Friday, August 28, 2009

Why Sign Language is So Important

I was scanning the DeafRead blogs this morning and came across this one:
http://souggy.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/deaf-shame/
It so clearly explains some of the hidden pitfalls in the path of kids being raised as oral deaf. As a hearing parent, I have grieved over my child's loss of hearing, and rejoiced over the success she has with her implants. She loves music, and is considered a very successful implant user.

But...

She is still deaf. She does miss out on things being said around her. Going bilateral last year has gone a long way toward helping her expand her hearing range, but she is still deaf.

She is most comfortable around kids like herself. Her favorite summer camp is the one for deaf kids. She is very much looking forward to starting school next week because there will be other deaf kids at school this year.

We have given her as many communication tools as we can. Implants and sign language. She has no problem interacting in the hearing world without needing an interpreter. And she has no problem walking into a Deaf social get-together and having fun.

Middle school can be a difficult time and place for anyone. We will find out soon enough if we have given her enough tools to get her through this difficult growing up time.

8 comments:

souggy said...

I wish the best luck to your daughter. It is a hard thing for parents, especially hearing parents that don't know what to do since child-rearing is not exact science.

I wrote the blog entry since I got tired of people classifying "deaf shame" as part of audism or oralism, when it doesn't even fit squarely into either definition. So I wanted to make a complete distinction from either previously established words. "Deaf shame" is not really a new phrase, really, but it got "lost."

I really do hope your daughter can handle the transition to middle and high school well. Most of us mainstream kids don't even realize how ingrained or how far back the shame run until we start taking a serious look at ourselves-- which is usually around post-secondary. So time will tell.

However my opinion? As long your daughter keep going to those socials and summer camps, I think she will thrive in both worlds. The people that shared the same experience with me? We didn't have the same chance or even have choices available to us in which your daughter presently have. So she is miles ahead of the people that can relate to my experience.

Best of luck,

Dave

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kim said...

Thanks for posting this. It's wonderful your daughter has options rather than depending on you to make choices for her. She can go either way. Her decision.

I know I'll never be fluent in ASL as a late-deafened adult, but one thing I don't understand is why so many other late-deafened ppl don't even explore the idea of sign language. I've heard many excuses such as 'I'm not really deaf' to 'I don't have time'. But even if you aren't deaf ALL the time, ASL can help during those times that you are. ASL is there for you when your technology fails. As far as time constraints, there are so many on-line resources now, it's ridiculous not to even try. Sure-- you may never be fluent, but wow I find it so helpful when people talk and sign at the same time. It doubles my understanding.

When I took ASL the world opened up for me. I wish that all deaf people could live their lives without being limited to a certain way of communicating-- whether oral or sign.

starrynight said...

I sympathize with the Deaf Shame blogger. I encourage my child to be fluent in both ASL and spoken English so that she can transition between hearing and deaf worlds and may end up in either world that she feels most comfortable with in the future. The Deaf community is a small special group that I believe that my child would be always part of. The hearing community is very large and commonplace.
I would send my child to an ASL or bi-bi (ASL and written English) program if CI doesn't work for her. That has been my plan ever since she received a CI but she s been doing well with CI in the hearing community and an oral program. I have been monitoring her very closely to make sure that she is comfortable emotionally in those environments as I am deaf myself and know what she is going through. She has been very happy interacting with peers and teachers. She s also very motivated in learning at school.
KL is right that it may change at the middle school. At least my child has several choices she can decide later on - deaf school, home public school, or deaf program at public school.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write-up. Although Souggy's link doesn't work.

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