Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Every Wall is a Door"

Today on the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Circle a mother left one of the most heart-wrenching posts I've ever read. I didn't ask the mother for permission to post what she wrote, because it was just not the type of post to do so...

The post had to do with what a parent does when she realizes that the cochlear implant is not working for her child for medical reasons. It is in these particular cases that one really and truly appreciates the Deaf Community, Deaf culture and the fact that ASL exists and is such an expressive language.

One of the mothers responded by quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson..."Every wall is a door."


Anonymous said...

The last resort to ASL really has to end... Deaf children have a right to ASL from the start. The "exclusive" oral only approaches have failed the majority of Deaf people for 128 years. A few have made it through it, but the majority have scars that they carry with them throughout their lives. Many struggle with not being fluent in any language, and therefore you see low achievement scores, low self confidence, social and emotional problems. It is not the fault of the Deaf person. It is the fault of the "system" that allows this to continue century after century. How much longer do we have to tolerate this until we say enough and come together for the whole Deaf child?

A dear Deaf friend of mine said...
I believe the greatest harm done to Deaf children and their families has been to sell the child short... “You can only handle learning one language and we have decided it must be a spoken language."

When will hearing parents stop being mislead by the industries that are selling them so-called miracle cures? When will parents be allowed to have mentors who are Deaf and first contacts who are Deaf? When will the pathological view of "hearing loss" and "disability" be replaced with a positive view of being a whole person who can have their visual language embraced by their hearing families?

A Deaf child is visual regardless of hearing auxiliary aids. When they are off, they are Deaf. When they fail, they are Deaf. When they give them only partial access to sound, they are Deaf. There is nothing wrong with being Deaf. When can they be accepted for who they are and not for what others want them to be?

Deaf children "must" have a full seat at the table. ASL provides them access to a natural language. Language connects them to family and the world around them and access to written languages. ASL is the key to bilingualism. Research shows over and over that children who are exposed to ASL from the start do better with cognitively and have better achievement in reading, writing, and even spoken language.

Hearing parents have a right to know about the benefits of ASL/ and sign languages of the world. They have a right to know that their child has a beautiful Deaf community to feel a part of full of language rich peers and role models. Bilingual/bicultural Deaf children and their families are the lucky ones.

Tami...a hearing mom

Dianrez said...

ASL is just a valuable tool; it is not an admission of failure or a last resort. It is reversible; if one does not need it, it is easy to leave behind.

Every time I hear of hopes dashed like this, my heart aches both for the family and for myself, having personally lived through oralism and the division of family that it causes. When one puts such high value on hearing/speaking, one forgets the person.

Anonymous said...

If CI does not fit to a child for a medical reason, what can Mom do?

There are many options that now opens.

Technology with the literacy and the structural and the developmental language have supported the child's abilities. It's never too late.

You can promote to this Mom, "Read Now!" This Mom can provide her child to read some books ASAP.

Parental Involvement as it is! Let the child to pick "home sign", make sure this Mom understands her child's needs. Do follow what this child's home signs, and then tell this child what the word is such as bathroom, boy, girl, bedroom, etc. That is okay. This child must be informed.

It will work.

White Ghost

Anonymous said...

Even for children who get benefit from the CI, learning ASL and exposure to the deaf community can be of enormous benefit.

My son Matthew has the CI. He LOVES his implant! He is also fluent in ASL and goes to the school for the deaf. Being part of the deaf community has done wonders for his self esteem.

We have to remember, it doesn't have to be oral/implant vs. ASL/no implant.

Sue (deaf mom)

Anonymous said...

Also I wanted to say that deaf/hard of hearing adults need to be honored and acknowledged here. We have to much to offer. People say well deaf children nowadays are different, they have the implant. I say this generation of deaf/hard of hearing children is no different. I was a successful oral hard of hearing child, and I still experienced isolation especially in my teenage years. Today I have both worlds, and many doors have opened for me.

Parents and professionals need to listen with an open heart.

Sue (deaf mom)

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to this mom. I also like what Sue has to say, that our choices don't have to be either/or, the choices can include many different things instead of one way or another.

Over at Hands & Voices, there is an article that ends with: let's celebrate how many different ways there are to be deaf and hard of hearing.

Amen to that.

Unknown said...

Thank you to everyone for computer exploded two days ago, so I've been out of commission..big-time. Sue, I wanted to thank you for what you wrote the other day and for this's important to have access to the information you've shared about your personal experiences. Well, Santa arrived early this year - apparently he was aware of my desperation-and came bearing a new laptop. Thank GOD!!! Hugs to all, Jodi

Unknown said...

WOW. That quote is intense. Thank you for posting this story. You are teaching a speech therapist a lot about the parent piece of my job!

Unknown said...

Thanks D.L.- you write just like you sounded about um...13 years ago *sob* Love you, Jodi