Wednesday, January 23, 2008

RE:Do Hearing Students really know about Deaf culture and ASL??

I have about twenty minutes before I have to run to Pilates, my salvation, but I saw this blog and must respond to this (even though I have no idea what she said, because I don't understand captionless ASL)because the title is so significant. We are constantly educating the hearing community regarding deafness, because Jordan is both deaf and a part of the hearing community. The most significant aspect of the cochlear implant is that it enables deaf children to be effectively mainstreamed. Therefore, many hearing children raised with my son have had a firsthand experience of what it means for Jordan to be deaf.

As I've said before, we went from temper tantrums to communication. His classmates lived this transition with him every single day of school, holidays, parties and life. During pre-school, Jordan NEVER sang in the end of the year programs, he would scream, fuss and run to sit in my lap to watch his friends sing - learning the lyrics to five songs was way too much for him. The first year he sang in a small presentation was when he was in second grade. I was so emotional about the experience that I went off to the side to cry in peace, when suddenly, I see my friend Francesca walking towards me, tears streaming down her face. She said, "Jodi, Jordan is singing! Can you even believe how much progress he has made?" WE sat there for another ten minutes crying in silence. I'm so not trying to be dramatic with all of this, I'm trying to say that when you move through the world making others a part of your life, struggles and successes, people open their minds and learn.

When Jordan received his cochlear implant, I went to school with photos to explain to his third grade class what would be happening to Jordan...how important it was for them to be supportive of him during a time when he would have only one hearing aid until his activation. I told these eight year olds how grateful I was that they were such good friends to my son, that they helped him understand the teachers' directions, made sure he copied the homework correctly and overall looked out for him despite many of his frustrations. A mother called me later that night to ask me about the cochlear implant because her son had told her about that talk and how proud I was of him for being a good friend. His class gave him so much love and support after his operation. They were quieter, attentive about the site of the operation and extremely helpful. Communication leads to education. They knew Jordan was deaf. When he had hearing aids, they made sure to speak in front of him so he could speech read. Don't think for a minute that after his cochlear implant, every single one of those kids did not note a dramatic transformation in my son.

Every summer we go to the beach on a daily basis. Jordan does not wear his ci on the beach, he puts it on when he plays cards, but he is totally deaf on the beach. ALL OF HIS FRIENDS know to speak to him so that he can speech read, otherwise, he will not be able to understand them. Sometimes, while I'm playing beach volleyball, I'll hear one of his friends screaming to another kid, "HE CAN'T HEAR YOU, HE'S DEAF, HE NEEDS TO SEE YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU TALK TO HIM!" The hearing children know that my son is deaf...he is educating them.

When people in this town think DEAF, they associate that with my son...our experience. Do they know about ASL (LIS)? Yes, because twice a day, there is an interpreter for the news programs. Do hearing students in this town know about Deaf culture and ASL (LIS)? No, they do not, they only know my son who is deaf, who wears a cochlear implant, who speaks Italian and English.

19 comments:

Deafcommunity said...

I agree with you that hearing don't know about deaf culture. But some of them are greatly interested in the deaf society sign language and sign languager inerpreting!

Christian's Mommy said...

Aww, Jodi. I hope we have a similiar experience in our community if and when we go down the CI route. Isn't it amazing HOW MUCH LOVE our boys receive everyday? I can only imagine how overcome with joy you were at that first assembly that he sang. Brings tears to MY eyes!

bearlee said...

If you will scroll down from the video on barbdigi.com, you will see that she has a transcript of her message. It's wonderful that you have had a positive experience, though I can tell you that is definitely not always the case.

Divided said...

Jodi, There are times when I miss those pre-teen years and other times when I'm glad I'm done with it. Surely, it is precious! Waving hands....cool what you did, educating Jordan's classmates and friends about his deafness and what he is going through. The more we educate people, the less afraid they become (although there are always some that just don't get it or don't care). Although I can talk well I always make a point of signing and exposing my deaf side to people in general when ordering things in coffee shops, restaurant, etc. The more we advertise "I am deaf" the more the public becomes aware and when they see us...they will make an effort to sign thank you. I had a woman talk from behind me at the gym this morning..even though I heard her but didn't understand what she said so I didn't bother to turn around but few seconds later we made eye contact I pointed to my ear and and said I am deaf...she proceeded to enunciate what she was telling me rather than say never mind (which many have done in past) or ignore me. It is so hard because our deafness is invisible until they see you sign. It's nice that people in your town have become familiar with deafness. You'll find those who are educated probably knows more about LIS than others. In the USA many young students know ASL because they're being exposed to it in school by their teachers (not necessarily because there are deaf kids in their school/class). Generally, pepole in Italy don't know about ASL (except for deaf people who have been to USA or have friends in the USA. Times have changed since I retired in 2004 from Gallaudet. Perhaps they are teaching LIS in school where there is a deaf family in the community. ?? Did you get hold of signing up for LIS class? If not, get in touch with or go to website.
Ente Nazionale Sordomuti (ENS)
Via Gregorio VII, 120
00165 Roma
www.ens.it
They should be able to identify LIS class in your area.
Gosh, sorry my blog is so long!!!! I am known to ramble on and on and on... ;0

Anonymous said...

Well, it's so hard for us, Deaf vloggers to put the subtitling on our videos and more waste of time while we are too busy with our schedule! I am sure that woman from NJ is so busy and no time with her busy schedule. I hope you will understand that! Thanks so much for understanding!

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Christina,
You amaze me with every blog you write..this last one was art:) Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Thanks bearlee,
I will check that out! Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Divided,
I remember working in a fast food place and not being able to communicate with Deaf customers. I felt SO bad that I did not know ASL, I will learn some sort or another in the near future. Thank you for your comment as always and thank you for contacting Christina...you are an important person for her to "meet." love, Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Anonymous,
I 100% do not expect any vloggers to include transcripts, I'm more frustrated with myself that I don't know the language to be able to understand it. I used to always post videos, I have been avoiding it because I don't have the time to write a transcript, either. Language issues...sooooo used to that! *smile* Jodi

deafworldchamp said...

Maybe it would be good idea for you to learn ASL. You would inspire the language more. It is really good to learn ASL and Deaf culture.
You referred my vlog to CI and that was not the point I made. I was talking about a hearing student in class. Her approach was inapproiate in classroom with other students who are trying to learn ASL.

Learning ASL is wonderful!

Abbie said...

Anonymous,

Well this girl from NJ didn't want to leave anyone out, I understand the importance for captions since I use them every single day. My busy schedule involves rehabilitation therapy and this was a part of it. I am so happy that people appreciate it. If you ever have time on your hands to caption them, then let me suggest the website I used for mine. It is www.overstream.net but I understand that some people might too busy to do it. It took me four months to do mine. Thank you for understanding.

Divided said...

Jodi, Learn LIS and don't worry so much about ASL yet. You're in Italy and not in the USA. You can pick up ASL later on. Remember I mentioned Terry Giansanti...he has 2 kids and they are deaf (Terry is American and his wife is Italian). His kids can communicate in LIS and ASL...amazing. You ought to meet him. One thing I do know is international deaf students who come to USA to study have mastered English and ASL quite well in relatively short time (that is if they live in deaf enviornment like attending school/university 24/7). I know because I've worked with international students at Gallaudet and my husband is from abroad and came to USA when he was 18 years old. It is usually because they've mastered their own language first (spoken/written/sign).

warm hugs...

Sharon said...

You're a passionate woman and I can only imagine your posts after knowing what she said:)!!! The gist is that a hearing student in an ASL class was being a jerk by talking and distracting other students with sound...totally taking advantage of the Deaf teacher and making it impossible for the other students to learn sign language. That happened when my mom and I were taking ASL classes from a Deaf instructor. In our case, my mom raised her hand and because at the time she wasn't perficient in sign language, she got up and wrote on the board, "Will you please be quiet because some of us are trying to learn!". Her message was communicated loud and clear. I love my mom:)

Anonymous said...

penso spesso a quella esperienza ,perche' e' stata fortissima :ho ancora tutt'ora i brividi se ci ripenso e sento anche la gioia che ho provato .Sono stata mamma due volte in quel momento,perche' ho capito e vissuto il tuo dramma pero' trovandone anche,anzi solo, il bello sia della scena che dei progressi che tu,tanto impegnata ,forse non vivevi appieno.vai cosi bestia!!!!!

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

FRANCESCA in the house! Bellissimo! C'e l'hai fatta! Sono senza parole, la prima vera italiana di lasciare un commento - poi, che commento! Sono fortunatissima di aver condiviso tutto con te, una persona sensibile, forte e troia quanto me! Viva Napoli! un bacione...aspetta che ti trovo domani mattina:) Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

FRANCESCA in the house! Bellissimo! C'e l'hai fatta! Sono senza parole, la prima vera italiana di lasciare un commento - poi, che commento! Sono fortunatissima di aver condiviso tutto con te, una persona sensibile, forte e troia quanto me! Viva Napoli! un bacione...aspetta che ti trovo domani mattina:) Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Sharon,
If your mom is like you, I love her too. smack, Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Sharon,
If your mom is like you, I love her too. smack, Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

deafworldchamp,
thank you for your comment...I agree. Jodi