The recent CI CIRCLE NEWS blog post submitted by an Anonymous Deaf Parent of a Deaf child with a CI, who uses both ASL and English clearly addresses the preoccupations and concerns parents face when deciding for the cochlear implant. Her words go one step further in describing the additional trauma involved in making that decision when you are a Deaf parent member of the Deaf Community.
I would rather give him a choice to either continue using or stop using the CI in the future when he’s old enough to make those types of decisions, rather than him wishing he’d gotten a CI as a child when he may have had an easier time learning to listen and speak. So I started to research CIs since we felt we had only two options for him - Option#1: CI for spoken English and ASL, Option#2: no CI, ASL only. We learned that today’s cochlear implants are much more advanced and safer technology with high reliability than ever before.
...I found the CICircle parent support group on the Cochlear Americas website and joined that group. I learned a lot of new things from the group and was very surprised to hear many success stories of deaf children with CIs. I was concerned that most of those children didn't use sign language or ASL. I later learned that they didn't need it, because they were able to speak and hear well, nearly like typical hearing children. However, I still felt that they should use ASL or at least some sign language because they would have to remove the CI during shower/bath, sleep, swimming, illness, CI failure, CI external device loss, etc. I feel like ASL/sign language would be very beneficial for deaf children starting at birth for full access to language until they receive a CI and catch up in spoken language. They could either continue signing or stop, depending on their progress of spoken language. That is just my personal opinion and I do respect all the parents’ decisions if they have researched the options for their deaf children.
I sincerely hope that one day, Deaf parents opting for the ci for their children will no longer feel the need to remain anonymous. And, I am certain that day is approaching much quicker than anyone would have ever imagined.