I have unintentionally been focusing on the now, the present, my gifts; being in the moment of things and posting less on social media (although that’s relative ;] and varies on who you ask ). Shhush, quiet. Moving on…
This post was inspired by the craziness of the drama between our deaf community. If you have no idea and live in a cave with no WiFi, I am talking about AG Bell, Nyle DeMarco, no?? not yet? ok. Well, you’re in for a treat. I’ve compiled all (or most ) of the related articles and I’ll give you the low down. If you are wondering why it matters well then I say you should be well informed, especially if you have a child who is deaf or who has hearing loss. You will have a village of people and professionals who will give their unsolicited advice throughout the course of your journey. But the when making decisions on behalf of your child, it is important to know your options. By options, I mean: to implant or not to implant? to wait and let the child decide? the ramifications if you wait…the pros and cons of a decision you can’t change once it has been made. And in the world of information and immediate gratification, the likes of google and bing can either help you or hurt you. You should know your trusted sites, you should read first hand the experiences of what it is or isn’t and the effects. Granted, you can’t know for sure if the turnouts you read about will occur or not but nonetheless, you’d have to be realistic in thinking short and long term effects of your child. I think we did an ok job deciding to go total communication for our kid. I’m not here to push an agenda. Far be it from me to talk someone into doing something so EXTREMELY personal as to decide his communication needs and wants. It is a parent’s decision. I will suggest but never force, I give the advice, it’s is up to the receiver to do what they wish. What I WILL say is once this decision is made, be invested. You can waver but don’t falter. We collectively decided to implant and do the total comm. route but I am the lone adult that continued on with my kid. I don’t blame anyone, no hate, no grudge but more of disappointment and sadness because it is such a benefit to have that added visual communication for him and his face lights up when people sign back to him when he expects to be spoken to. Yes, he talks, yes, he signs, yes, he tends to talk more than sign but the point is, he is included. YES, i said it, he is included where he otherwise would miss out on conversations, loud environments, and what have you. But i seriously, digress. Sorry.
I am attaching well known deaf organizations known nationally and within the deaf spectrum of our community who have made official statements regarding the drama in our deaf world. Nyles DiMarco, who is opening the eyes to those not blessed to be a part of the deaf community, is spreading awareness, much like on April, we go crazy spreading Autism Awareness. Most or many “old schoolers” believe deafness isn’t a disability, they are not broken and “should not” be fixed. AGBell is LSL (heavy pro into Listening and Spoken Language )and have been accused of “deaf bashing”, without being terribly harsh but still real and honest.
Being Deaf or deaf means there is a spectrum of various levels of hearing loss, with various people who believe one way or another but at this time, I feel it is important to realize that in between all the public statements and the back and forth, Gallaudet, has reached out to the spectrum of deaf representatives and its organizations to come together for a roundtable of sorts to work together to find a solution. This is not an easy task but it’s a necessary one. And not just organizations but audiologists, speech pathologists, therapists, teachers, parents, everyone involved should be part of this discussion. I am trying NOT to make snap judgments to these organizations but I will say that with deafness brought to the almost forefront, thanks to Nyle DiMarco, it is important to continue to spread awareness not falsities or inaccuracies.
We The Deaf People ( WTDP’s response to AGBell’s putdown of Nyle DiMarco.)
Response to AGBell’s Meredith Sugar statement: The Buff and Blue
Open Letter to Washington Post: ASL4Deafkids.org
The article that sparked the fire: Washington Post Article
National Association of the Deaf in Support of ASL NAD and other Organizations in support of ASL
This is one of, I’m sure, many that have gone back and forth about signing, not signing but the bottom line is that it is a choice for the families and their parents to make. Give them the information, provide the potential resources so they have backup whichever way they choose. We are pro choice in this but we are the proactive pro choice. We are providing an enriched language environment to increase his listening and language acquisition (expressive and receptive) no matter the mode to increase the long term communicative outcomes of our child. We have faltered on the sign language here and there and those were the times we wanted to see if he heard us clearly but even at the age of 8 (and again, every child is different) he still gets confused of what he hears and how he hears it. This can be a combination of brain and what his CIs interpret and how the brain processes it. It can also be his autism or he just very well was a typical boy and tuned his darn mama out. Who knows with my forever puzzle…I just know that I am doing my best for my child who has to navigate this already INSANE world. Can’t we all just get along? I will suggest that AGBell do meet with Gallaudet. This can be the beginning of a new and uniform type of support for our deaf community and can help bridge the divide.
I admire Nyle DiMarco for being proud of who he is and speaking out, using his opportunities as a platform to raise awareness. I envision that for my own child.
I’m just here still to navigate life with my trifecta child. I’ll just get the popcorn ready and watch it like unfold or resolve (I hope and pray) like
daytime soap a reality show. (Wow, I aged myself).