Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Guest Post

Not long ago, I began talking with a mother of a deaf child with bilateral cochlear implants. Miss Kat is a little older than this mother's child, and she was asking me some questions about our local services for kids with CIs. I recently asked her if she would share her story, because I think her perspective is very unique. She was kind enough to write something up for me, and here is my first "guest post" in it's entirety.

This is a Deaf mother's story of her Deaf son who has bilateral cochlear implants (CIs) and uses both ASL and spoken English as his communication modes. His first language is ASL and English is his second language.
 I was once wary of CIs due to the early technology which was not reliable enough to me, myths, and seeing some of failure cases both personally and as a teacher.  Also the attitude (in certain people) of deaf people being needed to be "fixed" that was attached to oralism and CIs turned me off.  However a few years ago, my perceptive changed when I was searching the web for something. My attention was caught by a posting by a Deaf mother of 2 Deaf children with CIs and use both ASL and spoken English. I was surprised and curious how something like this was possible - a case where CIs actually being used by children of a Deaf household that uses ASL.  This led to my research on CIs and Deaf parents of children with CIs and who use both ASL and spoken English.  I began to realize that I was used to seeing children that didn't benefit from CIs since some public school districts usually send those children to the schools for the deaf.  Successful users are not walking around with a sign, "Look at me!" unless they are willing to share their story.  I also searched for a CI clinic/surgeon that is open to Deaf parents and signing which is very few.
My son has had his CIs for 3 years. He actually prefers them over his old hearing aids. We also started auditory-verbal therapy (AVT) when he was one. The therapist taught us some methods that can be used in a Deaf household to help develop a child's listening and speaking skills during the beginning stage.  We enrolled him in a private preschool for listening and speaking exposure.  We are fortunate because the staff is wonderful and willing to work with his services from the local public school district.  The school also runs all round.  Since I am a teacher of the deaf, I am familiar with how to work with the school system for deaf students and find resources which helped a lot.
Our son will begin kindergarten as an oral student this coming school year. He will be receiving services of weekly speech language therapy, AVT, oral language facilitator for more spoken English exposure - as in talking more with him about whatever is going on in the classroom, and a teacher of the deaf to check on his progress.
The journey has NOT been easy for us as Deaf parents.  We have faced objections and doubts from the Deaf community which we expected due to our decisions with our son.  I know that we will always face this so I am more choosy of who our friends are.  I do appreciate it when a person who is curious asks questions, that he/she wants to know even if he/she may disagree. Despite of what others think, we don't regret our decision. I sometimes wish I could communicate with hearing people with ease (without using pen & paper, etc) as my son is able to do so at his age level.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very interesting! I think your guest blogger nailed it when she said that most teachers of the deaf, as in a school for the deaf, only meet students whose CIs did not yield the expected results. Based on their personal experience, they assume CIs don't work for ANY deaf student. this is a logical fallacy.

In my experience, Deaf adults, including teachers, in my Deaf community will rarely meet a deaf person who successfully uses hearing technology to become an oral deaf adult who communicates using listening and speaking skills. These individuals have access to their communities and are not sad or lacking for socialization and acceptance. Many Deaf people only know other Deaf people who experienced frustration and failure with oralism. Ergo, oralism is a failure for ALL deaf people. that's a logical fallacy too.

I'm glad that these Deaf parents were able to deal with the response from the Deaf community and do what was best for their son. It takes courage to swim against the tide - one reason I continue to post as Anonymous Always.