Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Judging others

This is an excerpt from a reply I made on Facebook, after a long thread about the controversy of cochlear implants and spoken language. It reflects my thoughts and experiences about judging parents who do not choose ASL for their children.

NAME OF PARENT, I don't see one single parent telling people to do oral only. In fact, if you knew NAME OF ANOTHER PARENT, you would understand that her child has been in an ASL immersive environment since she was discovered to be deaf. Her daughter's first language was/is ASL, and she was in a bi-bi school for many years. YOU judge because she is also successfully oral, and because she believes that there is no right way to be deaf. The only person saying another parent is wrong is YOU and some of the militant Deaf people who are NOT parents of deaf children. 

It is clear to me why you are so angry and upset about oralism. It didn't work for your child, and since it didn't, you believe it will not work for others. I completely understand because I was there once too. I had a child who NEEDED ASL. She would have been completely without language without it. Spoken language was completely impossible for her, and she had no way to access it fully. I saw her, and so many other children like her and I (wrongly) generalized her situation to all deaf kids. Well, the truth is, that she is just that, ONLY HERSELF!! There are plenty of other kids who are doing amazing who have been raised with only spoken language. I have seen and talked with them myself. I have met them as adults as well. I have been to conferences and spoken to them, seen panels with them, emailed and talked on the phone with them. And they support me and tell me to keep fighting for my daughter!!

The truth is, when she was younger, I was completely immersed in the Deaf community and never had the chance to met adult like I just described. Why? Because they do not exist in the Deaf community. If you seek out the Deaf community, you are wish to use ASL and will be communicating using ASL. You are seeking out people with a similar story and struggles. You have the same beliefs and common background BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT A COMMUNITY!!! If you were deaf and an advocate for spoken language for deaf children, had no desire to learn ASL and considered yourself part of the hearing community, you wouldn't seek out the Deaf community, so why would you ever hear that there??

Last but not least, I also want to share that when my daughter was very young, I judged others brutally. I KNEW what was right. I KNEW that all deaf children needed ASL. I KNEW that they would grow up and fall behind. I KNEW that they would struggle to read at the 4th grade, and as they entered high school their education would be miserably far behind. And I KNEW that once they were finally away from their horrible, oppressive oralist families, they would all seek out the Deaf community and finally learn ASL, improve their reading and academic levels, and finally get better....and I KNEW that because that is exactly what I was fed. 

I was a close minded fool. I was reacting so angrily because I was jealous. I remembering going to a Hands & Voices retreat when Kat was almost 5, and the mother I was staying with called home and was able to talk to her implanted son on the phone. I remember crying because I knew that Kat would never have the ability to easily pick up the phone and call someone. Sure, she could use relay and a videophone, but that is not the same. I just saw for a moment how the world really wasn't set up for her, and it made me so sad. I was jealous that her child didn't need special accommodations, that he wouldn't have the same stumbling blocks and communication issues that Kat would her entire life. I was sad that she couldn't just walk into a store and ask where the shoes were, I was sad that she couldn't watch any movie at any time. I was so jealous that their children were going to have easier lives than mine, and I lashed out with judgement and anger because of it.


MM said...

Deaf purists are the past who cares what they think ? more than 60% of ALL deaf here have an CI now. I used to read 'Deaf' declaring CI's made holes in your head that leaked and let the rain in, DOH !!

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