Sunday, September 27, 2009

Anti-CI vlog/movie

In response to the furor over these two anti-ci vlog (My Son Is Deaf, Finally!) and movie (I Sign, I Live), it is very important to keep in mind that not all of those who are members of the deaf community think the same way.

The most important fact here is that many of us in the deaf community either have children with cochlear implants and/or have cochlear implants ourselves. We have many friends within the community who are supportive of our decision, and this number is increasing rapidly. The other side knows it too, and it is hard for them to see past the history of oppression within the community to the facts of the present. With time, hopefully soon, the community will finally come together and embrace everyone for who they are, regardless of their choices.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conundrum – Why Parents Make the Decision

Many Deaf children’s advocates recommend waiting to implant until the child is old enough to decide for him or herself if they want to get an implant. If all else was equal, I would be right there with them. The problem is that for the implant to be successful, the brain needs auditory input during the critical first three years. If hearing aids work for the child, great, waiting is good. However, for the profoundly deaf infant, hearing aids are rarely adequate in providing the needed auditory information across all the pitch ranges necessary to acquire verbal language. Therefore, waiting for the child to decide is the same as choosing not to implant at all. Because the chances are good that if you implant the 10 year old child who has had little to no previous auditory input, the implant won’t work for them. It is not that the implant can’t give them sound, it is that the child’s brain is no longer able to adequately process that sound into meaningful information. So parents actually have no choice about letting their child decide. If they choose to wait and let their child decide, they ARE deciding. They are choosing not to implant. To implant or not to implant is by default, a decision the parents WILL make, whether or not they even recognize that they are the ones doing the deciding.

If you truly believe that this is a decision the child should make when they get older, how do you address the reality that by the time they get old enough to decide, they are too old to make good use of the sound the implant will give them? Again, we are only talking about profoundly deaf infants who do not get adequate use of hearing aids.