Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When she grows up

I left this as a comment on someone else's blog, but I felt like I should also share this story here.

I asked Miss Kat a few days ago (please picture with appropriate signs!), "When you grow up big like Mommy and Daddy, and you grow a baby in your tummy" (her eyes grow very wide with wonder at her being big with a baby in her tummy) "and that baby is born, do you want your baby to be Deaf like you, or hearing like Mommy and Daddy?" She answered "Deaf".

I was so happy, my eyes teared up a little! Nothing on earth would make me happier than her to marry a great Deaf man from a Deaf family and for her to have tons of Deaf babies. I don't know if that will happen because Miss Kat's deafness is caused by medication and is in no way genetic....but we can all hope right?!


mishkazena said...

It shows that she accepts herself for who she is. You did a great job helping her with her identity. :)

Anonymous said...

No matter who she is, she can sign, talk and many, many more. Even, she will talk in Spanish or French. Either writing or speaking any language will strive her success.

Identifying herself for who she is, is the main key. Does not matter *IF* she's on cued speech, oral, SimCom, Total Communication, ASL and many more, she will always accept for who she is.

You did a great job for teaching her a great example.

White Ghost

Dianrez said...

That shows that being deaf is okay by her. Maybe she's a little young to realize the pitfalls of being deaf, but certainly old enough to identify herself for what she is and be fine with it! Great job, Mom!

Karen Mayes said...

*chuckling* already dreaming of having grandchildren?

It is good to see unconditional acceptance of everyone, deaf and hearing... you are setting an example of being inclusive of everyone.

Good job.

Val said...

None of Brook's "babies" (dolls) can hear w/out their aids or ci's. Very cute Miss Kat.

Anonymous said...

the part with identifying who she is ok, its good she's okay with the deafness & I'm sure you get lots of credit for that. the part with her marrying a deaf guy is reasonable too, however having deaf children, why? why are you flattered with that? what's so exciting about having deaf children? I have a sister who has 6 deaf children they are all married and thank the lord have healthy hearing kids. recently one had a deaf baby she was devestated ! and so were we. I feel like you kind of cursed yourself and your daughter - praying that she has lots of deaf babies. what's wrong with you? don't you remember the pain you felt when you had her? why not pray that she has healthy hearing babies? that's what I pray for my deaf little one. enough that she's suffering why make her kids suffer too?!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the previous post. but I see your point too! good luck miss kat

melissa said...

That's great that Miss Kat knows what she wants! You've been great helping her understand who she is!
She is very cute

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Because there is nothing wrong with being Deaf. She isn't suffering. She is happy and healthy. And, no, I wasn't "devestated" when we found out she was Deaf. It made sense with what we were seeing in her behavior and so we had her tested. When we found out she was Deaf, we didn't mourn, we got to work.

I wanted a baby that looked like me, does that make me sick? No. So, she wants a baby like her? Good for her. Most of her friends have Deaf parents, Deaf brothers and sisters and none of them are "suffering" either.

African American people want african American childre, hearing people want hearing children, so what is wrong with Deaf people wanting Deaf children?

Anonymous said...

this is a common issue which has been discussed many times before. I agree that there's nothing devestating about having a deaf child, and the issue miss Kats parents are bringing up- idea of deaf society is ok too. Everyone views their challenges given to them in life differently. thumb up for those who remain perfectly happy and satisfied even after they find out that their child is deaf. however I do agree with the previous blogger about why want your baby to be deaf, why all the heartache- having your child implanted...all the dr visits, mappings...all the things that can go wrong... rather then just having a hearing child. now don't get me wrong if your child is deaf then that's ok too, nothing devestating about that. when we found out that our baby is deaf we weren't overjoyed- we didn't go dancing in the streets but we were okay with it. when we were expecting our second child we were hoping & praying that we don't have a repeat... because that's just life - why ask for challenges. so why PRAY that your baby have deaf babies? that is a bit silly . there is nothing wrong with being deaf but its definitelly better not to be. and believe me your Miss Kat won't be "devestated" to have hearing chuldren. that's the normal way of life. G'luck

Miss Kat's Parents said...

We implanted Miss Kat because she was losing her hearing. It was something she valued and she wanted it back. She was born hearing, but has been losing it, in big chunks, quickly. She was upset that she couldn't hear things that she used to hear, so we offered her a way to get it back. She wanted it, so we went ahead with it.

Deb Ann and Hannah said...

Beautiful! :)

Tony Nicholas said...

The problem with the comments left by Annonymnous, is that they ignore the reasons for the so called suffering by deaf people. They don't suffer becasue they are deaf, they suffer because of the hearing world's own attitudes and obstacles they put in the way, and their own inability [unwillingness even] to try and understand what deafness is and does.

Shel said...

Miss Kat, Thank you for exhibiting such a healthy attitude toward your daughter and the possibility of having Deaf grandchildren. You're correct that there is nothing wrong with wanting a child like yourself, nor is there anything wrong with Miss Kat wanting kids like herself. It's cute, really.

Tony hit the nail on the head. It's not the state of being deaf that causes suffering... it's the attitudes of other people. Being Deaf is a curse?! Nope. Not from where I stand.

I, myself, have 5 beautiful bilingual boys who happen to be hearing. Guess what? My eldest (11 yr old) just told me that it wouldn't matter if his own kids were deaf or hearing. He would still use ASL with them, and they would still have access to language, either way. (By the way, with 5 energetic boys, you'd be glad you're deaf, too! *wink*)

Granted, I wasn't devastated to find out my kids were hearing, but I wouldn't be devastated if I found out my kids were Deaf either. My husband and I already have the tools to raise children, be they deaf or hearing.

It's all in the attitude. Attitude makes such an enormous difference in your view of your own children, and colours your choices in rearing them. You could look at the cup as half full, or half empty. I prefer to look at things from a half-full perspective.

Paula Rosenthal said...

This post threw me. I commend you for teaching your young daughter to accept herself and her deafness. It is such a key component to her self-esteem. But don't be surprised if there are times when she says, "Why me?" as she grows up. It is common, particularly during the teenage years when kids feel internal and external pressure to "fit in" with their peers.

I've been hearing impaired and now deaf for nearly my entire life, diagnosed with a progressive hearing losa at age 3. When my daughter was diagnosed a few weeks before she turned two, my mother and I briefly cried together. It isn't easy having a hearing loss. Whether you use sign or spoken language, hearing aids, cochlear implants or nothing at all, a deaf or hard of hearing person always has to work harder than a person with normal hearing. Obviously, like anyone else, we can be successful at anything we want and we can lead wonderful lives. But I wouldn't (and didn't) wish that I had a deaf child so she could be like me. I wished for healthy children, and most thankfully, I was granted that wish. I wish the same for my daughter, that she grows up happy, fulfilled and with healthy children someday. If they're deaf or hard of hearing, so be it, but that's not what I wish for her or them.

Shel said...


I don't know you well, but correct me if I'm mistaken. It seems to me you went to high school in a mainstreaming environment. If so, then I can understand your not feeling as if you fit in with your peers.

I have never gone through "why me" moments because I'm Deaf. I grew up in a School for the Deaf which enabled me to socialize with others like me, who use ASL and participate in Student Parliament (Cdn version of Student Body Gov't), Junior cultural activities, you name it.

The only "why me" moments that occurred for me came about because I was such an awkward teenager, and the last to be picked for any sports team (Looking back, I couldn't blame them. I would have handed victory to the other team singlehandedly...and did exactly that a couple of times...). Thank God my young boys inherited my husband's athletic ability as well as both our brains LOL.

It's a shame that the attitudes of the majority has such impact on one's view of one's own uniqueness. Being Deaf, to me, is not a disability. It's simply part of who I am. The half-full cup...rememeber?


Paula Rosenthal said...

Shel, you definitely don't know me. I never felt like I didn't fit in, I wasn't referring to myself, just cautioning Miss Kat's mother that her child may not always be happy with her deafness and that that is normal to feel that way. Obviously, not everyone has moments like that, but some people, especially kids, do.

You don't know me, in fact, I fit in quite well in school and the communities I've lived in even though I was one of only two kids with hearing loss in my entire school district. I had and have many friends, a terrific social life, was a student leader, graduated with honors, went to a private university, graduated from law school and won various awards along the way. I've also been an entrepreneur and have carved out my own career.

I've never considered myself disabled, nor has anyone treated me as if I were. It is a part of who I am, nothing more. but that is not to say that having a hearing loss doesn't make life a little harder. Miss Kat's daughter underwent cochlear implant surgery, is having auditory rehabilitation and speech language therapy and may be switching schools. Miss Kat and her parents have already been working harder to enable her to have the things they want for her in life.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone, I'm new to this blog - a parent of a deaf student of mine asked me to read these comments and state my opinion. so whoo hoo here I come. my name is Patty and I'm a SPED therapist in Brooklyn NY- serving children with various diabilities for 18 years. I also happen to be the sibling of a deaf family member. So who do I agree with? well your both wrong & your both right. firstly thw word devestated is completely not applicable here... no I don't think there's anything wrong with being deaf, I love working with deaf children . They have equal intelligence, are eager to learn, and learn quickly. yet being deaf comes along with many MANY challenges. challenges they don't ask for but its challenges that come along with being deaf. so why want your dear child to haveto go through these challenges? dream & wish that your child has deaf children? why? I wouldn't call it a curse like anonymous did but I definetly wouldn't think its a blessing. if and when it does happen, that's ok its not the end of the world..its ok to cry & its ok not to. I often ask parents of deaf children who were implanted if they think there children are still different? usually the answer Is yes, technology comes with many setbacks unfortunatelly!! so good luck to ya all I think you guys are amazing - I don't think I would be so content with my child being deaf god forbid....however seeing both sides of the coin I know that kids that are deaf are perfectly normal...just like everyone. but still why not want to be regular? why ask for challenges?

Dianrez said...

All considered: it is "preferable" to be hearing because that's what the world expects and is constructed to support. That said, finish.

It is healthier to consider being deaf a normal state of humanity, just as hearing is. So is being blonde or brunette, or brown eyed or blue. It is disturbing to see people vacillate by using "but" and "if only" and being defensive: "I never felt out of place". Hearing people often feel out of place, too.

The pitfalls and problems of being deaf are basically Hearing World constructs. A reasonable amount of education, public awareness, and concentration on strengths takes care of it pretty well.

Some people find it meaningful to emphasize their successes, and that is good. Some need to explain their differences as an "impairment", which falls under the medical model of "deafness". The Deaf community regards it differently: not an impairment or a medical problem, but simply one of a rich variety of humanity.

Paula Rosenthal said...

Dianrez, if I was on the defensive, it is because Shel put me there. She said, "...I can understand your not feeling as if you fit in with your peers." This was completely untrue and that is what I was addressing. The same goes for my litany of "successes" which I don't normally publicize in any venue.

You said, "A reasonable amount of education, public awareness, and concentration on strengths takes care of it pretty well," in regards to the "pitfalls and problems of being deaf." If that's all it takes, doesn't that mean that someone has to work harder in educating, creating public awareness, etc.?

Also, since I, and millions of other people consider hearing loss an impairment of a sense, why is it that we are not a part of the deaf community? Or are you just referring to the Deaf-Deaf Culture community? Seems like you're putting a wall where a bridge belongs.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

If my daughter has Deaf children, they will grow up in a household made for Deaf people. They will have early fluent visual language. They will have parents fully aware of what it is like to be Deaf, fully informed about Deaf education options, and technology choices. Sounds like a good place for a Deaf child to be born!

There will always be Deaf children. There will always be Deaf children of Deaf parents. Lots of deafness in genetic in nature. It isn't a bad thing, it is just a fact. I am not wishing for a painful condition, a degenerative one, or a fatal one, I don't see what all the hoopla is about.

Every single person on earth has a weakness. Some struggle with physical differences, like Miss Kat. Others, like my own mother, are crippled with a mental illness. Others still have learning issues. Can any of us say that we are "normal"? I can't. So why is it not ok to embrace difference and allow joy to those who desire a child like themselves?

Anonymous said...

where did the concept of "every parent wants what's best for their child" go? huh? and furthermore no parent is jealous of their child so why shouldn't a deaf parent rather prefer having a hearing child? why beg for challenges? it aint easy being deaf - and just reading your blogs prove that!

Michelle said...

I LOVED your post. I read about it on Paula's page and decided to see what you had to say. Respectfully, my opinion differs from Paula on this subject, but I can see where she is coming from and why she feels the way she does.

I'm a former deaf ed teacher, former Miss Deaf Tennessee, was mainstreamed straight through college, and now I'm waiting for my implant to be turned on at the end of the month just shy of my *cough* 40th birthday in May. I've been very involved in the deaf community and yet, I grew up orally educated. I now depend on interpreters to use the phone or for some doctor appointments or going to court for misc. tickets once in a blue mooon *hanging head*... so I feel like I can see the whole picture and both sides of the debate.

Here's what I see... you are a mom that loves your daughter. No matter what your opinion is, you've demonstrated open-mindedness with your daughter's deaf experience. You're willing to go the extra mile to help her hear the best she can, but you haven't forced a hearing lifestyle on her. You've taught her sign language as well. I can not even begin to tell you how impressed I am with you. Just wow. Your daughter feels loved, accepted and special and free to choose her own path in life. She wants deaf babies. Why would you tell her that's a bad thing when she is a pretty special deaf baby herself? I have a feeling being the cool mom you are that if she marries an audiologist and has babies that want to compete on American Idol, you'd love that just as much too.

The bloggers voicing dissent might not see the whole picture... what they should consider is you love your daughter. You spend time with her. You have given her every tool you possibly can to help her succeed in either world she chooses to associate with in the future or both if she wants to .

Most parents take an either or approach to deafness... We'll approach it this way or we'll do it that way. Rarely do you see a parent that says "let's try it all and let her find her own path."

Many of the parents I worked with over the years were just not available to their children. Most could not even carry on a conversation because they didn't speak the same language. I can't tell you how many parents spoke Spanish or a Middle Eastern language (several of my students came to my classroom after moving from Europe or South America) and the kids would have to play catch up learning sign language or improving the little signing skills they had while the parents had to have interpreters themselves at meetings. Can you imagine how many of my kids were behind in language because they didn't have any communication at home. Their siblings could talk to their parents or each other but my students were outcasts in their families. Even parents that speak English will often not learn sign language or only learn a few words when that is the only language their child knows. My most successful students were the ones who had communication outside of school and parents that were actively involved in homework and would follow up on hearing aid/cochlear implant care (instead of allowing their kids to toss them in a drawer if they broke or they ran out of batteries.)

So, Kat's mom, I heart you. I think your real message is best read between the lines. You're a great example to other parents. :)