Friday, February 3, 2012

My Son is Deaf, Finally!

Well, I have completed writing Allesandra's Bequest, and it is now in the editing process. A big thank you, Froggy Dilinger.

I suppose now would be a good time to announce that I am a judge in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. I am very excited about this, and will be judging ebooks in a few different categories. We shall see how it goes, and I will probably review every decent book I come across while judging. Let's see how it goes. If you want to know more about it, click on the badge to the right of the blog screen to see the website.

With that out of the way, I want to talk a bit about somethign more specific. But before I do, I need you to invest about ten minutes of time watching a youtube video. It is imperative, and I mean imperative, that if you start watching the video, you must see it through to the end. If you don't, please do not leave a comment, or even bother reading the rest of this blog. I don't mean to come off as harsh in asking this, but it is very necessary, and those of you who do watch through to the end will understand why. Here is the link,

Ok, for those of you who decided to stick it out, thanks. If you have seen this before, more power to you. I just found this video yesterday thanks to a facebook friend (Ladd, thank you for posting it).

When I watched this yesterday, I couldn't believe what I was watching. It blew my mind that something like this could have actually happened. I know many Deaf people who wish their children to be deaf as well, and the truth is that about 90% of Deaf parents have hearing children, you know, like me. Conversely, 90% of deaf children have hearing parents. I know my parents would have been overwhelmed with joy had either myself or one of my sisters had been born deaf, but that wasn't in the cards for them.

To be totally honest, I hope for a deaf child of my own. ELF and I have no children now, but that would be a wonderful gift to us when we do start a family.  I suppose thats just something that many a CODA feels given the experiences we have in the worlds of Deaf and hearing. A big part of me wants that so that ASL and Deaf will not die out in my family. Thats all I will say on that personally for now.

Back to the video, when I got to the end, I was relieved, and then I realized just a moment before it was brought up what this story was all about. When he said it, I felt that this was a very impactful way to get the message across.

So many hearing people and nearly all medical professionals view deafness as something to be fixed. Honestly, this physical disability has no impact on intelligence, so why do they fight it so much with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and speech therapy?

Deaf people are proud of who they are and what they can do. The truth is, they can do anything that we can do, even be doctors. Imagine that. A Deaf doctor. How cool would that be? Maybe I will meet one before I am dead. I certainly hope so. The truth in this youtube video comes down to that point. The people who suggest/recommend cochlear implants (doctors and audiologists) and the people who make the decisions to implant them (parents of deaf children) most often do so with little to no regard to the Deaf community. They do this either for the reason that they do not really know about Deaf people and culture, or they believe the myths that Deaf people are less than the rest of us, and who would want that for their child?

It is vitally important that deaf children have a chance to meet and become familiar with the Deaf community. I know from personal experiences and from so many Deaf friends who never feel more confident, proud, and normal than they do within their own circle of Deaf friends, where everyone is signing and just being themselves. When deaf children are implanted for the sake of being fixed, where they end up is uncertain. Many Deaf adults worry that these children will never have an opportunity to become Deaf and miss out on it, and that will weaken the Deaf community. They feel it is their right to have full access to their natural, and fully accessible langauge (ASL) from the moment they are diagnosed. An implant and everything that surrounds it pretty much guarantees that this will not happen for that deaf child while their hearing parents make these decisions, and if they are lucky they will find the Deaf community when they are old enough to decide things for themselves, and hopefully embrace it. I hope I have explained this adequately for you.

The real problem is that many deaf children who found the Deaf community later in life really do regret that they were never exposed during their childhood. They feel they were cheated out of this opportunity, and that it was their right to be exposed. I want to take that one step further and say that it is also the right of the parents to have equal time and access to explore all options before making such a decision for their child. So many hearing parents never really get that access because those advocating implants are only telling their side of the story, and no one is notifying Deaf advocates when a child is diagnosed as being deaf. Much of the time when the option is mentioned, it is cast in a negative light that makes it seem undesireable. I can say Audism. So when you get down to it, most hearing parents are being cheated, too.

On a more personal note, this video's suggestion for not implanting a child and allowing them to decide for themselves when they are old enough is something I believe is fair. If being deaf does not affect one's intelligence or capabilities, why mess with it, especially when they may not want it when they are old enough to make their own decisions. Would you put a tattoo on your child? If you did, what if they hated it as they got older? What if your son or daughter was unmercifully picked on by his or her peers for that art you thought was cool or cute at the time? Pretty ridiculous to even think a parent would go there, right? And hey, kid, once you're 18, go get a tattoo if you want.

I end this blog entry on that point, and encourage any of you who agree with the video to share it with your friends and others you know. If nothing else it gets people thinking about it, and perhaps the more we think about something as a whole, the better chance we have as a society to make more responsible decisions, even if we think we already are.

R. M.


  1. Thanks for this perspective--most of us never have to think about this issue, but it is enlightening to think of deafness as something that doesn't need to be fixed in order for the person to live a full, rich life.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, greatly appreciated, and I hope it really did make you think about it.

    R. M.