Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Behind enemy lines?

I need little advice from the wise (and moderate) world out there!

We are thinking about heading to a Deaf community event here pretty soon. It is being hosted by a local organization that we have no experience with yet. That is all fine and dandy, we love meeting new people and our experiences with the Deaf community (in real life) have never been anything but positive.

But, there is a catch.

One of the leaders of this particular organization is very outspoken against my daughter's school, spoken language and cochlear implants. I'm concerned on a couple fronts.

First, I worry that he might recognize Miss Kat from my blog and choose to "out" where we live. I have chosen not to disclose where we live and what school my daughter attends for safety reasons. It is a very small school and it just worries me. So, if that were to happen, I think I would have to make my blog private, which is something I am trying to avoid.

Second, I don't want a fight. I just want to give Miss Kat the opportunity to hang out with other kids who sign and fluent ASL users. I want her to always feel like she is a part of this community, no matter how well she hears and speaks. She is deaf and always will be, so I want her to retain her ASL and her connection to the Deaf community. While I have never had anyone be negative about her CIs, (at least not to our face!), the issue is with her school. As you know, Deaf people inquire about your (or in our chance, our daughter's) school as part of getting to know you. I worry that because she attends this particular school people will be negative.

I really hope this isn't the case. I really have never had anyone be mean or nasty to us. We usually explain a little bit about our story, (that she has a progressive loss, that we started with ASL and a bi-bi school, but then got a CI and are now focusing on English) and they see that we are a moderate family who has chosen spoken language in addition to ASL. That we sign, that Miss Kat signs, and that is generally "good enough". This is actually the first time that I have ever hesitated about going to a Deaf community event.

Am I being overly cautious? Is the world still moderate? Even in a city with an oral deaf school?


WisDeaf said...

Your concerns are valid. Since I am an Adult Bilateral CI individual, I have gone to a Deaf event back in July of this year. Upon my encounter with the Deaf, most of them seems to be open and do respect. Please keep in mind that I am an Adult, not a child.

I did encounter few, who were against cochlear implants on children. This is an area that you and your daughter would have to face when being involved with deeply profound Deaf community's event. I do believe that your decision will be difficult and do the best as you both can. I wish you both the best and made the right decision of what direction you guys decide.

Anonymous said...

hi MKM: I'm a fan of your blog and Miss Kat! I consider myself a moderate who accepts all deaf people regardless of their hearing levels or communication preferences. Most of the people I socialize and work with are moderates too.

I think you are smart to think ahead about this. It's true that there are some deaf people who are very outspoken against CIs and oralism. However, the fact that they have not been mean and nasty about where she goes to school is a good sign. I'd like to believe that deaf adults have the kindness and good sense to NOT make a little deaf girl feel bad about having a CI or going to an oral school. (There will be exceptions to the rule, of course.)

If it were me, I'd be mightily impressed that both Miss Kat and her parents know sign language. No one would have any reason to complain, because we could communicate with you and her. what's not to love?

you could spend a bit of time preparing for different scenarios and how you would respond if something negative happened. I think you can always tell if someone is looking to mess with you, and you could steer yourself and Miss Kat away from those people or situations.

I bet that guy never reads your blogs anyway.

Anonymous the First

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Most people have been really ok with us. Obviously we are having this conversation in ASL when we discuss what school she goes to!

I just worry since this guy is really out there. I believe he has actually protested against her school :(

Maybe I can just avoid him!

Anonymous said...

In order to try to help you, I will remain anonymous altho you know who I am. If I use my actual psuedoname as I have commented on your blogs in the past and that person would be closer to figuring this out. Cuz I can say that your concerns are quite valid as I suspect I know who you are talking about. As a hint without being too obvious, we have met in person about discussing Hands and Voices chapter. I cannot find your email address so if you could, please email me.

Dianrez said...

The city you are in is known for its oral schools even though many of their graduates go on to learn ASL and merge into the Deaf community. Therefore most adults there will have background similar to Miss Kat's.

Even though there may be a few diehard fanatics, I wouldn't expect them to target you especially when you are just there to have fun and mingle using ASL.

These people picket institutions, not individuals. As people get to know you and accustomed to seeing you at events, any "fame" you may have becomes a nonissue. Just feel free to go, enjoy yourselves, and expect the best.

J.J. said...

I wouldn't worry about it. Folks are usually nicer in person. At some point, you will have to bump into these people if you want to remain involved in the deaf community where you live.

Liz said...

I hope this all goes well for you all.

You might find the odd nasty, but if you can steer clear, than you will be ok. Like a previous commenter said you will probablly bump into these characters if you are going to get involved in the deaf comminity. But all in all it should be a positive one, as you are all there to have fun.

I am a hearing aid wearer. I don't know much BSL to get by communicating that way, as I speak with all family, but I hope tyo pick up more or learn more. I went to a totally signed group once. I did not know this at the time. BUt they made me feel all welcome. So I hope you get that too.

Candy said...

One of the first of many questions in the deaf community is: What school do you go to?

It's as if to mentally get a picture of what kind of a deaf person you are. Fortunately mainstreaming is becoming the norm.

I know the area you're talking about, I know there are some real cool deaf cultured folks down there as well as there are (a few in my opinion) die-hard anti-CI fanatics. So few, I'd say it's in the area of maybe 1-5 folks.

I think you'll be okay. Just hold your head up high.

I can't believe that anyone would do anything to you and your child simply because you made a choice.

To everyone out there, just imagine hearing parents reading this post and thinking to themselves: Why bother? I'd just stay clear of deaf culture.

And, who's fault is that?

Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

sooo... did ya go? how was it? hope you did and had a good time!

Anonymous the First

Anonymous said...

YAY! Sounds like your beautiful daughter is doing wonderfully! My beautiful daughter went to oral preschool, mainstreamed, and now goes to a deaf high school--she is a junior now, has great language(oral, sign, written)--they both are well-rounded deaf girls! :) Enjoy as many social events as you can--meet more and more families just like yours--ignore people who just don't understand(both deaf and hearing)--the future is so bright for the next generations of deaf people who love and accept each other exactly as they are! :)

Katherine B said...

I just happened across your blog and have to say that you should go with your gut...I live in a community where there is a Deaf school (my son attended there @ age 2 for a yearwhen he lost his hearing) and then at age 3 1/2, was mainstreamed into our regular school that has a CI/HOH program. Both schools support each other and embrace the fact that CI's are mainstream now, both support the use of both ASL and voice. The Deaf schhol took the stance that no 2 cases are alike and that each family faces hearing loss in its own way and their job is to support families...we are still welcome at the school anytime for family meetings, deaf gatherings and social events and support groups. My son (he's 7 YO now) knows both (spoken and ASL) and we use ASL as a supporting tool (and or have a private talk in public if he's being naughty LOL)...could be that I live in an awesome community that embraces diversity :):) Kate Blue

Katherine B said...

ps- I like the fact that your daughter is called Miss Kat...my friends sometimes call me that too!

Cloggy said...

Go for it...
It will be a great experience for Miss K..
The majority will love the fact that she signs. As if it proves their point.
A minority will be hostile... but not towards Miss Kat... it will be towards her parents... and you can handle that.

Go for it...!!