO EVAN!!!! I SEE A FUTURE IN FILM!!!!!

Thank goodness for hearing aids! As I stated in a previous blog, Jordan has a profound hearing loss and our audiologist immediately fitted him for hearing aids ten years ago upon his diagnosis. Jordan wore hearing aids for eight years before we decided to go ahead with cochlear implant surgery. Cochlear implant surgery is not an option for all children as there are varying degrees of hearing loss, and according to FDA guidelines:
Children between 12 months and 4 years who get
little or no benefit from appropriately fitted hearing
aids and do not reach developmentally-appropriate
auditory milestones are candidates for cochlear
implants, as are children 4 years and older with
severe-profound hearing loss who score < 12% on a
difficult open-set word recognition test or < 30 % on
an open set sentence test.*
*These are FDA guidelines in the US. Parents should consult a
cochlear implant center well before their child reaches 12 months
of age to begin candidacy determination and insurance pre-approval. (Copied from the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle Brochure - PARENTS TO PARENTS:COCHLEAR IMPLANTS FOR KIDS...IF YOUR AUDIOLOGIST OR EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAM WOULD BE INTERESTED IN OFFERING COPIES OF THIS BROCHURE, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT
Regarding the various degrees of hearing loss (see for more information) There are basically four degrees (countries outside of the United States may not use the same terms):
Mild - At 26-45 db, a little difficulty hearing speech. Even a mild hearing loss can be serious for children still learning to talk.
Moderate - At 46-65 db, more difficulty hearing speech.
Severe - At 66-85 db, a lot of difficulty hearing speech. It is at this level that we begin to use the term "deaf."
Profound - Anything over 85 db. With this level of hearing loss, hearing aids may or may not help; cochlear implants are often an option.

Parents choose whatever approach to deafness they find works best for their families and this depends greatly on the child's degree of hearing loss...


Keri said...

Hello, I found your blog via the Deaf Characters in Literature blog. As I read your posts, I couldn't help but wonder if American Sign Language or even Italian Sign Language, being that's where you are now, is being used by you and your family at all? Even though your son has a cochlear implant, he is still profoundly deaf and part of that deaf identity is communicating in their native language, which is sign language.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comment. Maybe my situation will give you a different perspective on the "deaf identity" aspect of your question. My native language is English and my husband's is Italian. We have chosen to raise Jordan with his first language as Italian, no easy task considering I did not speak the language; thanks to the cochlear implant he is now becoming bilingual and learning to speak English, this would not have been possible with his hearing aids. Jordan has an "American identity" that is just as important as his "deaf identity" as he has grandparents that would very much like to be able to communicate with him and vice versa. I am very aware of his "deaf identity" and tried to take an Italian Sign Language course in September but there weren't enough participants to form a class, so they said they would call me in January when a new class forms. I asked him if he would like to take the class with me and he said "No." I am taking the class so that I am prepared for the day when he says, "Yes." Thanks again for your post! Jodi

MKChaikof said...

For Keri: As the parent of two daughters, ages 20 and 12, born profoundly deaf but hearing and speaking thanks to bilateral cochlear implants and the Auditory-Verbal approach, I disagree with what you wrote. My daughters hear and speak and are fully participating members of the hearing world with all the richness that hearing has opened up to them. Simply because they were born deaf doesn't mean that they automatically become part of another world. ASL is not their native language; English is. You obviously have no clue what the reality is for kids born deaf today who receive CIs at a very young age and learn to hear and speak well. Here is a quote from my 20-year-old that says it all, "I have never found a moment when I wished that I knew ASL. Even if I learned it, I would never use it on a regular basis because I know so few people who know ASL. I'm leading too rich and busy a life to have time to learn ASL. My deafness will always be part of me, but it doesn't define who I am as I live my life
always surrounded by hearing people. Although, I do have deaf friends, they all have cochlear implants and communicate orally like me."

monye said...


I am the grandmother of Jordan Eric DelDottore and I must say reading your blog was very disturbing to me. Perhaps I can give you a grandmother's perspective. I, like you in the beginning was very shallow and closed minded. I thought my daughter was crazy not to teach Jordan to sign. I was very leary of an invasive surgery and wanted no parts of it. The hardest thing for a stubborn old know it all like me was to admit I was wrong. But I must say thank you G-d that my daughter was so persistent and did not listen to me. I, was wrong. Watching Jordan grow and develope because of what he hears is the greatest blessing I could ever ask for (except for shopping) just kidding Jodi. Now when I call him on the telephone he hears me and we have conversations. Hello, I could not sign or communicate with him, since I am in America and he is in Italy. I think the deaf community should get off their high horse and look out for what is best for the hearing impaired person instead of what is best for their egos. To sign or to get a cochlear implant should be a personal decision made by the person who is affected not by pressure of outside influences. No one should judge another or tell another how to live their life. We should all respect and love one another no matter what limitations or not affect someone else. I close in saying I am very proud of my daughter for her part she has played in making her son's life the best it can be. It has not always been easy but her strong conviction and her never ending search for what could be better for her son has gotten her through. Not to mention a little help from her angel, pop pops who I am sure is always looking over her shoulder. I hope my letter has given you some insight into another point of view and maybe has made you think twice about being so judgemental.

A Loving Baba and A Loving Mamma

Unknown said...

Keri and others...
My mom's comment went a little overboard, because I didn't perceive Keri's comment as an attack, just as a loaded curiosity. My mother made some extreme comments that were motivated by a couple of events. First of all, as she said, she pressured me to teach Jordan sign language from the moment we discovered his hearing loss, we decided that we would attempt to teach him Italian as his first language and then incorporate sign if we discovered this wouldn't work. Jordan learned to speak Italian and we found that we did not need to use sign language, not even as a bridge for better communication. We then began teaching Jordan English, which he is still learning. This entire process has been a frustrating one for my family because they had difficulty learning Italian and could not effectively communicate with Jordan other than by giving him a lot of unconditional love, while with me I heard the constant question, "When are you going to teach him English?" Teaching him to speak Italian was enough of a struggle. The night before his ci surgery my mom called me to beg me not to go ahead with the operation, I said, "Mom, I know you're worried, we're going ahead with the operation." My parents flew to Italy to be here for the activation. As I've already said, the activation was a nightmare and Jordan refused to wear the processor. My mom looked at me with the "I told you so" look and I was suffering for my child.
When we managed to convince Jordan to wear the bte, he flew from there and now is able to communicate much better with my parents.
This past summer my mom showed a member of the DEAF community a copy of my book RALLY CAPS, when this person saw that the main character had a ci, she grabbed the book from my mom's hands, threw it on the ground and stepped on it.
This is where the anger from my mom's post came from. I am not defending her, she is prepared to speak for herself in regard to what she wrote.
I am merely posting this because I have created this blog to inform, educate and create a place for productive dialogue. I know that cis are controversial for a portion of the DEAF community, I hope this blog can help to enlighten others as to how effective the ci can be, and stimulate a reasonable discussion regarding choices in deafness.
Had this been any other person, I might have moderated this comment, but sometimes it's nice to know that your mom is willing to say she's wrong to anyone who will listen...Jodi

Keri said...

Hello all, thank you for your response to my question. Before I go further, I want to clarify that while I don't choose cochlear implants for myself or my family, I respect the fact that others choose that avenue. In fact, I have several friends who use a CI, some friends who are former CI users, and am also friends with a hearing mother who chose a CI for her son (although she does sign with him). That said, I was a little surprised by the hostility of some of the comments (not Jodi's though). As for the person who stomped on the book, please keep in mind that it is an act of *one* person's opinion. Other people in the Deaf community would never do such a thing like that. I'm sorry that it happened and hope that your perspective of the Deaf community isn't tarnished based on that one act.

Anyways, all I was asking was if Jodi and her family were learning/using sign language. I know what it's like to be a deaf person and it can be very isolating because no amount of technology can make a deaf person "hearing." It can *assist* with their functionality in the hearing world but it's not the same as being hearing. So we do miss out in some areas and how much we miss out varies from person to person. Knowing sign will give us an opportunity to connect with other people like us, deaf with or without a CI.

Jodi, you don't have to wait until a class becomes available to learn Italian Sign Language. Instead, you can check into the Deaf community and see if they have gatherings, a Deaf club or a Deaf school nearby with social events.

Besides, ASL is all the rave with hearing babies so there's nothing wrong with using sign language with CI users. Children who know two or more languages (voice or signed) tend to score better on IQ tests. What's the harm? That's all. No hostility here...just trying to bridge the gap between the Deaf community and parents of deaf children. =)