Wednesday, January 9, 2008

THE DEAF COMMUNITY NEEDS TO LISTEN TO ITS KIDS

The following was a comment on Rita's Expressive Blog WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE NOT ACCEPTING OF THEIR DEAFNESS?

As for people who were born Deaf, their acceptance really pans out to how their parents treat them and look at them. If a parent refuses to allow the child to learn ASL, the child will feel something is missing, especially when the child meets a group of Deaf people using sign language in a public place, like a restaurant, or a movie theater. That can serve as an epiphany to the Deaf child who only knows the oralist method, or the cued speech method.
The parents need to nurture their Deaf children with love, with encouragement to have Deaf friends like themselves, the parents need to discard their fear of the Deaf community. It is only natural when a parent fears the Deaf community, because the parents do not know how to sign, and the parents want to know what their children are saying.
In short, sometimes parents don’t realize they neglect their children by depriving them to full access to communication.
Some Deaf people do have lipreading skills, if the hearing person doesn’t know how to sign, the work is cut out for Deaf people in straining their eyes to lipread. If the Deaf individual cannot lipread, and cannot read ASL signs, that person would struggle with acceptance of the Deafness, because that person doesn’t have full access to communication.
There’s frustration, insecurity, awkwardness, insufficience, incontinence, low self-esteem, low morale, and many other waves of emotions.
One thing which causes some not to accept their Deafness is pride, they worry more about how the hearing world views them more than how their fellow counterparts (Deaf people) view them. For people, pride can be their worse enemy. They want to keep pushing the “envelope” in being able to function without having to use sign language.
That is their choice, and their loss, that is, if they feel more comfortable in the hearing world.
Sometimes they fool themselves.
We have identity, and acceptance of our deafness, and we gain MANY friends in the Deaf world.
Either it is our gain, or our loss, it is our choice. Do we know what our identity is?
I have a Deaf identity, and I am proud of it, and am happier that way.


Oh, where to begin? First of all, thank you to deafread.com for posting all of these thought-provoking blogs and once again thanks to Abbie because I don't know how long it would have been before I found the site. Second of all, the deaf community is evolving because the cochlear implant represents the opportunity for deaf children to participate actively in the hearing community. More importantly, there are a growing number of COCHLEAR IMPLANT COMMUNITIES.
My parents divorced when I was very young and the war started. I was placed in the middle between two battling, hurt and immature adults and I learned to become objective and never take sides because I loved both of my parents. I am Jewish and live in a country with crucifixes in every classroom and restaurant, but I know who I am and do not expect others to necessarily conform to my religion. My sister Niki is a lesbian(dyke) and has created a strong identity within that community. If she loves a woman, I love her and just want her to be happy. I am an American living in an Italian world, yet my identity is American and I respect the Italian way of thinking. The important thing is that each of us is comfortable within our own skin and feels at home with each individual identity that forms who we are as the beings that move through the day. STOP JUDGING OTHERS, take a look at who you are and love yourself for all that life has brought you.
I created this blog to tell a little about our experience and to promote awareness as to other inspirational experiences in deafness. Each child and his or her family follows a different path that MUST be respected and protected.

To give you an example of today's parents of deaf children, I'd like to add Eva's premonition that I neglected to add to the CHOSEN post, but she really wanted to share with any readers:
I was 6 to 8 months pregnant watching a show about a surgeon
who was performing a cochlear implant surgery on a 2 1/2 year old.....I was very moved and simply in awe of his work. Something made me write his name on a piece of paper....
My husband had asked me why I was writing the surgeon's name and I told him, "You never know if our kids may need tubes and its always good to have the name of a good ENT"...He looked at me with a puzzled expression, but figured it was just my pregnancy hormones.
As Mia arrived into our world, through the early months I could see that something was just not right. I initially thought she was autistic and made an appointment with our local hospital to have her hearing tested.
The results led us to see the cochlear implant team at Sick Kids Hospital in Canada.
That day I took out the piece of paper I had saved for 4 months with the ENT's name and number.
I knew this was the man that would give our daughter the miracle of hearing.
To this day...6 years later, I still keep that paper in my wallet
so that I am reminded that premonitions do happen.


Now, meet Gage. I remember the first time Jordan had a conversation with his cochlear implant. He called us twelve times from my mother-in-law's house, he was so excited to finally be able to talk on the phone...GO GAGE!


PS. Thank you to the people who have left supportive,informative and really soul-baring comments, I appreciate every single one of them and hope that they will help others reading...Jodi
D-Pan video of Waiting on the World to Change
Couldn't find the embedded version, but here are the lyrics to Waiting on the World to Change.

8 comments:

anna s said...

keep them coming! we fist-smack you (as said in ASL meaning that we just love you).

Anonymous said...

"Stop Judging!"

One phrase: Thank You!

Val said...

Hey, cute kid!!!! I don't know how you do it, but keep doing it. You're the first blog I check when I wake and the last one I check before I go to bed. Nice work.

kw said...

I haven't told a lot of people this, but it's in my first blog. (So I guess I HAVE told a lot of people hahaha!) But I had a premonition that I was going to become deafened when I was a very little girl. Knowing it was meant to be has helped me accept it. I'm a big believer in premonitions. I've had others.

You have an interesting background. I love your blog. I was going to comment on the necessities of learning ASL or ISL when someone is HH/deaf/Deaf.
You see, I am taking ASL now though I grew up hearing. I am late-deafened. Then I thought about cueing. With your bilingual family, cueing might be the perfect solution because it could be used with both Italian and English.

I expect it could help in noisy environments and other times and when your son relies more on speech reading? :-) I don't know. I'm thinking of checking into it myself because my husband is losing his hearing and having a hard time with ASL, thought he's fluent in German and reads French and Spanish.

Cueing is easy to learn as there are only a few hand positions that relate to phenomes.

Check out Aaron Cues blog---

http://aaroncues.blogspot.com/2007/11/first-blog.html

Tales from the CI Gal said...

As a bilateral Cochlear Implant adult, thank you! Thank you for your words. Also I am thankful for the internet for bring me a group of CI friends and families that accept me. I am a lifetime HOH/deaf person, this is the first time in my life I accept myself as I am - a CI.

So I wish people would stop judging parents for the choice are making for their child.

Valerie

Paula said...

There are so many things wrong with the comments you quoted from Rita's Expressive Blog that it would take me hours to respond. In particular I am outraged at the assumption that because we don't choose to teach our kids ASL it means we don't love them! Ludicrous!

This one got me too: "In short, sometimes parents don’t realize they neglect their children by depriving them to full access to communication." Hmm... but teaching them oral language IS full access to communication. We're not neglecting our kids, we're allowing them the freedom to choose to be part of the world at large, the hearing world. If we only teach them ASL they are going to have limited options if they want to become members of the hearing world. Communication with the larger world of people with normal hearing is going to be tough. Not so the other way around. If we teach them to listen and speak and they or we decide to learn and use ASL afterwards, then they have a choice and can go back and forth between the two cultures.

My sincere feeling though is that it is up to the families to make these choices. One choice is not the right one for everyone. Oral language worked for us when both hard of hearing parents were oral and we had a hard of hearing child. No one should criticize me for my choice. I'm her parent, not the collective Deaf community.

Parents need to make difficult choices when they have children with hearing loss. It is up to them to do their own research about communication choices and cochlear implantation. They don't need people (on either side) to say, "This is what you should do."

Abbie said...

Jodi, I swear, again and again you continue to amaze me :) You hit the nail right on the head in EVERY single subject, pure diversity of deafness and you nailed it.

While it took me a very long time to accept being deaf, it wasn't my parents that neglected my access to communication, it was the educational system. I lost interest in signing since I was scoring 100% and picking up the English language quite nicely. The school felt what do I need signing for? On top of that, they felt signing class consisted of learning the ABC's. Looking back at that now, I see the error in the schools ways. With my parents trying to teach me sign at home and the school system telling me I don't need it, that isn't equal opportunity.

No wonder it took me so damn long to say "I'm deaf." My personal belief now is that if a child is deaf or HOH or whatever other acronyms they have for us, is in a mainstream school push sign language as much as possible. Technology fails and its those kind of failures that high school doesn't prepare you for.

Val said...

Listen, we love our kids, in fact we adore our children like most parents do. I don't see why my kids need to learn a second language at such a young age when they have no one to use it with. We know absolutely no other deaf people and no one signs. I mean, they don't need it to talk to us since they can speak. I did teach my first born (deaf)child signs as a baby/toddler, he was receptive but never expressive. He still to this day does not want to learn sign. He has no interest in it. It's been offered several times, and I actually wanted him to learn some now that he's six, at the top of his class and for the most part on a eight year old level in his language and other areas as well!(as per several, several tests by a local Children's Hosp). He still knows what I taught him as a child but has never, other than I love You, signed anything. I don't think searching out and moving where there is a Deaf community is right either, for us. These days kids are getting full access to communication, despite what some want to believe. For my son to sit in a reg. classroom and still bring home 100's and A's consistently, lets me know he's getting full access. When he's happy after school because he and his buddies crawled around like cats during recess, that's heart warming. People need to realize that these kids now, are being brought up by powerful people. We've learned from parents before us and we are teaching parents new to this. Information is powerful. Learning what to do with it, can be evolutionary. And to see my kids teaching other kids about what it's like to wear equipment to hear, spreading information about how some deaf kids can hear and talk is changing our community. To be able to go to the library now and check out a book they can relate to where a kid has an implant and speaks like they do instead of all of the deaf characters singing only, is amazing. We couldn't do that a few months ago. That's thanks to a powerful mom who saw a need and met that need, not only for her child, but for mine and thousands more children. It's amazing to me to see babies that can sign, hearing or not. I wanted that for my kids and it didn't happen. However, we adapted and we moved forward and I realize it just wasn't meant to be. I would have gladly picked up and moved if I had to, to find a proper Deaf Community for my children if they never progressed verbally, so they could be exposed to sign other than just at home. There is one about two hours from here at a Deaf and Blind School which my kids were a part of for three years during their early intervention. We've investigated sign, believe me, and I personally find it interesting. I enjoy hearing how the different signs came about. How many of those opposed to being verbal have investigated AVT-auditory verbal therapy? I know of a couple of college kids who sign only, they were not too happy w/those parents who didn't teach their kids sign. However, when they met with two AVTs, had one-on-one time with them, they got the big picture. They were completely okay with it. I even watched one girl do her "speech" as the interpreter translated, she said she was completely okay now that she understands that advancing language is the focus. I personally don't need other people to be okay with my choices, as I am absolutely, 100% confident, that my kids are okay, they're loved, they're getting full access to communication, they're progressing and happy, and my son just wants to build monster trucks when gets older and my daughter(4) just wants to be a mother. I also saw a family (signing only) writing notes back and forth to a lady who had a kid w/an implant at our audiologist's clinic. Finally the interpreter came in and they were all communicating with ease now and the Daddy who signs was telling the lady that he believed that HER child should've been taught to sign and she of course said that the parents make the decisions on what language is used (Spanish,Sign,Spoken English.,etc) and he simply smiled and agreed with her and followed up with he just wanted the same respect in return. She told him that she fully respected them and not once questioned HIS choice and they both smiled as they walked to their appointments, not sure how they felt leaving the conversations.
p.s. as for the kids'future if devices fail and they can't be replaced...we would have to move anyway, no one in this area signs so I image they'd pick up sign quickly and still use their lip reading when needed, they happen to be very good even though they can't fully rely on that for sure. I like to look at the big picture but I try to live in the moment and enjoy my kids as you never know what could happen. Kids are taught different languages in school these days anyway so I am fully confident that we can cross any bridge that lay before us. Just my thoughts.