Sunday, December 14, 2008
Deaf Community Phased Out?? My Reply to Drolz:)
Aw, thanks so much! I really appreciate your kind comments! :)
Even though our kids are using different approaches, there are just so many parallels in their experiences (and the way we pull our hair out over them LOL).
Related to that last entry: I contacted my son's school district to see if there was a way to get all the signing deaf/hoh kids together for a monthly event or something just to see that they're not the only ones working hard to get by as the only deaf kid in their respective schools.
The response I got floored me. They said that thanks to digital hearing aids, FM systems and cochlear implants, "the need for ASL and interpreters has decreased significantly."
Whew! I have such mixed emotions. On the one hand if the auditory-verbal / CI kids are really doing that great, then more power to them. (If not, then that's a whole 'nother discussion.)
On the other hand, I used to groan when some people accused the CI industry of trying to eradicate Deaf culture - and ironically, now that I'm having a hard time finding signing kids who are just like Darren, it really does feel like we're being phased out. It suuuuucks.
Am really in the dumps over this - am thinking of all the deaf clubs, the deaf performing artists, the great experiences at Gallaudet/NTID, etc, and am wondering if all of that will soon be a thing of the past.
I highly value your opinion as I see that Jordan, too, is one of a kind in his school just as Darren is over here. Do you feel the school district's assessment is correct? Are these kids really doing that great? Or will they be going through the "Met Deaf, Wow!" phenomenon later on (seeing how numerous students with CIs still choose to attend Gallaudet or NTID instead of a hearing college)? What are your thoughts? Would love to get a perspective from a parent as opposed to a school district or medical profession.
Many thanks and keep up with your inspiring posts!
All the best,
Dear Drolz, (Have you noticed that I LOVE your last name!!??)
Jamie Berke and other bloggers on Deafread.com have been posting about the "Phase-Out" for as long as I've been here. Yes, the CI Community is growing stronger and the shift is becoming greater-in the beginning, when Rachel was being accomodated, I'm sure Melissa found herself to be in a position where you are currently with Darren. Yet she fought and fought to have her child's needs met just like you are doing with Darren.
You know better than most parents how important it is for Darren to see other children living his experiences and difficulties. And, as we know, you are more sensitive than most, so I am positive that you will find a way to organize this meeting. Yes, Jordan is doing well because there is a person in the classroom with him who is well aware of his needs as are ALL of his teachers. In the beginning, one teacher asked me, "Could he become potentially violent?" And so the education process began *smile*. Two years later, his teachers understand his personality and they help him to meet his own needs. Now, if he gets tired from the chaos in the classroom, he is allowed to leave the room for some silence until he feels ready to come back inside. If there is a particularly difficult concept to be studied, his support teacher outlines the important aspects, and Jordan takes home the outline to study it more thoroughly. Don't think that kids flip on their processors and suddenly all is well. Just as you are working for Darren, so are we the moms of CI KIDS. Just read Val's blog and you will understand her daily experiences.
There will always be a need for the Deaf Community, despite the fact that Yes, CI kids are doing "that great." However, there are many CI kids that are not doing "Great enough." They will need the Deaf Community. The Deaf Community is evolving, at least by what I read on Deafread.com, it seems to be. I know this is only a small representation, but I believe it's fairly indicative.
Once people become more aware and convinced of the fact that ASL should not be a requirement for membership, the CI Community-that is growing, and the Deaf Community will merge and become stronger. Sounds like a bunch of idealistic crap *smile*, but it kind of has to happen.
I am convinced that Jordan will become a part of the Deaf Community when he gets older, not because of NEED, but because of curiosity and common experiences. Sometimes we don't realize that a part of us is missing until we find it.
Hugs to ya, Drolzy!