Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Deaf "catch-22"

So, I was at the library yesterday and I was walking by the "Parenting" section and I saw this book: The Young Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child

Of course I was intrigued, so I checked it out.

Now, I'm a little fed up.

I am reading the chapter on "The Deaf child in the Family" and they have the obligatory interviews with Deaf college students. The kids say the same thing they always say "I was left out", "I hated going to family events", "I never understood what was being said", but here's the kicker, most of these families used ASL! The kids and the families signed and they had the exact same complaints that the oral kids had.

Well, where the heck does that leave us, the parents?? So, I can work my butt off to learn ASL, provide an ASL home environment and school, but because I can't force her grandparents and cousins to learn sign, she is going to resent me? Fabulous.


PinkLAM said...

She couldn't possibly resent you :) But as someone who was raised completely oral, I really don't think you can go wrong providing her with all options to communicate.

I am *so* grateful to my parents for teaching me to listen and speak. It's convenient to be able to easily communicate with any person off the street in spoken English without relying on an interpreter or pen and paper. I feel like being able to speak makes life easier for me when communicating with the general (hearing) public. I don't at all believe it's the right choice for everyone, and I'm not saying I wouldn't be where I am today if my parents had chosen a different route...but I am simply grateful for that option and feel it makes more opportunities available, simply due to the way the hearing world works.

On the flip side, I recently went to a statewide deaf event for teenagers. It was a lot of fun, but I definitely felt left out at times not knowing sign language. I was surrounded by a group of amazing, interesting teens, and they could all effortlessly communicate with each other in a language that is foreign to me. To me, it seems wonderful to have that common language in which no one is at a disadvantage in communicating. It's a completely different lifestyle that has its own appeal. And after being initially told I hear and speak "too well" for accommodations in the classroom, it also seems like being Deaf and communicating in ASL would have its advantages... it seems much less likely that a Deaf person would be denied an interpreter.

I know I'm rambling now, but I feel like the vast majority of d/Deaf are happy and successful and going on with their lives. You're going to hear a lot more from those who are resentful, but that doesn't mean there are more of them... they're just more vocal.

Ericka said...

Our kids are going to hate us regardless! haha! No matter hearing or Deaf they will find a reason :)

haddy2dogs said...

This has always been a concern of mine. It gets really frustrating trying to manage family gatherings. Don't worry she will not resent you. She will most likely look back and thank you.

Valhallian said...

I think there is a tremendous amount of difference between what you are doing as opposed to those other families mentioned in the book that "used ASL"

Without reading that book, I would find it hard to believe that the majority of them could even remotely be close to what you have done for your daughter. Huge difference there.

When I was in college where they had a large deaf program. There were very few hearing families, that actually know sign language fluently within the entire immediate family. It was usually the mother that knew it fluently, and the rest of the family know it somehow or vaguely where they would be able to somewhat communicate with the deaf family member, but they likely would not be able to to carry a full conversation with another deaf person that is outside of that family and that is what I think the book may have been referring to in general (again I have not read the book and I do not know the variables that were used in those stories.)

But I can tell you this, when I was in high school where I had no deaf classmates in my class and while I was an excellent lipreader, there were times in a group conversation where I missed something and whenever my very close friends that knew me well would immediately know if I missed something just by looking at my facial expressions, they would automatically repeat what the other person said before I even get a chance to say "what".

The reason I bring that up is because that is what I imagine is Miss Kat's parents would do at family events if its the extensive family members that are involved, be it grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. When you do that, rest assured, she will never resent you or the family events ;)