This was A Deaf Pundit's comment (posted with a photo) on my MACK ATTACK? blog:
Please know that Aidan Mack does not represent all of us Deaf. There are many of us who disagree with what she says and her methods.
We just want to see a balance in the debate of CIs. All we hear is the positive side of CIs, and we know that it is not always successful.
I respect each parent's decision when it comes to their children. If the parent wants a CI for their child, then great. As long the parent is given the full picture on CIs. That doesn't happen often enough, sadly.
So,I do see a need for unbiased, impartial information to be presented. By no means is that any fault of the parents here, and I don't understand the anger at the parents, personally.
I'm sorry you and other parents were attacked. (I haven't felt attacked yet) You guys do NOT deserve that at all.
And this was ANONYMOUS'comment:
No one in the blog makes a conflict. It's you (note:the "you" would be little, old me) who makes
a conflict. Then you're the one
who is hypocritic and dishonest,
If you were honest, you'd have deleted Deaf Pundit's ugly,
Please note...I come in peace. I am here to SHARE our experience and to LEARN from yours. I am here to create a dialogue with the Deaf Community who based on the majority of comments (that I will reply to and so appreciate receiving, but my life is total chaos right now, the fifty free minutes I have today are being dedicated to this blog) received on this blog is ready to LISTEN. Do cochlear implants work for everyone? Hell, no, but they work for my son. Why isn't he important enough to make the Deaf Community begin accepting that approaches to DEAFNESS are in constant evolution?
When Jordan wore hearing aids, he was ego-centric, angry, "deaf"iant, needy, frustrated and totally incapable of showing affection. So, yes, I can understand why people are wary based on a history of this...and I can understand why many who grew up with the oral approach would have then turned to the Deaf Community. When my son finally activated the ci, he changed completely. He smiles, laughs, dances, plays music, and is constantly searching for affection...he's a lover.
Mishka, the Deaf Community knows you and how you feel - that you will provide an unbiased approach in your search for ci stories. As I already posted on your blog, there is no one case that will give the Deaf Community what it is looking for, but the more cases you provide, the more people will understand that we are not going away. Something needs to be done to "fix" the divide, so for now, I will continue giving, giving, giving, sharing and building bridges.
This comment left by Mark blew me away and I would like to sincerely thank him for having taken the time to listen to what I am saying...
I wanted to respond sooner but my schedule would not allow it. However I still wish to point out that a few people used the word “projection” in response to my original comment. I can understand how someone could arrive at this conclusion, especially after I shared my own personal experience and also considering how they don’t fully know my background.
First of all, let me assure you that I was not projecting. My concerns, rather, are more along the lines of what Karen said (the Karen from A Deaf Mom Shares Her World, not Karen Mayes). Amy Cohen-Efron also made some good points that echo my sentiments.
I’ve worked with several CI children and most of them, as far as I can tell, morphed from “deaf” to “hard of hearing” from a functional standpoint. That’s where Karen and Amy’s concerns come into play.
Also, I personally know several deaf people who have a CI. Two of them had bad experiences (including one guy who had to go right back into the operating room after something went horribly wrong). On the plus side, there’s another person who had a fantastic experience with the CI. She loves it and has no problem conversing with her hearing relatives, either in person or on the phone. For this person it does indeed seem like a medical miracle.
However, the great majority of the people I know who have a cochlear implant fall somewhere in between. And that brings us back to my original concern. The “in-betweeners” have their own issues of which most of the world is unaware.
As for my own background: I consider myself culturally Deaf. I have my own ideals that match the ideals of most people in the culturally Deaf world but I don’t force them on anyone - not even my own kids. I believe that the individual comes first before the ideal.
FYI, my oldest son is in the category of kids most likely to succeed from a CI. I let him know this. I let him know of ALL the options he has, even the ones I wouldn’t want for myself. He has a right to know. Someday I’ll have to publish his response. Absolutely floored me. I stand by my earlier assertion that kids are smarter than adults.
Anyway, back to my background: even though I’m culturally Deaf, I’m also the guy who, in the book Anything But Silent, wrote that it was time for the Deaf world to welcome the CI deaf. This was published in 2004 but it was an event in 1998 that made me change my thinking (in 1997 and the years before, I may have been guilty of projection. If you want me to explain how my perspective changed, I would be glad to do so in a separate post in my own blog.)
In another one of my books, an anthology titled On the Fence: The Hidden World of the Hard of Hearing, there are about 5 CI stories. Again, I do not allow my personal ideals to stand in the way when I encounter stories from people who have done differently than I would have done. I may have my own beliefs but these writers do have a powerful story to tell and they have every right to do so. I hate to toot my own horn but I wanted to mention all of this so that in the future, when I share my pro-ASL perspective or any concerns about the CI, no one will write it off as “projection.”
That said, I have one more issue/concern that I would like to share here. This topic was initiated by Jodi, a hearing parent whose child has a CI. And this parent shows all the willingness in the world to listen to the Deaf perspective. I greatly, greatly appreciate it because it is through this willingness (on both sides) that an effective dialogue can be maintained and perhaps somehow, a sense of community for ALL of us can be forged. We are all in this together.
My reason for bringing this up is that while we have a hearing CI parent being open-minded, it’s puzzling to see DEAF people in here consistently posting anti-deaf commentary on a consistent basis in their own blogs or in comments sections everywhere else. I understand a little bit of kvetching here and there (no community is perfect – we all have our flaws), but to see deaf constantly bashing other deaf in such a manner truly boggles the mind. I truly don’t understand because let me tell you, my years at Gallaudet University were a magical experience and I cherish the culturally Deaf world with all my heart. So if you’re a deaf person constantly critical of the Deaf world, I can’t help you. All I can say is look in the mirror and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to help yourself.
January 15, 2008 5:44 PM