Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Raised oral"

There is something I would like to discuss. I hear the term "raised oral" or "raised orally" thrown around a lot. And, I believe, most of the time, incorrectly. As a parent who is currently using the auditory oral methodology to teach her child spoken language, I would like to clear some things up.

Oral is NOT:
  • Throwing hearing aids on a child and expecting them to be hearing.
  • Putting a child in a mainstream school and expecting them to lipread all day.
  • Doing nothing.

 Oral IS:
  • Always managing amplification and insuring the best possible hearing.
  • Actively teaching a child to learn to listen and understand the things they are hearing.
  • Always monitoring all aspects of the child's language (receptive language, expressive language, auditory skills, and articulation) AND overall development, including social and emotional well being.
  • Insuring that the child is always making adequate progress in all the areas of language (adequate being GREATER than one year's progress in one year)
  • Always insuring that the child has access to well trained professionals in speech, language, education and audiology.
  • Insuring that the child has access to and immersion in fluent, colorful, expressive spoken language.
  • Insuring that the child has access to role models and peers that share their language.  
I made that list up, off the top of my head just now, I am sure their are plenty of things I missed! But my point is, that if a parent is allowing their child to carry a 5 year language delay, they are not "raising them oral", they are DOING NOTHING! If a parent gets the child hearing aids, and then does nothing, they are NOT "raising them orally", they are DOING NOTHING! Those are irresponsible parents, not oral parents. There is a huge difference.

People have asked me why I am ok with parents choosing oral only. And while I do advocate for both, it is true that I support parents who choose to do listening and spoken language only. The reason? Because it can be amazingly successful. I have seen many dedicated parents with children who grow up happy and do wonderfully. Why? Because they actually DO raise their child orally.
So, I'm asking, please do not lump irresponsibility in with oralism. They aren't even close to the same thing.


K.L. said...

Well said. I have gotten comments along the lines of "teaching them to mimmic speech is not teaching them language." To which I respond. Absolutely right. But I am not teaching her to "mimmic" speech. I am teaching her language. There are some people out there who simply will not accept that a deaf child can learn true verbal English as a language.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I think deaf people who were raised oral themselves have a right to use the term as they see fit. I think they're the ones who know something about how it actually turns out, no matter what their parents good efforts and good intentions were.

David said...

I have to second Anonymous's comment.

I think I posted a comment here a year or so ago about how Miss Kat's parents are well above average in their involvement in Katrina's development and education. I applaud you for your caring and hard work and I wish every Deaf child could have a family as dedicated as yours. (For that matter, make that every child>) However, I think you know that you are not the rule when it comes to families of Deaf kids.

I have met many families that did exactly what you said "Oral is NOT" and didn't do any of the things you said "oral IS". I have friends who suffered from this kind of family situation.

These families are like the families that think that the schools are primarily responsible for a child's education and that the churches are primarily responsible for the child's religious training. You know these - they blame the schools, churches, and society at large for the results of their own bad decisions in child-rearing.

I guess my point is that there is a big gap between the goals and the usual practice.


K.L. said...

Anon, You have every right to decide how successful your parents were. We are asking people not to judge us and our abilities to raise our children based on how other people did with their kids.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Yes, doing nothing has bad results. But, again, doing nothing is NOT the same thing as "raising a child using the auditory oral method". Doing nothing is being an irresponsible parent. Doing the things I listed is "oralism".

Dianrez said...

Not every parent is like you. Likewise, not every child is an only child, bright, verbally adept, able to comprehend sounds, surrounded by rich stimuli and afforded an early exposure to language by means of ASL.

Oral upbringing carries risk--that it may not be the right method for the particular child, and the catch is it takes too much of the critical period for language acquisition to find that out. It is a restricted way to bring up a child and has been called "abuse" by some who have survived it.

It puts a tremendous burden on the parents to always be available to input, input, input as much as they can in the most difficult way possible. It creates stress on the family where there are hearing siblings and other members who aren't as passionately involved with the program.

That some have succeeded in oral upbringing and some have even become integrated into the hearing community, avoiding all contact or identification with deaf people, is often used as proof that it is a desirable method.

However, most never make it as "hearing" people and will always depend heavily on their devices plus substantial community support. The fortunate ones discover the Deaf community and happily adopt it; the unlucky few spend their lives as social isolates.

The oral families that see their kids join the Deaf community become split--if they don't also go along and embrace their kids' new Deaf friends, the divide results in the children leaving the family as adults to find greater social satisfaction in the Deaf community.

I see many pitfalls in restricted methods and feel it isn't worth the tremendous effort only to end up with less than optimal results in adulthood. There is such a thing as unrealistic expectations. Play it safe and include all approaches from the start.

K.L., all children, Deaf or not, have the ability to learn "true verbal language." Perhaps you meant "spoken" language. Not the same thing at all. One will get you through college, the other alone will not.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps my previous comment was misleading. I'm not deaf; I'm a parent of a deaf child. My comment was not on my own behalf. We've made our decisions on how to educate our son, and we're comfortable with them. I merely wanted to point out that many of the people who use the term "raised oral" went through the process themselves, and it might be seen as rude to tell them they don't know what they're talking about.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

My point is that they were not "raised orally", in those circumstances. The auditory oral methodology is well researched and has requirements. If you do not do those things, you are simply not using that methodology.

If you do not have goals, therapy, follow up, you are not using the method, you are simply doing nothing. Putting hearing aids on a kid and doing nothing is crappy parenting, it is irresponsible and I know NO ONE who advocates for that.

Anonymous said...

Tell my parents they were irresponsible parents for slapping on hearing aids, raising me orally, and putting me in mainstream. Just beccause I say they did this, doesn't mean they didn't do what you did (the list of what ORAL IS ...) They probably did a lot more than you and I realize. you know it is not easy for deaf people to be orally deaf with hearing aids alone. There alot more work for us to reach that goal than some CI kids.

Anonymous said...

Now you are trying to re-define Deaf oral education? Sorry to say this, but you don't have the credentials. Even parents who followed everything necessary to achieve successful cochlear implant utilization say the program doesn't always work consistently. I know them. Perhaps you do know them. Wearing blinders and maintaining denial aren't going to change this. Making false accusations isn't helping.

Claiming that these parents are irresponsible is inflammatory in some cases. Oral includes children speaking verbally, lipreading or listening (perhaps both). What credentials do you have to tell the readers, including college and post college educated, that they and their professional trainings are wrong? What about those who were raised orally? Guess what? Despite your blatantly false claims, that's the oral education. Not all kids have cochlear implants. Based on current data, 45 percent of young deaf children don't.

Not all deaf children on Medicaids do well with cochlear implants. Does that mean all of their parents are irresponsible? No, not at all. Please be careful with what you say.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/childrens-health/articles/2010/07/20/economic-status-may-affect-kids-hearing-aid-care.html July issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery

Miss Kat's Parents said...

The last two commenters are missing the point. The point of my blog is NOT CI vs hearing aid. It is the difference between having a plan and NOT. If a parent is diligent, does follow up, works with professionals, gives their child language, etc and the child is properly amplified using hearing aids, that is still oralism. (But, today, if the child is under-amplified and can not understand all sounds in spoken language using HA's, it is irresponsible to continue oral only using HA's.)

So, it isn't about the device, it is about the follow up. And, no, I do not believe that a child whose parent does all these things will have a child that fails. It is impossible. If the child does not develop appropriate spoken language (which would be very rare) the parent would add another method to supplement, and not allow the child's language to suffer. That is responsible parenting.

As for changing the definition of oral deaf education. I certainly am not. If you read the things I wrote, they are perfectly in line with everything any oral school or organization advocates for. NO ONE advocates for irresponsible parents to not follow up.

Anonymous said...

I didn't miss your point. You missed mine.

leah said...

I love this post- we have done both with Nolan (sign language, though mostly SEE through our early intervention program) and auditory-oral (we have no AVT). Nolan is doing exceptionally well, but the auditory-oral component of his education takes a lot of work. We are switching to CASE with his TOD, but he doesn't really show much interest in signing. We are going with what HE chooses as his preferred communication method, which is to listen and speak.

Considering he is testing a full year above his hearing peers with language (expressive and receptive), we know the auditory-oral approach is working for him. He doesn't often lipread- having appropriate acoustic access is the most important component of any auditory-oral program.

Sue said...

Good post and great comments. Definitely the success of the child depends on a parent's ability to follow through and be willing to change when things aren't working.

Leah...just a suggestion...the reason your child might not be interested in signing is because you are using SEE which is a coded system and NOT a language.
I just watched some old home videos of my child at the age of 3 during the phase that we were directed to use SEE by hearing educators. She had little language and her frustration level was high. Then I watched a home video after she learned ASL at the age of 6. Holy cow what a difference. Real language is the key.

Giving children access to real languages and both bilingually has no down falls. ASL and English.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Well, Anonymous, then can you explain?

I have read the study you posted. It said that kids with Medicaid sometimes don't get the follow up they need. Again, what does that have to do with choosing auditory oral? It doesn't. It has to do with poverty being linked to under-educated parents who do not do appropriate follow up, but not with choosing to raise your child orally.

Anonymous said...

You wrote last two commenters. THe one about the proverty wasn't my post.

My parents did make sure I was amplified and all that. It was suggested by professionals who were strongly for oral only that signing would slow down my progress. So for you to think parents like mine for not providing signing was irresponsible well It wasn't like that. It how they raise deaf kids in those days. If fact that's pretty much most parents of deaf today would do if cochlear implant weren't around.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Again, I did not, and do not believe that parents who choose not to sign are irresponsible. I believe there are irresponsible parents whose children are oral and there are parents who are irresponsible whose children use ASL.

My point is doing NOTHING, is not oralism. A responsible parent who chooses auditory oral does not allow their child to fall years behind. They do not allow their child to be isolated and struggle in school. They do not allow their child to graduate unable to read appropriately.

A responsible oral parent follows their child's development and if the child stops making progress, they CHANGE something!

Dianrez said...

This is more of a serious comment than a gadfly comment: what about parents that overdo the committment to instill language?

Overzealous parents have turned off many a child who rebel and refuse to have anything to do with speech practice or even homework.

Language isn't meant to be a drill/drill/drill/drill experience. It is meant to be a joyful ongoing exchange between parents and their children.

It isn't meant to be an on-off thing where when the parent turns to another family member and all lipreading and oral/aural knowledge suddenly becomes useless.

It isn't meant to be a sometime thing where the parent "takes a break" and gabs with a guest or has a phone chat session and her language becomes inaccessible.

It should just happen, naturally and in the course of the living day to day. It should be visible and accessible whether or not the parent and child are attending to each other directly.

For many Deaf adults today who can tell you from experiencing it themselves, oralism and intensive auditory training can be a fun experience, or a distasteful and traumatic one. Listen to THEM and learn how to do it properly. It ideally should be relaxing for both sides and include 100% visually accessible and meaningful language.

The well-meant and overenergetic advice of many an oral/aural teacher to parents has severely harmed family dynamics for many Deaf childen. Take it from someone who knows.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

I agree Diane, and that is why so many parents choose cochlear implants. CI's make phone conversations and simple chats with friends accessible to deaf kids. Spoken language becomes easy to pick up and their is no need for a decade of therapy. Kids can pick up language by overhearing. If they are implanted young, they never ever have a language delay. There is no need for drilling. Children can learn naturally from every experience and interaction, from every person they come in contact with, from extend family to tv to strangers they meet.

kim said...

Anonymous-- For every orally raise deaf person who is resentful about their upbringing, I could show you two who are grateful. HLAA and ALDA is full of people like this even though they are not late-deafened. They often feel more comfortable with us than with Deaf people-- which is maybe why some Deaf peoples view of the oralisms success is so skewed. Deaf people only meet the ones who don't like to speak, not the ones who do.

kim said...

Diana-- While I agree that language learning isn't supposed to be 'drill, drill, drill' it does involve practice, practice, practice. Even hearing children need practice. They don't speak perfectly before age six or seven. In my house we still make fun of some the funny pronunciations my hearing kids used for certain words. One of them said "Draclia" for Dracula.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. Studies have shown that one of the early foundations of reading is learning the rhythms of language. Parents of hearing children are advised to talk to their children from day one and to encourage language development through word play-- talking and listening. It's play.

I haven't been involved with AVT, but my understanding is that it sounds a lot like what I did with my kids when they were in preschool-- nursery rhymes, songs, tongue-twisters and talking, talking, talking. It's all word play-- not drills-- which I think may be considered an old fashioned now.

Anonymous said...

who are "happy" about their upbringing, good for them. It doesn't apply to me . They probably have more hearing anyway (or at least used to be hearing). I do have speech and language delay. is my parents irresponsible for allowing that to happen? No. Once they raised me, there was no turning back the clock, they were just going by what the professionals tell them.

Dianrez said...

I didn't appreciate what I said being diverted to tout the benefits of the cochlear implant. My emphasis was visual and accessible, and was meant to present the profoundly deaf child's viewpoint, not to mention the CI because it is only a tool.

The child is a multisensory being that soaks up information through many avenues. AVT, the CI, hearing aids, lipreading are all avenues but each has its own limitations. Visual learning such as sign, reading English, writing and pictures are too often neglected in the intensive push to "speak and hear." This is tragic because often visual is the most effective way to learn language especially when the sense of hearing is compromised.

Lets consider the child, when he reaches age 7 saturated with intensive speech and hearing training yet doesn't read at grade level. Or have the ability to enjoy any environmental learning through visual means, such as watching others' sign conversations and storytelling sessions. They may talk well, but not read well. Or be able to talk with classmates and the teacher in a reasonable fashion, but not able to follow a group discussion or hear well in a 25-student classroom. And what about group reading sessions? Talk about tension!

Speech and hearing training does not replace visual language training, but should supplement it. People who are told that their child needs to "learn language" (i.e. speech and hearing) before learning to read or sign are misled.

Language can be learned visually as well as auditorily, and using both pathways is the safest way to go.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

But Diane, my point was that there will always be moments that a child who uses visual communication alone will miss out. There will be moments when parents DO have to answer the phone, or they have to go to family reunions, or the family goes to a restaurant or grocery store, or wherever, and the rest of the world speaks to the child. What then? These are the times that Deaf people say they feel alone and left out of their family. What do you do? You can not force your family to learn sign (believe me, we tried!) Our VERY supportive family had access to free ASL classes, Deaf mentors, Signing Time videos, and a very open Deaf community (all things that SO MANY families do not have access to) and the very best members of the family learned about 150 signs, the worst, none at all.

So, yes, of course I know that your comments weren't advocating CI's, but do you see my point? All the complaints that Deaf individuals make about being left out at home, the whole point of CI's is to make the language of the home accessible to them, then they aren't left out, and they are able to have the incidental learning, jokes and sharing that happens at home. They are a part of their family, because they have a shared language.

As for the school issues, why would a child have trouble reading if they have age appropriate language? There are easy ways to deal with groups as well, including FM's and bilateral hearing.

As for visual being "easier for the child"....I'm not sure that is always true. I have known several people, children, teens and adults (including two hoh of Deaf) who choose to communicate using spoken language in spite of always being exposed to sign. Perhaps visual is easier for you, or many profoundly deaf people, but certainly there is not a consensus.

Dianrez said...

I'm one of those who speak even though others may also know ASL, as I do with my CODA daughters when out of visual range of my Deaf son. But I am still Deaf, no mistake about that.

Stressing again: remember the effectiveness of the visual pathway. We are talking about children with compromised hearing. No matter how effective their devices are, no matter what tests say about age-appropriate levels, the child is STILL at a disadvantage in many ways when compared to fully hearing classmates.

Forgetting that and relying on the devices a little too much is natural for hearing people, because of lifelong habit and conditioning--to them, living with compromised hearing is simply not comprehensible.

Again, the visual pathway is likely the best and most completely understood vehicle of language for many children.

Developing this to the fullest extent possible should be a priority at least equal to developing hearing.

Anonymous said...

Dianrez tells the truth. In a very eloquent way, I might add.

Research has shown that the overdirective relationship between hearing mothers and deaf children using an oral method of language learning is detrimental to the natural developmental sequence. Overly involved parenting is often more damaging to the child than is under involved parenting.