Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mishka - Please "FIX" this...

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,
character-assassinating post.

Thank you.

(Character-assassinating?)

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...
Hi everyone,

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

18 comments:

OCDAC said...

If the poondit wants to bash, let her. Just archive it and use it against her or the deaf community later on.

A Deaf Pundit said...

Yeah. MishkaZena, me, Mark and some others are trying to help defuse the Deaf Community's anger and irrational comments, like that anonymous commenter.

But this problem can't be solved alone. It's going to require everyone who is involved with the community - hearing parents, the doctors, the educators, to all come together with us deaf and work on this.

I'm willing to. You are willing to. MishkaZena is willing to. Mark is willing to. But we need more people to join in.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mark, well said!!! Many of us express our feelings based on our own experiences. I don't think we can convince anyone what is best but we need to tell our story and talk about our own experiences so others may learn and at least understand our point of view. I am culturally deaf (parents and relatives are all deaf and I went to deaf school in NYC then hearing school then Gallaudet University). I love the deaf communty and it is my world but, I am also hard of hearing and there are wonderful people in the hearing community as well. I am "lucky" that I have the best of both worlds. Deaf and hearing people need to stop being too critical of other cultures. Parents of deaf children need to be more involved in their child's needs (need to communicate) and should arm themselves with as much information as possible. Without wasting time, obviously learning ASL is the way to go until time comes when you decide the best avenue for your child. More difficult for those who live no where near deaf schools, deaf communities, or have access to information. Keep up with your blogs about Jordan's experiences. Jordan is lucky to have you...not all parents are committed but hopefully, with access to internet they can hook up with others. Personally, parents need to know there are risks involving CI and there are many many children who "suffered" and did not succeed with their CI's as well as other children who succeeded. What I'm trying to say is parents need to fit into their deaf child's needs until decisions are made later on...and that is to learn ASL and begin communicating from day one and not to waste time while parents determine the best approach. Deaf people who criticize and keep closed doors to others (those with CI's and non-ASL signers) are in their own world and closed minded...there are hearing people like that too who are against learning ASL. I think the internet and blogs are a wonderful way for other parents to connect. Keep blogging!

ASL Risen said...

Thank you, Anon at January 16, 2008 12:41 PM !!! With my big smile

Jenny said...

Hi,
I've been following your entries, and I am truly torn. On one hand, I have known so many parents who truly believe their child is just fine when they aren't. I have never met Jordan and I am not going to pass judgement in any way for that reason. But I am wary, based on my experiences with so many deaf children, both with and without implants.
On the other, I am thrilled you are here and part of this dialogue. We all need to be building bridges here. I appreciate your continuing to share, share, and share.
I want you, and other parents of deaf children, to know that the majority of people I talked to have varying perspectives on implantation, but almost all of us agree that we would not reject someone based on their being implanted or not. What matters the most to us is an attitude of openness and respect. Those who act superior because they can talk or because they are implanted are going to find they have a hard time in the deaf community. Those who are able to talk or who are implanted, but come to us with respect and a healthy curiosity are usually welcomed. (but do keep in mind that every group/community in the world has people who are willing to reject those who are different. Don't take that personally.)
I hope you will continue to listen to us and try to understand us, because your son and your family are now part of this wonderfully vibrant community. I personally want you to feel welcome, as long as we all can continue to listen to each other and attempt to appreciate each other's perspectives. :)

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

ocdac,
Counter-productive comment, but thank you for reading...Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Dear A Deaf Pundit...if you build it, they will come...Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Dear Anonymous,
I agree with everything you said, thank you. There are so many resources on the internet, unfortunately the people who need them the most are not accessing them. Wouldn't it be nice if we could create a DEAF comprehensive approaches for better communication brochure together? I've noticed that on the yahoo groups, diversity is seriously lacking, that is a MAJOR problem. The divide is only hurting DEAF community members of the future. Something needs to be done together, I think we are all getting closer to that moment, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Anon,
Thank you, with my big old smile right back atcha...Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Jenny,
God that was a touching post, thank you so much. My son is not "just fine" yet, it is an ongoing learning experience, but we have reached a point that everything is an exciting discovery. I don't take anything personally, at least I haven't so far. Actually, I'm humbled and overwhelmed by people's perspectives and experiences. I am so glad to have found deafread.com, it's incredible listening to the different opinions and experiences...thank you, Jodi

Anonymous said...

She isn’t willing to experience the emotions in her deaf feeling as she doesn’t feel a deaf identify. That is, she can speak in ASL fluently and write well. So, I don’t blame her.

Anonymous said...

January 16, 2008 3:29 PM It is me.

I mean, a deaf pundit

Anonymous said...

Jodi,
I'm anonymous who posted "well said Mark..." and wanted to sign my nickname but for the life of me couln't get thru. So, I'll sign my nickname as "Divided" because I am always in between 2 worlds.
You are absolutely correct in saying that there are not enough people accessing and there are not enough resources. Which is why some of us in the deaf community want the hospitals to inform deaf service center to get in touch with parents and talk with them about various services available. A law was passed, in some states, that hospitals are required to do a hearing test on newborns but I don't believe they give any further information so parents are left without resources. There's much work to be done!
On another note...I mentioned Elena Radutzky from Rome in one of my other posting. Do you know of her? Have you met her?

Divided

mishkazena said...

Jodi

All we can try is to keep an open dialogue and try to understand each other, without judgment. So far it seems to be going well. We the Deaf Community have a lot to offer.

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Mishka,
The reason that what you are doing is so effective is because it's coming from you and not from someone like me - I'm doing my part, but to truly bring about change, it needs to come from someone within the DC. Did you feel that you had to jump back to the side of the DC that is not for cis with that "fix" post, or is this a reflection of your own torn self in regard to a potentially expanding Deaf community? Either answer is reasonable, change is never easy. Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Divided,
Divided,(that's a painful one for me)
I still have to check out who you are talking about, I have very limited access to a Deaf Community, just a gentleman who stops by every now and then with his adorable son who plays with Jordan. His son acts as our interpreter. Tried to sign up for a LIS class, but there are none available...very, very small DC here in Grosseto. Thank you, Jodi

Anonymous said...

It's me "Divided" ...painful...no, it's just a way of life for me and I'm perfectly happy! I've come to accept that is who I am and no one should ever feel bad or sorry (I've had people say to me that they're sorry I can't hear well and I say back to them sorry for what...I have a wonderful life and I'm fine). We can talk about that later on. Yes, I did have many painful experiences growing up in both deaf and hearing community and with my peers. But I've learned a lot along the way.

As for Elena Radutzky...go to this website: http://www.mpdf.it/

I am sure that once you contact her she can put you in touch with other people in Italy closer to you if you wish to learn LIS and ASL, etc. There is a wonderful american deaf living (and married to an Italian with 2 young children) in Rome. Terry Giansanti...check his website: http://www.handsonitalia.com/aboutus.html
Between the two of them you'll learn a whole lot more and they may know of others who live closer to Grosseto.

Fino al più presto
Divided

Jenny said...

:) Jodi, thanks. :) I'm glad you found us too! I cannot express enough how much I appreciate your openness and willingness to ask questions while being at peace with the choices you've made. *hug*