Last night, the NUMBER ONE Italian television station RAI 1 had the opportunity to educate a country...and they blew it. A huge thank you goes out to my friend, Rosy, who called me at 9:21 pm to tell me that they were telling Jordan's story on the RAI. I thought maybe Jordan's interview of June 6th where he played the piano on National Television was being played again, but when I turned on the tv and saw the film, I realized that there was a film about a deaf child. I locked myself in a room, prepared to bawl my eyes out and began to watch. I could not believe that Italian television was approaching the argument of deafness on the 23rd of December, a time when families gather to watch nostalgic Christmas movies.
I quickly got into the film because the first scene I saw was when the mother is coming to terms with her child's deafness and cranks up the tv, screams his name at the top of her lungs, jams the stereo and finally slams a vase with all of her strength to get a reaction from her deaf child who plays contentedly never flinching. The mother then overdramatically throws herself on the sofa and begins bawling because she is coming to terms with the fact that her son will never hear.
The father suffers in his own way and tries to help pull the mother out of her world of agony but he just doesn't have what it takes to help her. Any mother reading this knows that we must create our own level of peace before accepting and reacting to our child's disability...it's a personal coming to terms moment and experience.
After this episode, the mom declares, "OKAY, let's go get the cochlear implant right now!" So they drive hours to the hospital, the dad goes to park the car and the mom finds herself in the hospital "waiting room" where she sits contemplating the surgery. A hospital bedroom door opens and we see a little girl with a lost look on her face and a bandage wrapped around her head. The mom makes it to the point where she meets with the surgeon, signs the consent form and hands her baby to the nurse to perform testing. She sees her child cry, stands up and says she wants to be with her baby throughout the testing.
The next scene has her in the hospital room, pondering the surgery, she stands up and escapes from the hospital, leaving her husband who had had a fender bender which had prohibited him from reaching her sooner in the hospital room.
The next interesting and responsible part of the film was a series of flashes of doctors' visits discussing the various approaches to deafness...sign language, hearing aids, cochlear implants, the child being tested, second-eighth opinions, during which time THE CHILD IS NOT HAVING ANY ACCESS TO SOUND. This portrays the agony of the mom, but not the immediate needs of the child. The final doctor they consulted was the strongest voice in the film. This doctor said that they should immediately fit the child for hearing aids for his profound hearing loss and if the child did not receive any benefit, the only other option was a cochlear implant if they wanted their child to have access to a hearing world. This doctor had a deaf nephew who currently attended the University and was "fighting off the women."
The mother decided she liked that doctor and was prepared to order hearing aids, when she received a MIRACULOUS telephone call from her friend who told her about an engineer who was busy working on the sixth generation of digital hearing aids. Then a love story begins and the deaf plot is lost. In the end they put on the miracle hearing aid, Alessandro turns to the sound of music and total joy ensues.
HMMMMMMM. In Italy, the Governmental National Healthcare System pays for Phonak conventional hearing aids as well as covers the cochlear implant. THEY DO NOT COVER 5000 + EURO WORTH OF DIGITAL HEARING AIDS. THEY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE ITALIANS ON JUST HOW EFFECTIVE THE COCHLEAR IMPLANT IS IN CHILDREN WITH A PROFOUND HEARING LOST AND THEY DROPPED THE BALL!
The ending of the film showed the boy at age eight scoring a soccer goal and the crowd going wild...it took all I had not to puke...yet it was important at the same time, very important because the deaf child was speaking and not signing...revolutionary for Italian fiction tv.
IT IS FUNDAMENTAL THAT MEDIA IS A REFLECTION OF MODERN TIMES AND PROGRESS...THIS FILM DEMONSTRATES THAT WE ARE STILL TEN YEARS BEHIND AND ONLY ENHANCED FEAR WITH REGARD TO THE COCHLEAR IMPLANT...EXTREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE!
Meet CORMAC one of TRIPLETS!!
Jen sent me this video a week ago...thank you so much!
This is Cormac 3 1/2 months post activation. For those who don't know, Cormac was born profoundly deaf in both ears. He recieved bilateral Cochlear Implants on 6/21/07at 14 months old. He was activated on 7/23/07 and 7/24/07. In this video I am covering my mouth so he can't read my lips. As of December, Cormac understands about 200 words. He has also started talking. He is one smart little cookie! (by the way, he said "ookie" yesterday for the first time!)
I took this video a while ago but did not post it becasue I was not keeping up the blog. Cormac understands around 200 words at last count. He knows the entire alphabet (which he can also sign a lot of ) and he knows his numbers 1-5 and signs those as well. He is already starting to talk. He has a few words but my favorite is Mom. Not too shabby for a 20 month old who has only been hearing for not even 4 months!
Each day the gap is getting smaller and smaller between him and Ciaran and Colin.
AMAZING!!! FOLLOW CORMAC AND HIS BROTHERS' STORY HERE.