I've been reading a lot of posts on Deafread lately regarding Deaf Schools closing and the various issues regarding hearing parents and incorporating ASL.
Rachel was correct when she said:
ASL is not a "magic" method, and it requires as much effort as using the Auditory-Verbal approach or Auditory-Oral approach because parents would need to take the time to attend courses to learn ASL and to use it at home. Unfortunately, there are some parents who are not involved by not attending ASL courses and using them at home with their children.
*We fear what we do not understand: Hearing parents of newly diagnosed deaf babies are slammed with information they do not understand*
Ann C said:
...What I meant by "medical authorities" are the doctors and audiologists who are often the first contacts for parents of a deaf child. Many doctors and audiologists have little to no knowledge of the bilingualism option, so they often recommend CI's or other technology and speech therapy such as AVT, because those are options they do know about.
Ultimately, it's the parents who make the final decision for their deaf child, and hopefully they are informed of ALL options, including bilingualism, by the time a decision has to be made. That's why I mentioned that Deaf mentorship is a step in the right direction of publicizing the bilingualism option. Who better than a Deaf person to educate parents about this option?
The more often that this option is presented, the more it will come to be accepted as part of the package of different options available and the medical community will come to include it as well. That will take continued effort on the part of the deaf community to keep this option in front of hearing parents, doctors, and audiologists on a regular basis...
We have been kicking this debate around for at least the year and a half I've been on deafread. Don't you all think it's time to create a plan and put it into action? Words are strong, but meaningless without a concrete plan.
Amy Cohen Effron's video The Greatest Irony on baby signs being taught to hearing babies and not deaf babies was on target.
1. Create a pilot study program at a hospital with a Cochlear Implant Program.
2. Work with Hands and Voices to locate the perfect situation to develop and begin this program - perhaps through their Guide By Your Side program.
3. Request that NAD contact Rachel Coleman of Signing Time to create a video for parents of newly diagnosed deaf babies that begins teaching basic signs in a fun and informative way.
4. Ask Rachel Coleman to create a series specifically for parents of newly diagnosed deaf babies.
is not threatening to a hearing parent. It is fun, educational and happy- those are the elements a new mother wants to give to her baby.
I read about hearing mothers of newly diagnosed babies who begin using sign as a bridge. If the child has access to this visual language and still needs it, the child and parent will continue using it, if not, oral language skills will take over.
(Christian is saying "Barack Obama" in this video)
In the meantime, both parent and child will be communicating.
I admire Christina (Welcome to the world LILY!!) for how she approached Christian's deafness. She is a fine example of how this type of program could work. However, she did all the research herself, no one handed her the necessary materials. Think how much easier parents would have it if a program could be engineered in such a way.
We took in the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms here in DC this weekend, and Christian LOVED them. He was signing FLOWER the whole day. I was able to take a pic of the last part of his sign :)
Parents need help as soon as they receive the diagnosis, they don't need to be attacked. They need to see their babies as babies, not as community members...I think bridges can be built. Enough dialogue, start slammin' down some bricks.
PS. Congratulations to my Dad who is busting his butt to get RALLY CAPS made into a film. We walked away with an Honorable Mention in TheMovieDeal.com Screenplay contest!