Saturday, March 31, 2007

Part II: Through Deaf Family's Eyes on PBS Through Deaf Eyes

Barb DiGi and her deaf children, A.V. and Brianna, share their perspectives on PBS Through Deaf Eyes (Part II of II).


David said...

Hi Barb

Yes I agree with you about Bi/Bi approach not being mentioned in the film. That is one I am very disappointed about. I know the Deaf documentary is just the beginning. I hope it is not the beginning of end!

YOur first part vlog is not working and I jumped to second part.


Susan said...

I agree with you, "don't give up" make a good film, by Deaf people.

I was surprised that PBS would put full coverage on CI operation... I cried when I saw it... so unnecessary, like what you son says, what is wrong with hearing aids???

Barb DiGi said...

Hi Susan,

Actually PBS did not show the surgery part. I was suggesting it should show also notifying about the risks of CI.

See link:

Risks from the Surgical Implant Procedure

Injury to the facial nerve --this nerve goes through the middle ear to give movement to the muscles of the face. It lies close to where the surgeon needs to place the implant, and thus it can be injured during the surgery. An injury can cause a temporary or permanent weakening or full paralysis on the same side of the face as the implant.

Meningitis --this is an infection of the lining of the surface of the brain. People who have abnormally formed inner ear structures appear to be at greater risk of this rare, but serious complication.

For more information on the risk of meningitis in cochlear recipients, please refer to FDA's Public Health Notification: and its Advice to Patients:

Cerebrospinal fluid leakage --the brain is surrounded by fluid that may leak from a hole created in the inner ear or elsewhere from a hole in the covering of the brain as a result of the surgical procedure.

Perilymph fluid leak --the inner ear or cochlea contains fluid. This fluid can leak through the hole that was created to place the implant.

Infection of the skin wound.

Blood or fluid collection at the site of surgery.

Attacks of dizziness or vertigo.

Tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ear.
Taste disturbances --the nerve that gives taste sensation to the tongue also goes through the middle ear and might be injured during the surgery.

Numbness around the ear.

Reparative granuloma --this is the result of localized inflammation that can occur if the body rejects the implant.

There may be other unforeseen complications that could occur with long term implantation that we cannot now predict.

Just that PBS did not cover the ugly side of CI. I am just filling it in that it should.

Susan said...

thanks for clarifying that PBS didn't include the CI surgery part.

Yes, I agree that this need to be shown, however gruesome, so we can see the seriousness of the surgery, and how invasive it is.

Thank you for providing the FDA links showing the risks involved in CI surgeries. I tried to look for infos on this in the past without much luck.

Thanks again :)

ASL Risen said...

Yes! 100 % percent agreed with all of your points on part 2! Thanks again for sharing your vlog!

Deaf Niches said...

It could be that PBS's goal was to show what the deaf culture was all about (that is why a lot of history was covered), so PBS did not spend more time on the deaf education.

You could ask PBS for the unedited version of "Through Deaf Eyes"? Won't hurt to try.

Wow, the video of CI operation... eeewwww! The hearing aids are sufficient for my children.

Remember the movie "Sound and Fury"? It did a good job making deaf people look oppressive on deaf children (I winced a lot, making me want to sympathize with the hearing people... but I knew better.) So we need to have a balanced team of deaf and hearing filmmakers to produce a NEUTRAL, factual movie about what helps deaf children succeed, providing the statistics, teching methods, etc. at the same time acknowledging that deaf education is NOT for all deaf children. Not an easy task, since there are many hardliners who think ASL is the only solution.

Aidan Mack said...

My friend challenged me and said if baby had a tumor or other diseases in her/his brain, and she/ he needs to do the surgery. That would be invasion? And she mentioned about C-section that it had to cut many layers of skin before the doctor could take the baby out of womb.

I told her that surgery on brain for tumor/diseases is considered emergency. With C-section, it is a matter of life or death but she said that now C-section is not about a matter of life or death. It is more preference. Many doctors feel it is much easier if they do C-section therefore having cochlear implant is more like preference.

How do you respond to it?


Jessica said...

I winced when watching the CI surgery. I cannot imagine having to do that on a baby. I know babies do have surgery for heart or whatever else but those surgeries are necessary to maintain life for them. CI is not considered on that same level, I think. Some parents may feel that it is important that they have hearing as early as possible to for learning to speak and not wait until later. That is what the schools tell the parents anyway. You are right, we need a full picture of info on the CI.

mishkazena said...

My student showed the film of her brain surgery to our class. It was more extensive than what you showed here, due to a brain tumor which removal destroyed her hearing. She had a cochlear implant during that surgery, but it wasn't successful.

Someone very close to me had a cochlear implant but he heard static and eventually discontinued due to severe headaches. A Gally student stopped due to headaches, too. I know someone who was very sick the first few months due to vertigo after her C.I. two years ago, but afterwards it was better.

Others didn't experience problems, though.

Anonymous said...

Barb --

I used to work with a CI toddler. For what I learned is that the CI have the limits. For example, for the safety reasons, the CI child must remove his CI when he rides the horse. And also he must wear the helmet as well.

Yes, there are many pros and cons on CI issue. I prefer to stay that way where I am at. For the reason, I want my freedom from CI and the limits. That is what my beliefs are all about.

White Ghost

RLM said...

Excellent vlog presentation with you and your children from your family's perspective on PBS's documentary - "Thru Deaf Eyes".

Your children surely have real intellects to express their thoughts on PBS's "Thru Deaf Eyes"

What a splendid idea for involving your family altogether to vent out thoughts.

Robert L. Mason
RLMDEAF blog (will insert vlog sometimes this spring)

Domvera said...

Hi Barbara,

From what I viewed your two-part series of your perspective in "Through Deaf Eyes", I just recalled what I watched the documentary films, and variety documentary channels (History and Discovery) and TV Mini-Series relate to two cultural group such as Native Americans and African-Americans. The examples of portray that we saw since late 1970's to present such as ROOTS, ROOTS: THE NEXT GENERATION, IN THE WEST, 500 Nations, and more. These shows exposed many truths how they were repressed by the white Americans (Colonists)/European settlers with many oppressive ways such as slavery trading, cannot allow them to write/read, forbiddening the spirit dance, and many things to occupied. Truth always come out in the public view.
I agreed with Barbara and other vloggers' comment to add more segments in the show. Why don't the filmmakers prepare to do some mini-series to expand about 1,000 years back to the Ancient Greek how Aristole thought about deaf, how the deaf people invented sign language to communicate before the formal sign language, St. Jacques School for the Deaf in Paris by Abbe Sicard, Laurent Clerc, Masseur, Thomas H. Gallaudet brought Clerc into America to blossom of deaf culture and language, from 19th to 21st Century.
What do you all think?

Barb DiGi said...

DeafNiches: Statistics are important to show the number of "success" of deaf children by identifying the factors. We need more information since today I barely seen children who grew up with CI have demonstrated success by possessing a PhD or holding higher job positions.

Aidan: I was challenged with these type of questions before and I could tell you what I had responded. You are right, C-section is now a matter of option regardless of no risks that are imposed. You see, it is a matter of these pregnant women making a decision to undergo surgery whereas deaf babies and toddlers have no say as their parents make this sole decision. That's where I have a problem in this area. For those deaf individuals who make decisions for get cochlear implants, it is their call knowing what it takes based on the risks and the sequence of the surgery. They are older enough to understand and "vote" what they want to do with their lives.

Jessica: That's true on how parents are informed about having their deaf child getting CI at an early age. But that doesn't mean their acquistion of literacy skills are guaranteed. We recognize the need to gather information about updates on CIs among deaf children who received at an early age.

Mishka: Like FDA had reported the side effects (link given earlier in this comment section), you had identified there are some users experiencing it. But can you imagine for babies and toddlers to go through this experience? What kind of psychological impact and emotional development will they experience?

RLM: Thanks, glad you enjoyed our views. It is an opportunity for them to think about what they have seen from viewing the film.

Domvera: I would love the idea to produce a series of Through Deaf Eyes by going all the way back to classical civilization age. I just hope that someday that will happen!

mule435 said...

Yeah there are good point of lacking of DEAF things but you know Media are influecing too much on cochlear and Like suffer inner ear but Where does they think it is naturtal to be DEAF/HOH to be more comfty! Hearing People still not understand what are ASL, DEAF,HOH, Right of LIFE,etc

Lisa said...

I had suggested my late-deafend friend not to have a CI because he had a frequent ear infection since he was a boy. He told me recently that he was very happy with his discussion against it. One of my deaf friend's hearing ex-girlfriend had their deaf little girl CI done against his wish. She now has balancing problem.

Cy said...


Thanks for showing the CI surgery. EW. Did not realize just how invasive it is! I have vertigo and I know I will never ever elect for it. Heck, I've not worn hearing aids since I was 11. Hate these things.

I agree - Aidan challenged you relating the surgery comparing CI to C Section. In some cases, C section is necessary and life saving but it seems these days it is more a preference. Like you said, the women are adults and are mature and educated enough to make a personal and intelligent choice but babies are not. Not just that - some babies will STILL be visual learners depsite being outfitted with CI as infants - an evidence I've seen in my years of teaching. Thus I think it is best to wait and observe the child to evaluate and assess their learning style and processes before determing whether CI would be comptiable with their learning process.

Anonymous said...

I saw your other VLOG about English vs ASL. I am glad you brought it up. However you signed English to your children when you asked them questions while reading. "WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?" (ASL GLOSS) THAT is not ASL. AND, TO. You used those. I still applause you for trying. Be sure to edit your ASL before showing this to the world. Good job and good luck!

Barb DiGi said...

Actually, I haven't seen myself signing DOES in what does that mean question. The AND and TO are used often in ASL..look at Joey Baer and many well known deaf leaders using this as well.

I don't know what are you getting at here. I am just demonstrating how my own deaf children learn and they are being successful with reading and writing. Didn't you know that there is a continuum of ASL? All I know is that I am doing it right. Why don't you try to show it then?

By the way, your English needs editing. We cannot say I still applause you for trying. You need to say I applaud you for trying. So be sure you edit yours as well.

Good day!

Anne Marie said...

Hi Barb!

I have been watching your vlog from time to time about bilingualism and how ASL proficiency provides a foundation to English literacy. I hate to say, it is not always the case. ASL serves as a full rich language mostly relevant to high cognition function, essentially critical thinking skills. It does not help with grammatical aspects that have to be learned mostly on one's conscientious efforts and teacher's high knowledge and skills in teaching both languages explictly how each language works and compares with each others.

Also one with greater hearing loss usually have to read a lot more to acquire good English.

I hope you will continue vlogging on chapters about bilingualism for deaf/hoh kids, I really enjoyed this one.

Barb DiGi said...

Hi Anne Marie,

I do agree with you that ASL increases higher cognitive skills but I still believe that there is a way to bridge ASL to English allowing deaf children developing better grammatical skills.

There is no question that reading plays a huge role, however, I beg to differ that based on my 15 years of teaching experience, I have seen some individuals who "hear more" than the others have lower English skills. These deaf students who have proficient English skills are from deaf families or from deeply immersed ASL environment (with deaf children from deaf families) when growing up. They become strong readers as facilitated by their parents and teachers, like you said, who possess high knowledge and understanding how both languages work tend to act as a bridge between both languages.

Perhaps I would agree for these students who lost their hearing at the age 7 that I have seen and taught having rather sufficient English skills but I have already seen better by those who are profoundly deaf especially coming from a family that emphasizes on reading.

Thank you for your thoughts and I hope we will continue to learn how we can successfully teach deaf students better literacy skills.