My Deaf Baby Can Hear.

My Deaf Baby Can Hear.

MY FEB BLOG IS LATE.

Over the last few years, I have been seeing more and more videos popping up where parents are turning on hearing aids and getting a reaction from their infants when they hear the sounds presented.  It moves hearing people who have no idea really, what goes into that process to get emotional over the fact that this baby is reacting to sound.  In the spirit of why I created this blog this month or last month FEB!!  Is about the education of the hearing aid process from our perspective.

When the audiologist has told you that your baby is deaf after a series of tests, they then immediately give you the information on the hearing devices to correct this issue.
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The emotional state of the parents is fragile and so like most hearing parents they just follow what the medical staff proposes.  The audiologist begins the process for the fittings, creating molds, orders the very expensive hearing aids and then activation.   They do not recommend interaction with a Deaf person and they do not refer parents to Deaf advocacy agencies.  So far, all hearing people talking about what they are going to do with this Deaf child.  When this activation of the hearing aids happen in an infant you have no gauge of what that sounds means to them.  We as parents think that they understand the words that we are saying but in reality, they are just reacting to the sound.  Audiologists are able to identify the hertz and amps that a person is hearing accurately by an auditory brain response test.  But, in many deaf children their hearing fluctuates so there is really no way of determining what words they are actually understanding and what words just sound like gibberish unless they were hooked up to the device 24/7.

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In the meantime, the infant is losing imperative time in language development while all these professionals are trying to figure it out or to correct the problem.  Now, I am not opposed to these videos or the hearing aid process, if it were a standard practice for audiologists to require parents to sign with their babies while all of this was happening, but that is not the case.

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Parents are actually discouraged to sign with their babies, as there is the theory that it stifles speech development.  NO! NO! In addition, NO!  The language deprivation of deaf children in this country is a result of these philosophies and it must stop!

Videos like these without context must stop.

The reality is, children who do not sign and only use devices have to work very hard to try to speak with much exhaustion.  There are many success stories, but there are many failures as well.  Taking a chance on the language acquisition of a deaf child is not an option.  Here are two things to consider.

1.      Hearing aids cost anywhere from $2k- $5k, they are not covered by insurance companies and depending on where you live the price can change.  We experienced this first hand.  We went to one office where the hearing aids were $3,500 because the population in that area could afford them and would then buy them and all the services that go along with it.  When we did the research and found another location who would sell the same hearing aids for $2,000, we knew we were dealing with a business.  In addition, when insurance companies view these devices as an accessory and will not cover them in some cases, what does that tell you?

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SIGN LANGUAGE IS FREE, with easy access and no stress on the child.

2.      The Speech Banana: Let us talk about this for a moment.  If you are anywhere outside of this window, you will not be able to understand the words, without hearing aids.  Now, this is very complicated.  If a person has acquired language and if your hearing is out of the speech banana then you can probably make out the words.  However, infants are still learning language, they have no frame of reference to try to make out what the words are.  Even assisted with the hearing aids it is very difficult.  Now reviewing this table a child with moderate to severe hearing loss is at huge disadvantage.  Why?  Because they can still hear sounds, but even aided audiologists, have a difficult time getting the right frequency and decibels perfect for language acquisition.  Now many counter argue this point by saying, well then the child would be ready for a cochlear implant.  True, but those devices require a level of qualifications.  Usually in the severe to profound region, 80 – 90 decibels or higher and they do not always work.  Again, there are many success stories, but there are many who do not as well.  Now, what about those 50-70 decibel kids?  Our personal experience was just that.  Heath was born with mild to moderate hearing loss in one ear and moderate to severe in the other.  Aided as an infant and before the age of two he spoke three words, Happy, Mama and Dada!!  We were all excited… we thought.  Maybe he will be able to be fluent in ASL and speak too.  What a win win… but then his hearing declined after two and he is now profoundly deaf in both ears.  Just think if we would have taken the approach to focus on the speech portion of his language only.  How far behind would be?  2 years actually.  It is not worth that risk.

HOWEVER, WAIT!!!!  SIGN LANGUAGE IS FREE, with easy access and no stress on the child.  Why not learn it!  What harm does it do??
Moreover, I say… why are we still talking about this….ASL.. easy for the child, hard for the parent.  What would you choose!

I am Lucia Rogerson and this is my perspective. 

The Deaf Teacher.

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Webster’s dictionary defines a teacher as one whose occupation is to instruct.  While this may be true for hearing public school systems, our family views these instrumental individuals at the Deaf school as much more than just instructors.  Teachers of the Deaf at Deaf schools are extensions of their family and for us they have turned into aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and friends for Heath.  Many Deaf children with hearing parents and hearing family members do not have people who can directly relate to them and their experiences as a Deaf person.  Whether a child is implanted, uses a hearing aid or is an ASL user, the fact is they are still a Deaf person and that fact will never change.  There is a tremendous opportunity for a Deaf child with hearing parents to be around people just like them despite their modality of communication when they attend a Deaf school.

Deaf people need to be around Deaf people!  That is my opinion and I will stand behind it not only from a research perspective but also from a social and emotional perspective.

Imagine going through your entire life as a Deaf person without knowing or being exposed to someone like you, or being able to have someone who understands what it is like to be Deaf in a hearing world.  Teachers who are Deaf themselves give a Deaf child an opportunity to know someone like them and Deaf schools give these children an entire community at their fingertips.

Teachers are often overlooked, taken for granted or even criticized for their approaches to educating children.  The teachers at California School for the Deaf in Fremont are an amazing group of people who truly care about the children and provide them with the best education.  These teachers have molded Heath into the person he is and for this, we will be forever grateful.  However, one teacher has been consistent in Heath’s life for close to three years and she is an amazing person inside and out.  She is a person that I would consider a friend but more importantly Heath’s guide into the Deaf community and Deaf world.  She put together this video of their journey with the following comments.

“I would describe Heath as a happy child.  I have known him since infancy and the first time I saw him I noticed his eyes.  He arrived by means of a playgroup in our Early Childhood Education program at California School for the Deaf in Fremont.  His eyes were big, bright and wide absorbing everything around him.  His family kept bringing him to us and they asked many questions.  When he was 18 months old they worked with the school district and was able to enroll him into my class and he has been with me ever since.  First in the toddler class and now in preschool.

He started as an observant toddler, watching everything in his environment.  He began by sign babbling but as I worked with him, it was not too long after that he started to sign clearly and fingerspell.  He is now four years old and can now have a deep conversation in ASL.  He expresses his opinion, asks questions, compares, is analytical, a leader in school activities, reads, writes and much more!  He is thriving just as we would expect any child to who has full language access both at home and at school.

I have been in the field of Deaf Education for many years now and it does not matter if the child comes from Deaf families or hearing families.  What matters most is that they come from a signing family with love and advocacy.  Heath has been blessed with all of this and more.  It has been my absolute honor to be a part of Heath’s life as his teacher.”  Maureen Yates, California School for the Deaf, Fremont, CA

Deaf Teachers they are instrumental in a child’s life, development and growth.  Do not deprive your Deaf child of these individuals.

And that is my perspective.

Afraid of LEADK and NDF.

 

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A small group of people are upset that the efforts of LeadK are making its way into many states.  I think those that are afraid do not understand the core value of the initiative and find what it stands for intimidating based upon unfounded beliefs.  I personally was there when the outlining of the first bill began in California.  ALL school and state leaders, including Oral Schools, Deaf with special needs schools, SEE signing schools and yes the California School for the Deaf were present.  All of those individuals wrote this bill together.  Unbelievably to me, they all came together for one common goal.  A child being ready for kindergarten and that is it!  I was truly surprised to see the head of the Oral school in the same room with the representative from the Deaf school ( ASL & English ).  What it showed me is there is an educational issue for children who arrive to kindergarten without the foundation they need to succeed.  Whether they are Oral or signing, all educators want the same thing for these children and that is preparing them for life with a foundation of a rich language.  If that mean spoken English, then that is what it means.  If that means ASL and English, then that is what it means.  However, parents have the right to know if their children are at risk before it is too late.

What LeadK is not… is the Deaf communities’ avenue to force hearing parents to sign with their children.  Let us dispel that myth again for the umpteenth time!  What LEAD-K IS…”is a goal to show accountability with the states tracking and monitoring the language acquisition process for deaf kids between the ages of 0-5.  The purpose of this law is to ensure that all deaf children have the foundation of language acquisition ready for kindergarten and lifetime academic achievement. Additionally, the goal is to inform parents whether their deaf children are acquiring language through IFSP and IEP meetings.  The parents have the right to know if their child is not meeting the language acquisition milestones so they can have a plan of action while the deaf child is very young.“ (Credit Julie Rems Smario )   EQUAL ACCESS… THAT IS IT!

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Now, with that said.  Many are also afraid because ASL and English bi-lingual Deaf people now have a well-known spokesperson, Nyle Dimarco, to raise awareness of the language deprivation occurring throughout our nation.  It is an epidemic and teachers of the deaf are seeing the results of children not having early access.  While technologically advanced hearing devices have made it easier for deaf children to hear English, let us face the facts, it does not work for everyone.  Despite how many people like to spin it, not everyone qualifies for these advanced technological devices and sometimes they do not work. So then, the questions are as follows, what happens to those kids whose technology fails them?  What happens to those whose technology does not work despite their years of efforts?  What happens to those children unqualified for the advanced technology who are stuck in the middle?  If those children’s assessments continue in the same way as they have been in years past then they will not be ready with a solid language foundation that is critical.

This spokesperson, Nyle Dimarco has captured the hearts of many Deaf and hearing people alike and he has become a tremendous role model for all children Deaf and hearing.  Again, I think people are afraid of what Nyle’s foundation and LeadK together can do to bridge the gap and focus on what is important to the child’s well-being, love and language.

 

We had the privilege of being a part of the first annual fundraiser for this collaboration and seeing what it has been able to accomplish is unbelievable.  We are truly excited and look forward to seeing this cause grow and flourish as it brings awareness to the language deprivation in many of our deaf children.

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Now, let us be honest about where our family is, we do not hide it.  We chose not to provide our child with technological advancements despite qualifying for them and many have said that we are limiting his options, narrowing his view of life, requiring him to use interpreters for his entire lifetime, limiting his family members who can communicate with him, and forcing him to struggle in this hearing world with communication.  Some have gone as far to say that we are abusing our child and endangering him by not giving him every opportunity.  And I would say you have a right to that opinion.  It is your right to feel that way.  However, there are those who feel the exact opposite.  And that is their right to feel that way.

Nevertheless, for our family, and us the way of life that we have chosen works.  It more than works, our Deaf child thrives in it.  In addition, we do not judge families who have taken the route with technology because we understand, as we have been there ourselves.  We have had all the same concerns as many.  We have done the research, weighed the pros and cons, and for us it just did not feel right.  We took what we call the holistic approach to life and just wanted to see what the child could do without going to doctors regularly trying to fix his problem, going to speech therapists regular trying him to get to say words that may or may not mean anything to him.  We decided to let him be different yet surround him with people exactly like him to build the confidence in who is as a person.  We decided to let him not feel like there is anything wrong with himself and that he’s just fine the way he is.  We decided to give him the mindset that despite his Deafness he can do and be anything he wants to be.  And we are so glad we made the decision we did in the way we did it because we have seen him month after month, grow just like hearing children and children with technological devices that work.  He’s learning his ABC’s, counting, spelling names, being conniving as he tries to get out of timeouts,  being stubborn, and overall just being your average 4 year old!  When Nyle came along it was just icing on the cake!  We feel every accomplishment Nyle makes in the public’s eye continues to prove to us that the decision we made and continue to make for our family is a good one.  Seeing our child with Nyle himself communicating with the confidence and joy as any other Deaf child from Deaf parents again proved to us that hearing parents could do this.  While our journey is not over and we have a long road ahead of us, we know that we have a foundation of love and language to build on which is what is best for our Deaf child.

Finally, we feel that every hearing parent needs to know that there is this rich amazing community of people who are just like their deaf children and they need to know that this community exists, is flourishing and has an amazing group of individuals to get to know.  Once a hearing parent has had the opportunity to know a Deaf person in the Deaf community, then we feel you have a full spectrum of choices, not just, what your physicians are telling you.  There is group of people just like your deaf child and they are there waiting to accept them if the time comes.  Why not look at it a different way and give the Deaf community the first chance rather than the last.  What is the harm?  They can offer your deaf child something you cannot as a hearing parent… knowledge and understanding of what it is like to be a Deaf person.

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And that is my perspective.

So Many Deaf People.

I brought Heath to Washington DC while on a work trip so he could stay the weekend with his best friend.  His family moved recently from Fremont, CA to Washington, DC so his mother could pursue her PHD.  They are such an amazing family who live on campus at Gallaudet University and we miss them tremendously.  I dropped him off on Friday morning to a quiet campus that looked like your average college campus, but what I experienced the next day after the homecoming game was truly an emotional experience.  There were so many Deaf people and so many people signing!  We are fortunate to live in the Bay Area where there are many Deaf people and so going to events with many people signing is not foreign to us.  However, the energy on that campus and the diversity of all the people was just so overwhelming.  All different colors of people coming together for a common goal; see the football team win!  Which they did not, ha!

Coming to the other side of the country and meeting all new Deaf people who are just as welcoming as those are at home continues to solidify that we have made the right decision.  I met amazing Deaf people this weekend and again I continued to be wowed by the diversity in professions.  I met a Deaf lawyer… so cool!  I also me the woman who created the world wide viral campaign of why I sign. It was like meeting a celebrity. Oh and after four long years, I finally received a name sign from this amazing woman!

It is definitely not easy for us to learn ASL and we struggle daily with communication but we know, for our family this has been the right choice.  The growth and confidence he receives by being a part of this Deaf community far surpasses any clinical outcomes that would be positive.  Many people have told me that the Deaf do not welcome outsiders into their circle, they are exclusive rather than inclusive and they have strong opinions about how to raise Deaf children.  People tell me we are making a mistake by choosing this path for Heath and we are limiting his abilities.  I believe we are doing the exact opposite.  While the Deaf do have strong opinions about how to raise a Deaf child it comes from a place of knowing, what it IS LIKE to be Deaf children themselves.  While no parent appreciates other people telling them how to raise their children, in this case it would behoove hearing parents to listen to Deaf people on this subject.  It only builds a stronger bond between you the hearing parent and your Deaf child.  I feel that those parents who do not give the Deaf community a chance are limiting THEIR opportunities and by forcing a child to take a path because it is convenient for you as a parent is wrong.  My firm belief is that we need to just let the child be a child.  We are along for their ride not vice versa.

And that is my perspective.

He Doesn’t Look Deaf.

This is such an interesting comment!  It sparked my curiosity.  Actually it sparked my motherly crazy instincts to attack the person that said it. But then I decided to educate. Here. We are going to do it here. Because I don’t want to yell at her or anyone else in public anymore for staring at us while we sign… aka (talk in public) No… at first glance he doesn’t “look Deaf”. There is no “extended disability” (heard that one too…Grrrrr!)  He’s identified as Deaf with a capital D.  Because we have given it to him. He’s clinically deaf but we don’t allow him to identify with that end of the issue. We gave up the “clinical options” when he was 1 year old.  It just wasn’t for us. We wanted to enjoy our baby and love him for every milestone he accomplished Deaf or Hearing. (By the way… no difference from his hearing sibling!  He’s been on par with her since birth. He just does it in ASL) We raise him to be proud of his difference and embrace what has been given to him. He lives by the same expectations as his hearing sister. Do well in school, educate yourself and contribute to society don’t be a burden!  It’s your job to make this world a better place. This is how we raise our children. Hearing or Deaf. But, Let’s take a stroll down what Deaf looks like!  This is my Deaf family member 😍😍😘😘😘 and these are my Deaf friends!! This is what Deaf looks like! A model? Ok! Beautiful, kind, innovative and reallly attractive. Okay!

An accountant? A mother of two and the bread winner.  Ok!How about a powerhouse business woman with a flare for marketing?  Beautiful inside and out. A mother of 3 and a lover of animals.  Ok!How about a business owner, a PHD student, a star baseball player, an onery toddler and a beautiful baby? Ok! (P.S. Yes they are all Deaf) and the best friends a hearing family could ever have! Truly amazing people. An amazing photographer? A teacher, a wife, a mother of 3 boys and advocate.  A truly amazing person. Ok!

This is the problem with society today. We build stereotypes based on the outer appearance of people. Not who they are within.

There is so much I want to say to my boy about overcoming diversity or challenges but really society needs to make it happen. I can talk until I’m blue in the face but the world must change. The perception of who he is and what he brings to the table must change.

People need to understand “Deaf” doesn’t look like anything.

Deaf… is an identity, it’s his identity, it’s his culture, it’s his people, it’s his extended family, it’s his right, it’s his legacy and it’s his duty to represent it with the upmost respect and confidence of yes! This! Is! What! Deaf! Looks! Like!

So again I state. What does Deaf look like? It doesn’t look like anything.

It just is.

 

And that is my perspective.

Five Minutes.

It has been a while since I have had a chance to post something on our blog, but I am taking the time today to talk about an issue looming over the Fremont Deaf School and their community for the past few years.

Jon and I take a back seat to any issues facing the community as we respect their wishes and follow their lead.  Two months ago, we were asked to sign a petition regarding the removal of their superintendent.  We were shocked!  He is a Deaf young role model in the community with a PHD.  Why would Deaf people want him out of the school?  It just did not make sense to us, so we did not sign.  We would not sign anything without full context.

Over the next two months, we did research about the issue.  We found out many things about the school and the leadership over the past few years.  We discovered the decline in admissions at the school, morale of the teachers and movement of positions that did not make sense from an outsider’s perspective.  Many talented Deaf teachers were moving to schools outside of the state.

I have to say that the more research we did the more we could not believe it.  How could this happen?  Heath is in The Early Childhood Education program so we did not really see too much of an issue.  Heath was thriving, he loved school, and his language was skyrocketing so we were happy with the results.  Last year we did notice a decline in home visits and other activities from the teachers, such as the loss of the ASL teacher position, but we were not too worried.  We expected the school to adjust and recover.  The ECE principal and teachers are phenomenal educators and do their best to shield the children and frankly the parents from the political issues at the school.  Now looking back the enrollment of the children in the ECE program has declined.  There are only five kids in his class now.  Last year there were 15.  Where are they… granted many moved because they got older and so the pre-k class is larger this year, but there should be more kids now in his class!

The issues came to ahead on the first day of school, teachers protesting, media doing stories, California Association of the Deaf and the AFTC stepping in, the teachers Union threatening strikes and all the while, many hearing parents like us still baffled by what really was happening.  We respect the Deaf community as our children are a part of it and so we follow their lead, but we were all still confused.  Many parents stayed up late doing the research, reading the articles to get on board and so we did.  We supported the community the best way we could.  A meeting was called for the parents, teachers and community members to speak with the acting superintendent the afternoon school began.  We all adjusted our schedules to attend.  The sheer number of people at that meeting surprised me!  We listened and in true form, I could not keep quiet, so I gave my two cents.  Apparently, whatever I said made the acting superintendent give me a meeting with his boss.  He said you have five minutes to say to him what you want to get across, the severity of this issue from a hearing parents perspective.  I went to that meeting the next day, but I was not allowed to speak to the group.  His boss said no.  Therefore, I guess I am going to take my five minutes here.  It is all irrelevant now, since the superintendent has been reassigned and California School for the Deaf in Fremont is actively looking for a replacement.  However, I am going to give those five minutes I would have said then to the new person coming in.  I would have said and will say the following:

“This school is not just a school, it’s a community.  The authorities at CDE cannot treat it like other schools in its district.  As parents who are hearing with all hearing family members, this is the place our Deaf children go to be with people like them.  There is no one Deaf in our family and that this same for other kids in Heaths class.  This is their extended family, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters.  This community needs to be heard, their concerns are valid and the morale of this community is at stake.  The future of our Deaf children is at stake.  If Deaf people leave this school to teach at other Deaf schools out of state, who will they be replaced with?  Will they be replaced with hearing people who specialize in D/HH kids?  Will the school close and our Deaf children be pushed into mainstream schools?  Heath is not ready for that.  He is still learning English.  There is no way he would survive with an interpreter.  With whom would he play at school?  Would he resort to being an introvert and play by himself?  He has such confidence in himself and to us it is a direct result of his being at this school.  It is not the same!  If my son experiences some sort of discrimination because he is Deaf, I can sympathize, but I cannot relate.  He needs to have a community to support him in his growth and development as a person.  He needs this community to help him deal with these experiences in life.  He needs people like him!  This school is not just a school it is a place for Deaf children to grow to their full potential and thrive.  This school helps them become the people they were meant to be.  People move from all over the country to be here at this school and you will see that change if the community does not support it.  Do the right thing and follow the lead of the Deaf people and their community.  We as hearing people owe it to the Deaf to treat them with the respect and listen.”

That is my five minutes.

 

And that is my perspective.

The Controversy Over Choice.

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Many of us as parents make choices for our kids every day.  We feed them oatmeal for breakfast instead of cookies because we know it is what will start their day in the best way.  We choose to clothe them when we go to the grocery store because if not…well, we just do.  We choose to send them to school every day because we know it is what they need to be educated and to provide an intellectual foundation for their future.

However, when a Deaf child is born parents do not have the choice to know the Deaf community by the medical staff at the hospital.  Instead, we are cattle prodded to the audiologist and ENT surgeon who present us with options on the types of hearing aids we want to purchase.  The medical staff does not provide us as parents the choice to speak to a Deaf person who is a member of the Deaf community.  Would it not make sense that since we as parents are not Deaf and neither is the audiologist or the ENT surgeon, that they then give us an opportunity to speak to someone who is Deaf physically and culturally?

How can we as parents make informed decisions regarding the communication modality of our Deaf child without consulting the people who are experts at being a Deaf person?  It would only make sense we should have at least the CHOICE!  Nevertheless, that is not what happens.  What does happen is we receive paperwork, handouts and a few flyers that references a paragraph or two about the Deaf community and the challenges that it brings to US as hearing parents.

Do you know that when surgeons publish studies about positive outcomes of implanted children, they are tracking the actual surgery and the success of the implantation, not the success of the child’s spoken language development 5-10 years after implantation? This is not shared with us and because we trust the medical staff; we roll with what they recommend.  It makes sense in theory and I am not blaming parents for doing what they think is best with the information they are given.  Who am I to judge other parents for their choices?  However, some hearing parents choose to give their Deaf children ASL.  There are many of us out there and we need to share our stories.  It’s hard for me especially as l make my living by supporting the technological advances in medicine and support surgeons who save people’s lives with the technology my company has produced.  With my experience, I have many perspectives, medical, technical and social.  However, even with this knowledge and understanding, we still chose not to implant our child and we chose to give him a language, culture and community.

The AG Bell Association, an organization focused on listening and spoken language for deaf children, had their annual meeting last week.  Meredith Sugar their President gave a public address at the convention, which sparked a lot of discussion on social media among the deaf community.  Meredith is a hearing person with a deaf child.  I think an oral deaf person would be better suited for this position.  It is strange to me that hearing people continue to make decisions for what is best for deaf people.  I feel compelled to address some of her statements in the public address she gave at the conference.  They are here below:

She states: MOST OF YOU, I BELIEVE, and SHARE MY VIEW THAT THE TIPTOEING AROUND IS DONE. THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, NOTHING WRONG WITH FINALLY SAYING, ALBEIT RESPECTFULLY, THAT WE SUPPORT THE GOALS OF FAMILIES TO EQUIP THEIR DEAF CHILDREN TO LISTEN AND SPEAK…..ACTUALLY, TO HEAR WHISPERS, TO SING (IN TUNE!), TO HEAR SOUND UNDERWATER AND WIND BLOWING IN THE TREES. THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED.

My response: What about the children that you instruct in listening and spoken language and still cannot hear whispers, sing, and hear sound underwater or the wind blowing.  What do you do with them?  What option or CHOICE do you give those parents?  Where do you send them when LSL does not work?

She states: THE SPEECH BANANA IS NO LONGER LOW-DECIBEL ENOUGH…..BEING TOLD THAT LISTENING AND SPOKEN LANGUAGE IS AN OPTION AS THE LAST ONE IN A LIST OF FIVE, IS NO LONGER PROFESSIONAL ENOUGH

My response: Listening and spoken language is not the last one in a list of five.  It is the first one and sometimes the only option given.  I am not sure where she is gathering this data.

She states: HAVING four LSLS IN A STATE OF MILLIONS, AND BEING TOLD THAT OUR DEAF CHILDREN MUST USE, OR BE TESTED IN, SIGN LANGUAGE, And ARE NOT TOLERABLE

My response: This statement regarding the SB210 bill in California is false.  I personally attended the first meeting where all of the heads of the California deaf and oral schools agreed upon the terms of the SB210 bill.  There were oral schools alongside bi-lingual deaf school reps supporting the language acquisition of deaf children and supported these children be tested in their method of communication whether that is English or ASL.  Lead-K and SB210 is about being kindergarten ready.  Testing to make sure children do not end up behind their peers.  It is not about testing deaf children in sign language.

She states: I DON’T GO AROUND TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT JONAH’S SUCCESS TO BRAG, OR BECAUSE I WAS SOME SPECIAL KIND OF MOM. YOU SEE, JONAH’S NOT AN ANOMALY. HE DID NOT JUST “GET LUCKY” AND HIS MOM DID NOT JUST “ROLL IT ALL ON RED.” THIS TYPE OF SUCCESS OF DEAF CHILDREN IS NO LONGER THE EXCEPTION – IT IS BECOMING THE RULE. KIDS ALL OVER THE WORLD WHO ARE TAKING THIS LSL PATH AND WORKING HARD ARE ACHIEVING THESE RESULTS. MOST MAINSTREAM BY FIRST GRADE.

My response: Kids all over the world are working hard to listen and speak.  Why make them work hard every day to conform to their hearing parents.  Why? Because it is easier for us… because then our deaf child will be able to fit in at our family gatherings, fit into our mold.  Why not let the child just be the child.  Many parents cannot just accept the blessing we have been given.  In addition, the last statement MOST Mainstreamed by first grade.  What happens to those who are not mainstreamed by first grade?  Where do they go?   I want to know about the non-success stories, where do they go?  Let us worry about the other kids who are not in that “most” statement, they have to be cared for as well.  It is almost like they are being swept under the rug.

She states: I’LL TAKE THIS FURTHER AND, I REALIZE IT IS NOT QUITE A PERFECT ANALOGY, BUT I COMPARE IT TO A CHILD BREAKING THEIR ARM ON THE PLAYGROUND. AT THE E.R., THE DOCTOR DOES NOT START BY SAYING, ‘WELL, YOU HAVE OPTIONS HERE…..ONE IS ACUPUNTURE…..ONE IS MASSAGE….AND OH YEAH, THERE’S THIS THING CALLED A CAST.” THE CAST IS THE STANDARD OF CARE. NOW, IF THE FAMILY HAS VARYING BELIEFS OR DESIRES, THEN FINE, THE OTHER OPTIONS GET CONSIDERED OR FOLLOWED. HOWEVER, THAT CAST IS MENTIONED FIRST AS THE STANDARD OF CARE. WHY OH WHY DO WE FEEL SOME SORT OF GUILT OR TREPIDATION STILL ABOUT MENTIONING LISTENING AND SPOKEN LANGUAGE AS THE VIABLE OPTION FOR OUR CHILDREN?

My response: Really, is she living under a rock.  #1 breaking an arm is nothing like being a Deaf person… period.  #2 listening and spoken language is mentioned first at least in the circle of people I know.  ENT’s and audiologists are trained to give listening and spoken Language as a first option.  ASL is at the bottom of the list and is viewed as a last resort.

The rest of the speech I cannot even address!  I however, will say this, now that the world is being educated nationally on what Deaf really looks like, with the successes of some Deaf people (Nyle Dimarco), now the AG Bell Association wants to take the stand that they have been silent all these years and are currently the victims of the Deaf extremists.  Enough already.  Let the Deaf community have their moment and let us make sure that the children are ready to face the world with a robust language before they go to kindergarten.

In the end, CHOICE, it is a matter of perspective.

And that is my perspective.