A long-simmering controversy erupted this spring over how deaf children should communicate.
It started when The Washington Post ran a story on Nyle DiMarco, the deaf “Dancing With the Stars” contestant who is also an advocate for American Sign Language (ASL). When Meredith Sugar, president of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, retorted that ASL was becoming obsolete in light of better hearing aid and cochlear implant technology, the arguing went public. But that debate was really just the latest manifestation of a longstanding conflict among deaf people and parents of deaf children: Should children be fitted for hearing aids and taught to speak, or should they use sign language? Or a combination of both?
As the parent of a 2-year-old whose hearing loss was recently diagnosed, the arguments only heightened my anxiety about how to address my son Sam’s needs.
The deaf community doesn’t see deafness as pathology in need of a cure which, as an Australian mother writes, creates a terrible conflict for parents wanting to ‘fix’ a child
Laura’s first word wasn’t “mama” or “dada” – it was “up”. I couldn’t believe my ear at first (I’m profoundly deaf on one side). Our baby, implanted with cochlear implants at 11 months old, was now talking. That first word came at 15 months. I’d spent the last 14 months crouched on the carpet trying to coax any sound at all to issue from her lips.
Like a spectre of the future, this first word predicted her language trajectory over the next year: her vocabulary exploded to over 400 words by the age of two. She is now three, blue-eyed, blonde-haired, with an annoying tendency to sing Disney songs when I’m on the freeway. Her language is “in normal range” – this means she speaks as any other hearing three year old might speak.
It also means I can stop and reflect on what just happened. I don’t think I breathed for the first two years of her life; it was a blur of medical appointments, bad news, waiting rooms, “auditory brainstem response” caps larded with electrodes, and more bad news.
Then there is the conflict that ate away at me for months: was this cherubic little person “disabled”? If so, I felt an overwhelming compulsion to “fix” her.
Written By Rich Wordsworth
September 29, 2015
In 2002, Sharon Duchesneau and Candy McCullough, a deaf lesbian couple from America, made headlines when they chose to conceive via a sperm donor. It wasn’t the procedure that drew the attention of the press, but the choice of the donor.
After eight years together, Duchesneau and McCullough approached a friend with five generations of deafness in his family with the explicit goal of having a deaf baby.
“A hearing baby would be a blessing,” Duchesneau told the Washington Post. “A deaf baby would be a special blessing.”
Thirteen years later, there's a more scientific approach to choosing the sort of offspring you want,
Business Insider reported a young man who is deaf and blind was able to enjoy the Cup after friends and family created a handmade board to mimic the players movements — kind of like soccer Braille. Here are highlights from the video:
Skaneateles Falls, N.Y. – Welch Allyn, a leading medical diagnostic device company that delivers pragmatic innovation at the point of care, today introduced its next generation OAE Hearing Screener, a fast, objective pediatric hearing-testing device that can be administered at the push of a button. The portable, handheld device delivers sounds into a child’s ear canal and measures the otoacoustic emission (OAE) response produced by outer hair cells in the cochlea. Designed to detect hearing loss in newborns, infants, toddlers, pre-school and school age children, the device does not require patient response or practitioner interpretation of exam results. The rechargeable, portable device features wireless Bluetooth® connectivity that enables automated patient data transfer to Data Manager software that lets users sort data and generate reports.
“The new Welch Allyn OAE Hearing Screener gives providers a fast, accurate, objective response so their patient doesn’t have to,” said Rick Farchione, senior global category manager at Welch Allyn. “But this new hearing screener is more than a state-of-the-art diagnostic device – it’s a connected solution for healthcare professionals who will now be able to enroll even their youngest patients in early intervention programs to help prevent language disabilities before they occur. In a matter of seconds, it provides data that the clinician can use to help improve patient outcomes.”
The compact Welch Allyn OAE Hearing Screener presents a soft pair of tones through a probe placed in the patient’s ear canal. A small microphone in the probe measures the OAE and compares the response to normal data – assigning a pass or refer result to the screening on an intuitive full-color display. The presence of passing OAEs is highly correlated with normal hearing and middle ear function.
Empowering Parents to successfully navigate advocating for their child with a disability
in medical, educational and community settings.
Jillian Anderson is a national certified interpreter and has worked in the field since August of 2000, when she graduated with an undergraduate degree in ASL. She has experience as an educational interpreter, a VRS interpreter and trainer, a freelance community Interpreter (medical, community events, religious ceremonies and services), teaching ASL in both formal and informal settings, leading sign choirs and doing private mentoring for new graduates in the interpreting field.
Jillian has 5 children and the oldest two are both deaf, she is passionate about teaching others how to communicate with them and how to advocate for their own children with unique needs. Her husband is an Active Duty Marine and they are currently living aboard Quantico.
ASL and Spoken Spanish interpreters will be provided
PLEASE NOTE:Additional accommodations or specialized interpreting needs must be requested by 02/22/2013
Providing Access to Healthcare for the Deaf Community is funded by a grant from the Potomac Health Foundation.
Beth Klein, Owner
Employment Solutions for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, LLC
Distributed 2013 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), 3951 Pender Drive, Suite 130, Fairfax, VA 22030; www.nvrc.org; 703-352-9055 V, 703-352-9056 TTY, 703-352-9058 Fax. Items in this newsletter are provided for information purposes only; NVRC does not endorse products or services. This news service is free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated.