Thursday, January 10, 2008

LISTEN...

Living in Italy and approaching Jordan's deafness using the oral approach, we have had extremely limited contact with the Italian Deaf Community. Jamie Berke's strong moderate voice was the first person I found whose blog (please blog more) touched me and led me to begin investigating the American Deaf Community. When taking a closer look at the Deaf Community, I found a powerful sense of community and identity, which is unfortunately highly exclusive and riddled with fear. There are too many judgemental voices unwilling to take a liberal stance in regard to the cochlear implant and hearing parents. These radical voices are overpowering those moderate voices, at least in respect to many hearing parents whose deaf children will not need to become part of the Deaf Community. I posted one of Geo's videos a while back about how he ran into a parent and a child with a ci, and I liked him. (I also liked the Harry Potter jelly beans video - hysterical and the hat thing works for him!)

Anyway, there is no need to feel a sort of false empathy for our kids, because they are not missing out on anything and will have every opportunity in the future to find whatever it may be that they will need when that time comes. The Cochlear Implant Community is growing, just to give an example - the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle led by one amazing mom together with the Gift of Hearing Foundation, has created a PARENT TO PARENT: COCHLEAR IMPLANTS FOR KIDS BROCHURE and the demand has been both overwhelming and gratifying to all members of the Circle who put a helluva lot of love and heart in creating the brochure. Hearing and Deaf parents alike need to have access to a growing CI Community that does not judge any person regarding communication methods. We will create our own community whether or not the Deaf Community wishes to partake, but just think how powerful a collective voice could be in educating others regarding DEAFNESS...we are in the year 2008.

Paula Rosenthal has created a community for deaf teenage youth. She 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.


And Val, Gage's mom, parent volunteer and co-owner of the yahoo support group learn2hear, which provides parents with a variety of helpful resources, powered in with this biggie:
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.


AND MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE COMMENT made by Anna:
keep them coming! we fist-smack you (as said in ASL meaning that we just love you).
Whoa! My first fist-smack...beyond an emotional experience.
(Not to worry, I'm sure I'll calm down soon...kind of living a strange period right now.)

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

How to begin...

Teaching/not teaching sign and loving/not loving your kid...

We began teaching sign to my son before he was 3 months old, even though we were looking at an implant even then. We live in rural Pennsylvania, there are no resources available to us to become "good" signers. But what if the implant didn't work? What then?

Early on, we talked with a senior administrator at a Deaf residential school. Her basic point was that we, as educated parents, with all the best intentions in the world, would never be more than "pidgeon signers" - ie, at a beginning level. We both work, there are no signing classes...

Our only real option, if the implant was unsuccessful, would be to send our child, at around 3 years old, away from home to a residential Deaf school, the nearest to us was over 3 hours away. He'd stay there for the work week, and we would "be able to pick him up on Fridays at a truck stop on I-80." Relocating was not an option, for many reasons.

There's a double-edged sword - within a year or so, our son's signing and sign-language skills would be far superior to his parents. It's vitally important that the parents are respected by the child...

So which choice is the one which is "better" for the child - staying at home or going away?

Many successful Deaf people have done the go-away-from-home stuff. There was a recent NPR show about deafness, and one thing that's stuck with me is the Deaf man who reported how it felt to be sent from his mother to go back to school, and that now he understands why it was done.

Some reports say that over 95% of all deaf babies are born to hearing parents. We hearing parents don't know Deaf culture, and we surely do not believe that the "best thing" for our children is sending them away from their parents so that they can communicate with other Deaf kids, and effectively exclude us from their lives.

I guess we got lucky, because my son, now 3 1/2, with bilateral implants, is in a mainstreamed pre-k, with 20 hearing kids, and you can't pick him out of the crowd, except that he's the one who's talking all the time. He's at home, with us, he has lots of friends, his communication skills are equal to or superior to all his friends. We are still doing the best that we can to keep up what little sign we have, so that he'll be able to make a choice with his communication mode as he grows.

There are no deaf (or Deaf) children in our whole school district. Providing my son with hearing, artificial as it may be, allowed him to stay with his parents and to play regularly with kids his own age.

No one ever said that life was fair. As parents, we need to make difficult choices for our children, until such time as the child can make his/her own choices and live with the consequences.

I'm sure there are things that we have done as parents that others wouldn't agree with. For us, and for our son, I think our choice was, by far, the best choice we could have made. Jonah's deaf, and will always be deaf, and he has the opportunity to live in whichever culture, Deaf, hearing, or both, that he wishes.

Jim, dad to Jonah

Melissa said...

This is an issue I've dealt with so often over the years. When Rachel first got her CI back in 1989, the entire deaf culture was just beginning its militancy against it, but by the time CIs in children got FDA approval 6 months later in 1990, they were going full force. My response after trying to fight back and respond rationally was to realize that they weren't interested in what I had to say, and so we went our own way and found our own support group, which we found in the CI community. Now, all these years later, it's been an eye opener to me to see that this closemindedness and stubborness on the part of some in the signing deaf community still exists. The difference now, though, is that I have a hearing, speaking 20-year-old who can speak up for herself and who likes to do so to counter the kind of arguments such as those in Rita's blog.

I have to ask, why do these deaf blog posters assume that they know what is best for everyone else's child based on their own experiences? Does anything else in life work that way? Is there a one-size-fits-all approach that is right for raising every child? Of course not. The fact is that Rachel and many of her fellow early implanted friends who are also now entering adulthood are representative of a new generation of chidren born deaf who hear and speak very well thanks to their CIs and who do not suffer the difficulties in interacting with the hearing world that those who came in the generations before then did. These young adults do not need ASL or the deaf culture to be happy or to lead fulfilling lives. Why can't the deaf community accept that? If some want to learn ASL, that's fine, but many do not, and they are okay with that. Rachel has had some in the deaf cultlure tell her that she really isn't leading a fulfilling life without ASL and that she is missing something. Who are they to judge? They don't know her personally. How dare they tell her that she isn't really happy or fulfilled? Until these people learn to accept the changing tide of deaf education and communication and to respect the choices of others, they will not form a bridge with today's CI kids. There are those like Rachel who not only don't need to be a part of it but who also don't want to because of their perceptions and treatment of her.

Finally, here's an interesting fact - Only 25% of the deaf consider themselves part of the deaf culture. The rest are quietly living their lives in the mainstream, not taking the militant views that the most outspoken do, which is unfortunate as it creates a skewed perception in the general public of what living with deafness truly is and results in parents of newly diagnosed deaf babies receiving misinformation that could be detrimental to their children's future.

Aidan Mack said...

Here is my response

Aidan

Karen Mayes said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. It throws a light on the CI community and how the parents make the decisions regarding CIs. I know a few hearing parents who decided to have their children implanted and so far to my knowledge, they are thriving (one boy attends a private co-ed school and doing well.) I guess the reason for their success is due to the parents exposing them to sign language as well as AVT.

Melissa was right about the deaf culture being wrong in telling CI people that they were missing something in their lives... If children are happy, leave them be. I am sorry to hear that Melissa's child having to be exposed to this kind of attitude from Deaf culture.

My son did attend an AGBell sponsored summer camp last year and he had a good time. He was the only kid who did not have CI and I immediately noticed that ALL (maybe, most, I don't know, but to me it seems ALL) CI children were happy and talking with an ease that was similar to hearing children. Their parents who came to pick them up were very friendly to me. My son is looking forward to going to AGBell camp again this coming summer... as well as talking about getting CI (he has a progressive hearing loss, being late-deafened himself.)

Keep blogging. ;o)

Karen said...

For every family, choice is a complex thing. What works for one child/family may not be what works for another.

When we're "married to the method" then we can easily lose sight of the child's experience. When it's a good fit for your child and family, you'll see results. I've seen many families change course as their kids get older. Some ASL families are obtaining implants, some AVT families are learning ASL, some are learning to cue, etc.-- the key is to be open to all possibilities on the journey and find that path that fits.

anna s said...

jodi-

i feel for aidan mack as she as a deaf child of the past generation (i'll safely assume she was raised in the 70's and 80's), grew up trying to listen and speak without the assistance of a visual language. I can understand the anger and frustration coming from her and some others.

Today's deaf kids are hard of hearing with cochlear implants if implanted early in age with involved and supportive parents, they do just fine with listneing and speaking with some accommodations.

It is like comparing apples to oranges.

I am a profoundly deaf adult of a few deaf generations. I am grateful for the early access to a visual language from birth since both of my parents were deaf and signed in ASL. I have almost no intelligible speech. My son is born of the present and I wanted him to take advantage of what technology has to offer him. Never before I have seen more deaf children (those with CI) are able to have in depth conversations with their OWN hearing parents.

Our family have been attending the CNI Camp in Colorado for a few years now. Seeing CI teens hanging out with each other--chatting, laughing, and flirting all in spoken language. sure, some do know sign language, but they choose spoken language and they're perfectly fine. There are a few families with CI parents and CI children. Believe me, I have met every one of them and asked them so many questions. I am convinced that for a culturally Deaf person to accept cochlear implants, one has to immerse oneself in CI communities to see for themselves. Tell me, how many deaf children who attend schools for the Deaf have parents who can sign fluently. You know the answer. Aidan knows the answer.

Please remember there are a bunch of Deaf people like me who are open minded, progressive, and are supportive of parental choices. My friends are Deaf and they say they do not give a d*** about CIs especially in the openminded Seattle, Washington Deaf community where CI adults and Deaf adults hang out with each other.

Keep up blogging, Jodi, and do not be let down by Aidan Mack as she is just a fraction of the whole deaf community with such views.

Give the Deaf community some time to adjust since the change has been a little too quick for them.

anna s

anna s said...

Oh, one more thing I neglected to add to my previous comment. I need to validate Aidan Mack's message when it comes to saying not all deaf children benefit from cochlear implants without any visual communication support. I have to say that is true. It will depend on the team of audiologists, doctors, parents, IFSP/IEP participants, etc. as every deaf child is unique.

My CI child needs sign language assistance for some parts of the day especially during assembly and classroom lectures. He has trouble hearing in noisy environments and that's where he benefits from a sign language interpreter. Using CART one day if he wants to try it.

I know of another CI deaf child in upper elementary who is in a special day class for the deaf using sign language. Her speech and language skills, both in signs and written/spoken English are delayed and full incluson is not possible for her. She has a cochlear implant. Why isn't she mainstreamed full day? Well, maybe she has some kind of learning disability. Maybe her parents aren't that involved in her education, i.e. working hard on her communication skills in the home and taking her to regular mapping appointments. Maybe shes a late implanted child and she was without language for the first five years of her life. The later the child gets an implant, the increased need for visual communication. I've observed that kids of lower SES families with CIs tend to have additional needs. I'm wading in a very sticky topic here, but that is how it is based on my experience as a deaf parent and an educator of the deaf/hoh. There's several possible factors for why a child is not maximizing benefit with CI.

To finally close this, not all deaf children benefit from cochlear implants without the support of a visual language. But many do. Why wait while the critical window of language acquisition is so brief. Give the opportunity of what technology can doas early as possible and take it back if child isnt benefitting from it. Some of us, deaf people, would say use sign language and fade it out as the child transitions to being aural/verbal.

Ann_C said...

CI's are a huge sea change for the deaf community. Those who are immersed in Deaf culture love ASL and closeness of community that comes with the culture. They are seeing rapid changes in the last ten years in the deaf community that they regard as major threats to their way of life and to their language.

The culturally Deaf have yet to recognize that the diversity of communication modes and deaf education has already altered the deaf landscape. Give them time and your understanding.

IamMine said...

Yeah, Aidan… you sure made Jeanette, the mother of a CI child, feel so welcomed with your kind comments towards her.

Anyone wants to see how she made Jeanette feel welcome can see for themselves here at CI Vlogging: One Month since Activation

And this mother learned ASL on top of everything!

She was apprehensive about a new update of Ellis because of the reactions of Aidan and others.

I enjoyed reading this blog, Jodi, and respect all parties. I support ASL but I don’t attack anyone and the majority of the Deaf Community doesn’t attack. You may hear from a small minority who is very vocal but they do not represent the whole Deaf Community.

There is a long history, as I’m sure you have already known by now, of parents not accepting their deaf children and wanting them to ‘be more like hearing people’ as if to deny their human beings as a whole. I personally have witnessed this as a child growing up.

It’s funny to me because like you say, a small radical group can be louder than the moderates – that is true on BOTH sides. I think that’s okay, as long as they take accountability for what they say and not harming anyone. I do not agree with any one who would go as far as personally attacking parents.

Personally, I have always believed that they should be teaching ASL to EVERYONE in this country and also be taught in schools for even hearing children because it offers a different way of learning and does expand their cognitive abilities.

My oldest son, who is hearing, when he went into kindergarten and blowing everyone out of water with his ability to understand concepts and applying them so fast that the teacher was taken aback and when I finally met her, a light bulb went on for her: “Ohhh that makes sense! Your son knows two languages! That’s why he’s a genius in this class!”

Anyway, everyone wants respect - not to be judged for who they are and to be accepted for who they are. That can be argued to death on both sides.

I will continue to support ASL and still offer my assistance for anyone who wishes to learn ASL. I’d like to have CI friends who sign with me as it was kind of difficult to communicate with one nice CI guy because I couldn’t catch everything he said. I enjoy having conversations in ASL because it is really a beautiful language!

Yes, it does SUCK when nobody around in the town knows sign language… ‘cause I’m thinking, “Dang. They are missing out on such great person to talk to in ASL!” Well, I think I’m really an easy person to get along with. I can’t say I’m fun, but…. *wink*

As for your son – he’s such a cutie!!!

K.L. said...

Great post & great comments. I can understand why people who were raised before CIs came along might believe we are depriving our children of early language, but it is exactly opposite. My daughter loves her implant. She has a very high self esteem and wouldn't change anything about herself. Including being deaf and having an implant. And most people don't even notice she has one or is deaf just by talking to her. She doesn't "sound" deaf, nor does she have problems understand verbal language. The only problem we have is getting her to stop talking long enough to listen.

K.L.

Paula said...

I read Aidan's post on her blog. Her story is different from many other deaf and hard of hearing people. At one point, she said, "I had no language the first six years of my life. I remember that my mom had to drag me out of the living room to begin practicing my hearing skills with the radio in kitchen, and she trained me to speak everyday. Whenever I tried to use my hands, my mom put them down. We couldn't communicate until I was six years old. That's when she took me to a school that included sign language. From there on, my mom and I learned to communicate. Once I had access to sign language, my education finally began."

Six years is a long time until a child can communicate with her family. When I read that, I was heartbroken for her. As I've said before, oral education is not the answer for everyone. In Aidan's case, it wasn't the answer. Parents need to know when they should try a new strategy if one isn't working. Unfortunately, parents don't always understand the importance of this until it is too late. Based on her experience, I can understand why she feels that it is important for young children to learn sign language. But with earlier diagnosis of hearing loss due to newborn hearing screenings and tremendous advancements in both hearing aid and cochlear implant technology, oral education is seeing more success with more children. If Aidan was born now, it is quite possible that her story would have been vastly different.

What Aidan needs to understand is that she shouldn't be "crusading" to get parents to see and do things her way. Just because she had a tremendously difficult childhood and didn't "find herself" until she was 25, things are not the same for many oral kids growing up now, with or without cochlear implants.

Aidan Mack said...

Hello Jodi,

Thank you so much for your comment. I guess we are communicating better than others. Maybe they are not used to seeing two people who can get along, even if they have way different perspectives on things, and who are also able to have an open dialogue with an open mind.

Hi AnnaS:

I've never met you personally and I do not know you. Please do not speak for me or put the words into my mouth about who I am or how I feel. Your interpretation about me is coming from you. It is *your* interpretation, which doesn't necessarily mean it is factual. I want to assure you that I know myself much better than anyone else does. I trust that I can speak for myself. Thank you.


AnnaS: please read my comment again. Please try to have an open mind.

Let me repeat myself by saying that I *have* interviewed parents of Deaf children with CI's. Those Deaf children with CI's that I interviewed were born in 90's and 2000's.

To be proactive in the area of human rights means having passion and being a caring person. I can understand why you might misunderstand and misinterpret my passion as being anger. Please correct your mistaken interpretation and know that I am not like what you describe me as being.

"The definition of HUMAN RIGHTS refers to 'the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled'. Examples of rights and freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and equality before the law. Social, cultural and economic rights, such as the right to participate in culture, the right to work, and the right to education are also sometimes thought of as human rights." (Wikipedia)

Like United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 1, which says: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Maybe this definition of what I am doing might will help you to understand my intentions and who I am a little better.

My experiences are similar to the experiences of other Deaf people who have CI's, but we differ in that they have had surgery and I have not. I am sorry that you feel that my testimonial is unworthy and should be disregarded. I'll leave it up to others if they want to try to see the experience of being subjected to the oral philosophy through my eyes.


Karen:

"the key is to be open to all possibilities on the journey and find that path that fits.. "

Are you telling me that we should take a huge gamble on Deaf children's lives by playing around with a method that may not fit them? Did you read about and hear about the history of oralism vis-a-vis the history of ASL? ASL has been here about 200 years. It's had a wonderful impact on the lives of Deaf people who've had full access it. I have never heard of a case where ASL has hurt a Deaf child's education. ASL guarantees success for a lifetime.

Based on research and historical studies, oralism and artificial communication systems have changed back and forth over the years and have never been stable. The people who support those methods are still struggling to find a system by which they hope to "fix" Deaf children. Their goal is to make them hearing. Right?

As for the medical establishment, in their eyes, a deaf child will not be fully 100% perfect until the child is a fully hearing. The point is that this child will never reach full hearing status, because the child is deaf and will always be deaf. That's why devices are constantly being upgrading and are changing all the time.

Aidan

Karen Mayes said...

Hmmm... more and more "Deaf" people here in Indiana are more accepting of CI nowadays. Even they are cool with the idea of my child asking for CI (because they know that he has progressive hearing loss) and they are coming around to seeing that CI is just another fancy hearing aid... just as long as the parents make informed decisions. I am seeing more CI students attending ISD, sooo...

Yes, I grew up 1970's and speech therapy was different, compared to today's speech therapy which is more fun. Luckily I had cool speech teachers so that helped. I sincerely believe it is my parents' involvement was the key to my success. I even spoke with my former classmates with whom I grew up and they all said they did not have bad experiences... they only winced at the memories of the principals who got too involved, nothing more.

Karen Mayes said...

I am going to email your blogsite to my hearing friends in Rochester, NY, who are parents of CIed children. Hopefully they will share more, spread more awareness of CIs and that they are not that bad as they are made to be. Yes, they use sign language also... they are open-minded and I miss them dearly :o)

Val said...

This is what people needed to hear. Unfortunately, the radical voices overshadow sometimes(either way), but I'm really learning from your posters here. When someone tells me that I should have taught my kids sign and leave it at that, it's frustrating. However, when reasons are given first that's a much better approach. Sometimes we parents are only used to hearing what we SHOULD BE doing first and we will not listen beyond that point. Same as when we say that IT'S PARENTS CHOICE, some people don't want to listen beyond that either. When we explain ourselves first, there is a much better outcome.

Drew's Mom said...

Jodi,

I think you are doing a wonderful job standing up for what you believe in. I think it is ashame that there are so many people out there that feel they should have the right to mandate things (like learning ASL) for our kids.

Like Jim, Val, you, we have made what we feel to be the best decision for OUR family - our son! We want Drew to be a part of our world - to be able to communicate with his 85+ year old Great Grandparents, his aunts, uncles, friends all of which do not sign. We are so thankful that Drew can hear and that he is making great progress in only six months. We look forward to the future.

On one of Drew's You Tube videos a Mom left a comment that she was weaping for the future of Drew and deaf children like him because he will always have limited language skills. If I were her, I would spend time weeping for the kids in this country that don't have food on the table at night or who are being abused; the starving kids in Africa, the list goes on. Do not weap for a beautiful deaf child that is learning to listen and speak (quite well) with his cochlear implants.

OK, I stepping off the soap box. I meant to say, good job. Keep up the work. Oh, and I'm going to add a link to your blog on Drew's if that is OK?

Drew's Mom

Karen Mayes said...

Jodi, there will always be some people who come across to you as very judgmental, like they own your deaf children, not you.

I might be deaf, but I am a firm supporter of parents (both deaf and hearing) who make the best decisions for their children (deaf and hearing.) If they want to have their child/children implanted, good, as long as they know pros and cons and are willing to invest in their child/children's futures.

I tell my children that there will always be some people who might dwell on past events and that my kids should just listen but not judge, because everyone has his/her own perspective.

I appreciate that more parents of CIed children are speaking up... go folks! We need to be educated.

:o)

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Anna S,
THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing what you shared with me. The two of you are beautiful, really...I'm sorry I couldn't check sooner, but it's been crazy here...really beautiful story...fist-smack back at ya:) Jodi