Monday, April 13, 2009

Advocacies for Deaf and hearing loss.

Why many deaf people do not want to be a member of AG Bell's organization?

Hearing loss experiences differ individually. There are those who have been born with hearing loss (like me). There are those who lost their hearing later in life. To many, hearing loss is more of a social and professional disability rather than a physical disability. Many keep forgetting that the majority of the deaf community is often late-deafened, and especially with the baby boomers now entering the old age, we are seeing declining hearing and it is unlikely we’d see them rushing to learn another language like ASL.

Last month, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) denounced repeated demonstrations against the association and its members by several groups claiming that AG Bell discriminates against individuals who are deaf who use sign language, specifically American Sign Language (ASL). One group for an example is “Audism Free America”. I found that there are some hard-core deaf idealists out there. Organizations like this are wasting time and money on divisive activities rather than looking for ways to give all people with hearing loss the ability to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be. Idealism basically means holding on to a set of beliefs which are a rigid system of the way life is "supposed to be" or "should be". Idealism belief system basically means you have adopted about how things "should be done" which often gets challenged by the way things are in reality. Many idealists find it difficult to fully accept anyone the way they really are and chronically attempt to control them so that they can become the way they "should ideally be" which often leads to become fatalistic, hostile, pessimistic, and negativistic attitudes. I truly believe that "over-idealism" is a control issue and that it is at the root of our need to over-control situations, people, places, or things in order to ensure that they come into compliance with our ideal image of the way reality is supposed to be.

Historically, there is a large degree of mistrust between the Deaf community and the AGBell because their philosophies are different. Depending on each individual, some may continue to use ASL after.CI surgery along with other forms of communication within their society. They can enjoy both deaf culture and hearing. There are those who will continue to be against AGBell unless they are willing to change. It is up to each individual (or parents) that a deaf person should learn to interact with other people in the most effective way. It’s up to the parents to help encourage a deaf child to interact with society as well as possible. All parents have the RIGHT to make decisions about cochlear implants and communication methodology for their own children.

I can understand as parents, they find it very tough for parents to find the "right" path for their deaf and hearing-impaired children when their parents are not getting ALL of the information about deafness. AG Bell should be sharing all aspects of what can help parents of deaf children regardless how we think should be the right way. Deaf and Hearing loss advocacies are to be very diverse who are very open minded and willing to learn everything unconditionally whether they "communicate orally, with signs, cue, and/or combined methods". What can parents of deaf children can do for their kids? They can make sure that their children can communicate effectively so they can have a "normal" relationship. I have learned that many children with hearing problems will face both experiential and language deficiencies. My speech is so good that no one will ever know that I am deaf but if they listened to my grammar and/or my speech, they will figure me out.

From birth up to until I was about 4 years old, my family didn't know I was deaf until I had a hearing test in a famous hospital in Boston. I could hear loud noises but I could not communicate or even talk normally. As soon as they found out that I have a major hearing loss, my grandparents got me a new hearing-aid and I actually remembered the first day I actually HEARD anything including my mother's voice and of course a TRUCK outside the hearing-aid store. My first hearing-aid was a Zenith.

Then before attending deaf school, I was in speech therapy and then soon, I was able to talk basic words but not really having a conversation. Soon, I started attending the Boston School for the Deaf for 7 years which was an oralist deaf school (now closed). I was not to learn or use sign language until I was about 19 years old. I really wished I learned better english grammar, even through sign language because I wanted to communicate effectively. Today, even though I can hear and can communicate effectively. My grammar will always be off and words I say will always be off the mark.

In "person", I am mildly reserved and low-key person because I am usually afraid of saying something wrong grammar or speech. I am not big on small talk. I usually prefer in-dept discussion about important issues rather than small talk. Along with my deafness, I had to struggle with the conditions that affect the development of my communication skills within personality and intelligence. Today's experts say that "Age of onset plays a crucial role in the development of language". It took me YEARS to overcome my lack of understanding in english grammar as well as sign language.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I think you expressed yourself pretty gosh-darned good! Nothing off about it. :-)