Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beginning Anew

My goal is to talk about something new and different every day. Here goes.

First, my daily update:

I am a week away from being done with summer school. I just heard from my husband today for the first time in over a week. He's deployed right now, so it pretty much makes my day to hear from him.

Other musings:

In my Individual Learning Differences class, I was assigned to a group project with the purpose of discovering the history, treatment and classroom strategies to help those with hearing impairments. My group became so interested in the topic that we even learned a bit of sign language to aid our presentation. Unlike in my presentations in high school, I actually found the information useful. I had no idea what a big world that of Deaf Culture is.

When I heard about the Cochlear implant I thought that it was a great opportunity for someone who is deaf to be able to join the hearing world. I was unaware how biased that assumption was. Apparently those in Deaf Culture think of the implant as a tool of ostracization. If a child receives a Cochlear implant, that child is no longer a member of the allusive Deaf Culture but yet is not a member of the hearing world either. When the device is turned off, the child is still Deaf. Therefore, the child is ostraziced from both the deaf world and the hearing world.

Something else I learned: there is a difference between "Deaf" and "deaf". Deaf with a capital "D" refers to someone who was born deaf. Deaf with a lower case "d" implies that someone who was born hearing but is now deaf. "Hearing impaired" alludes to a person who has some loss of hearing or to a Deaf person who prefers to live in the hearing world. (i.e. attempting at communicating in verbal English.) I also did not realize that there is a huge reason for there to be a Deaf Culture.

Think about it. Someone who is born deaf learns to "speak" ASL. (American Sign Language) which is a sort of slang. If this person never is taught SEE (Exact Signed English) then this individual can't decipher the written word. Therefore this person is exempt from, not only the world of music as they can't hear, but also the great works of literature. And without the understanding of the written word, this person cannot read subtitles so they are exempt from cinema culture as well. This is a shared culture of the majority of the inhabitants of the Earth. Music, movies, literature. So it makes sense that those who are deaf would find a culture entirely their own. It makes sense why they would ostracize themselves from the rest of society. I mean, without books, music, movies and the ability to communicate in a language other than ASL, what do they have in common with hearing society? Deaf Culture is also arguably the only culture passed down from child to child. The majority of deaf children are born into hearing families. Consequently, the first time they find someone to relate to is within the classroom of other children who are deaf. Something to think about.


  1. I came across your blog and post there because I have "cochlear implant" and other hearing loss related terms keyed among my Google Alerts. Deaf Culture represents less than 10% of the population with hearing loss, although they will have you believe that they "represent" hearing loss and in that sense, "own" hearing loss. I can assure you that almost anyone who lost their hearing after the age of about 5, or who had it seriously diminished, would do whatever possible to have it restored. I received a cochlear implant a little over a year ago after 12 miserable years of deafness and can tell you it is as close to a miracle as I ever expect to come. Children who are deliberately deprived the right to access a medical procedure that would allow them to lead "normal" lives are victims of abuse. if you were Chinese, would you continue to bind the feet of young girls, or approve of withholding chemo from a child with cancer for religious reasons? These people are living in the past (and mostly on government disability checks, by the way) and I am oh so tired of misinformation being selfishly pawned off to the hearing world as total truth, etc. they represent a very small portion of use who have serious hearing loss. Most of us want decent jobs, good communication with our family and friends - all the things YOU enjoy and take for granted, and sign language is NOT going to give us that. I regained 85% of my hearing thanks to a cochlear implant. (I used to have 7%). babies born deaf deserve that opportunity too. Yet the deaf culture sign for a cochlear implant is the same one they use for "snake bite".

  2. That is really interesting. I had no idea "deaf culture" represented such a small amount of the population. It's good to hear the other side, an alternative point of view. It's amazing that so many Americans can live day to day and never even encounter this controversial topic. Thanks for sharing your perspective and your story!!