Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Excluding ASL from Deaf Children is a Bad Idea!

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When reading the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education ( Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 2007), a wealth of resources gathered from a variety of research claiming that placing Deaf children, regardless of their hearing level or implantation, in an oral- exclusive only environment is NOT recommended. It has been demonstrated that the basis for claiming superiority of approaches which specifically exclude signing, per se, has been consistently weak (Marschark & Spencer, 2006, p. 4; Powers, Gregory, & Thoutenhoofd, 1998, p. 132; Young et al., 2006, p. 327).

How can we avoid the delay in the acquisition of both spoken and a signed language in all native countries? Leigh (2006) suggests that these delays can be avoided by challenging the tacit connection between implantation and monolingualism; that is by applying principled "sign-inclusive" models. Here it says it all. Include signing models to expose to ALL DEAF children regardless of hearing level and implantation.

The problem lies with how a society perceives the Deaf. If deafness is viewed solely as a medical deficit, then it is unlikely that a bilingual individual approach or overall policy will be developed and offered; if it is seen primarily as a linguistic issue, then a bilingual approach or policy is more likely. This is what we all can do to change the society's view that the Deaf is a linguistic minority culture and it begins with yourself.

Knoors (2006) has argued for a No-exclusion service provision for Deaf child and their families, which would take into account the wide diversity of strengths and weaknesses of individual language learners, by exposing them to rich opportunities to develop both sign and spoken language. But it is not always idealistic for all deaf children to do both. Deaf children may have limits with speech production as well as in rare cases for the struggle to use sign language during the language critical age period (birth to 3 yrs. old).

Why is resistant prevalence in providing sign language exposure to cochlear-implanted students? We still haven't fully understand and be able to address developmental challenges inherent in the mental crossovers between signed and spoken languages (Marschark et al., 2006, p. 15). Some scholars have noted specific language development challenges, in relation to crossovers between spoken and manual modes of English, among cochlear-implanted pupils. BUT these findings have yet to be explored and corroborated, by tentative explanations have been put forward (Burkholder & Isoni, 2006; Geers, 2006).

Back to Knoors' proposal on No-Exclusion Service Provision, this model would be viewed as an enrichment rather than a disadvantage and children's linguistic aptitudes and abilities could be nurtured through ongoing assessments and quality service provision tailored, as far as possible, to the individual student.

Coming from The Language-Learning Situation of Deaf Students by M. Virginia Swisher TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 239-257, "Deaf children often have major difficulty learning the language of their parents, who in the majority of cases are hearing. The principal reason for these problems is limitation of linguistic input reaching the children: The hearing loss itself acts as a drastic filter on the linguistic data, and information obtained from aided residual hearing, as well as from visual sources such as lipreading and signed representations of spoken language, is typically fragmentary. In addition to the limitations of input, the very difficulty of the task of learning an auditory language with severely restricted information is likely to lead to loss of motivation. Another complicating factor is language attitudes and the fact that the deaf community uses a visual-spatial language, American Sign Language (ASL), which deaf people acquire without effort and which provides a focus for cultural solidarity. Attitudes toward ASL are complicated by its identity as a minority language in a majority culture, whose standard language influences it to some extent. Attitudes toward English are complicated by the fact that the learning of English is imposed by an educational establishment run by hearing people and that ASL is not used as a language of instruction."

This article has been published more than a decade ago and we have seen a growth in ASL/English bilingual education thanks to CAEBER (originally known as STAR) program that enables schools for the Deaf to use bilingual strategies in the classroom.


Just Wondering... said...

Now, let's look at this issue from the opposite direction... I've noticed that deaf schools who provide an ASL-rich environment are resistant to include the spoken language into their classrooms. Do you think that it's a bad idea as well?

As for myself, I really would like to see a true bilingual environment where both spoken language (English) and ASL are cherished. From my observations, it's always either one or the other, not both.

So, in light of that, should you be fighting for deaf schools to incorporate spoken English? If not, does that make you a hypocrite?

Just wondering, and have a good day!

Dianrez said...

The article was published ten years ago??? Tsk. We might have increased bilingual programs, but this proves that hardcore audists still rule and don't read research that they do not agree with.

What if we give in and propose ASL/bilingual education as a MEDICAL remedy for deaf children?

Playing devil's advocate...if it is presented as a cultural concept, the parent might imagine foreigners are coming to take their child away and educate them in a language they don't use at home. But a MEDICAL treatment, they might just think of it as a bitter, but necessary medicine.


Barb DiGi said...

Just wondering,

While we all would like to see Deaf children thrive in both languages, not all of them are able to master spoken English which may not be realistic for some due to their limitation on speech production. However, as for written English, I believe it is more possible for most except for those who have learning disability. That's why we must look at the Deaf child individually.

Historically and still today, most schools for the Deaf have been instilling communication practice using spoken English and simcom/signed English whereas ASL as a language of instruction has not been acceptedc. That is why we should be fighting today for incorporating ASL as a language of instruction.

Now, I am not condoning those who are just inclining on one-approach method though I feel by providing the whole package is the most idealistic approach but we must look at the Deaf child on what he or she is capable of. Keep in mind that speech is a skill or an accessory rather than learning language development.

It has nothing to do being a hypocrite, mind you. I would recommend you to study more about the historical oppression of Deaf Education to help you understand better why we should be fighting for ASL in Deaf schools.

Have a good day, too!

Hearing Mom said...

To Just Wondering,
Your question is one that many people believe is happening in Deaf Schools. This is a myth that has caused hearing parents to be afraid to send their children to Deaf Schools.

I am a hearing mom whose daughter attended a Bi-lingual/Bi-cultural Deaf School. It was the best decision I ever made in my life. The language of instruction was ASL and English (reading and writing) was taught as a second language.

Speech was taught in Spoken Language Classes. There were many students who benefited from speech training and used speech outside of the classroom.

Both ASL and English were equally respected. Students, staff, and parents attending many workshops that helped us understand the differences in our cultures in order that we could respect and understand each other better. Educating and respecting each other is key.

Let me explain why it is not possible to use two languages in the same classroom. ASL has its own syntax (word order), grammar and linguisitic rulss and is a totally different language than English. ASL is totally accessible to all Deaf Children and allows for a free flow of communication in the classroom. Many times people use the example of trying to speak Spanish and English at the same time. It is impossible to speak both at the same time without making each language almost impossible to understand. That is exactly what happens when people sign Exact English (mostly) and speak at the same time called Sim-Com. Hearing people think they are listening to broken English and Deaf people are watching broken sign language. In either case, someone loses.

Deaf children are visual and have a right to have access to information through their eyes just like we hearing people have a right to language through our ears. That is why public schools are taught in spoken English. The same holds true for Deaf Schools.

I have seen first-hand the proof that Bi-Bi education is the key. It unlocks all kinds of possibilities including opportunities for spoken language if that is so desired and achievable by the child.

I hope this explanation is helpful.

Anonymous said...

I have the same opinion what Just Wondering said. I see that the bloggers and vloggers have never mentioned about code switch between ASL and spoken English. I myself experienced code switch between Spanish sign language and spoken Spanish when I was a child. It appeals to ASL and English because they are always separated into language.

During years, 1880 Milan they used obliterate Sign language for deaf children and there continued to practice oral language until about 1960 and 1970 when the new system set up TC, Cue language, SimCom and Sign language.

Take a look at years in 1880 to 1960 how hearing parents option mode communication was not here TC, Cue language, SimCom and sign language compare with between 1960 and 1970 option to appear TC, Cue language, SimCom and sign language.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting in the term code-switch that possible incohesive paragraph Bimodal bilingualism. Is it true although I am not a teacher?

Deaf children need to learn separate ASL and English languages avoiding the same time ASL and English spoken.

Two languages in between English spoken should drop ASL and even ASL should be off voice.


Anonymous said...

Excluding ASL from deaf children is indeed a bad idea and has been for eons now; when are they ever gonna get it right?

K.L. said...

Having a child who was implanted at 12 months, after losing her hearing to meningitis at 7 months, I took a different approach. I used Signing Exact English. That way she got the same words both visually and auditorily. That could not have been done with ASL. I understand that we sacrificed a Deaf Cultural approach, but she gained by being better able to communicate with our large extended family. Since that is her main culture, we felt it was more important for her.

That dual approach worked amazingly well. She is mainstreamed in school, and is above grade level in all areas. S.E.E. is not the same as ASL, but many of the signs are the same. She will have little difficulty learning ASL, and I have no doubt that she will do just that as she gets older. But we needed to concentrate on her verbal and auditory skills while she was little, so she could maximize her ability to work with her cochlear implant.

So while I understand how important ASL is, flexibility is the key. So is tolerance. One single methodology simply cannot fit everyone, and forcing ASL to be used in every case will not work.

mungojelly said...

I'm hearing and I've always wanted to learn ASL, but I've never had access to it. I never realized before encountering the deaf community online that deaf people would have trouble accessing ASL as well!

This business of telling deaf people that they shouldn't learn ASL even in addition to English is just absurd. Everyone knows that bilingualism is healthy for the mind, and anyone with any sense can see within themselves why that's so (even if, like myself, they grew up with access to only one language). It's only the US hearing culture's tremendous xenophobia which forces us into being one of the most monolingual nations on Earth.

I believe that they are afraid of ASL in ways that go beyond their fear of all languages. For instance, ASL violates taboos against movement & expressiveness, arising from a repressive religious culture, one which until recently outright banned public dance, if you'll remember.

The internet is awesome at evading censorship, though, isn't it? It's finally giving me the access to ASL that my society was afraid to grant me. And if I ever gain fluency in ASL, I promise to share that knowledge with everyone I can, both hearing & deaf, so that everyone has an equal chance to communicate & to expand their minds in this rich medium.

Ann_C said...

Barb DiGi,

Thanks for an interesting article.
This is just my thinking on this subject, and readers here can take it or leave it for what it's worth.

As doctors/ audiologists are usually the first contacts that hearing parents approach when they suspect hearing loss in their deaf child, the medical community need info/education regarding this "no-exclusion service provision" as part of the child's LANGUAGE(not speech) therapy. Call ASL a 'part' of the deaf child's therapy to gain understanding of language, along with the other options of acquiring speech, ASL/English bi-bi education, mainstreaming, etc.

If the child gets this therapy early enough, he will have a better grasp of language, not just English only. The parents need assurance that there are a number of choices for their child, not just one or the other. If one part of the therapy doesn't work for the child, the parents will know there are other options.

Right now the ASL and oralism factions are saying it's got to be either or, and that does nothing for the deaf children's futures. The no-exclusion provision has to start with the medical community and it can have a trickle-down effect to the general public. Right now medical interns are being taught the "medical model" definition of deafness. Language therapy would have to be at the top of deafness topics among the medical community, in order to change the perception that oralism will fix all deaf children's communication dilemmas.

How will the D/deaf community convey this language therapy approach to the medical community??
Keep in mind most of the medical community are hearing as well. They listen well to those who are also practitioners of medicine or of their own community. Do we have D/deaf doctors and audiologists who can bring about an awareness of a different therapy approach for deaf children thru a lecture circuit of hospitals, speech/ hearing centers, audiologists' seminars, etc?? Just wondering how...

drmzz said...

Yes, keep with this lingusitic focus rather than hearing loss focus no matter what! I think problem is that deaf children are so spread out that some parents want their children at schools nearby their homes. Some schools may have good intentions to include ASL but others are disqualified in signing and biased in scope. I agree we need to change the perspective toward Deaf education and rather promote dual language model that lingusitic access via ASL is important nevertheless.

Barb DiGi said...

Great discussion here! I wished I could respond earlier but I had a job to do! Now back to you commenters..


The article by Swisher was published in 1989, yep. But we know that the recent research as mentioned in the beginning was published in 2007 determining that using oral-approach-only shows weakness in language learning.

I love your idea about proposing ASL/bilingual education to replace the medical remedy but when will it ever happen?

I know exactly what you are saying about how parents perceive this idea as a linguistic minority cultural group that may shun them away or causing a FEAR of having their child taken away but we know it is not necessarily have to be that way. Just include the parents in the process and making learning ASL exciting for the whole family. In this light, it calls for a need to develop an appropriate kind of orientation (i.e. workshops, DVD materials, etc.) that introduces ASL without causing them feeling threatened or whatsoever. By providing ASL children models and their English capacity who went through bilingual education program may would eradicate their fears. We will just have to think outside the box.

Hearing Mom:

Your experience raising your Deaf daughter in a bilingual environment confirms the success not only in academic progress but socially as well. It is very important to keep both languages separate and not to combine them (i.e. S.E.E., SimCom, Signed English, etc.) since it will deduct the grammatical features of both languages. However these communication method have a place when it is used as a tool to teach either languages. Thanks for explaining further!


Actually, I have talked about codeswitching between both languages in my earlier vlog last year:

Bilingual Instruction in Action with Deaf Children, NALB

as I talked about using Signed English or fingerspelling as a bridge from ASL to English but print is heavily used when bridging. I did not use speech approach because my Deaf kids are not the auditory type so this approach doesn't fit them.

About the history of communication modes in Deaf education, thanks for filling in but please allow me to finish the rest. Bilingual education which means using ASL as a language of instruction started in the 80's only in a couple of schools but later on in the 90's a few more jumped in until in this decade, more than 30 schools signed up in CAEBER to study about bilingual approach. It is really an exciting discovery to see how bilingual approach works but it is still considered "new".

I am all for code-switching where a Deaf person is able to manually communicate with a person who doesn't know ASL and use spoken English if they are capable of it. However, I believe that we need to keep it simple for younger Deaf children to fully develop ASL first where they can develop a stronger language base rather than being introduced to a variety modes of manual communication. That will be a bit overwhelming and confusing for a Deaf child IMHO. As research shows that once a language is fully developed, learning a second language even a third one becomes easier and it goes the same for speech.

Anon 1:20: Unfortunately...


Interesting that you chose to use S.E.E. with your Deaf child and that you are demonstrating visual cues which we know that it is the most important for Deaf children to have when communicating. I have two Deaf children, ages 8 and 10, and I use ASL and written English approach. I don't use S.E.E. or any other communication modes for several reasons. First of all, S.E.E. is an artificial language and it is not natural to Deaf's eyes. I had vlogged about this almost last year:

How can ASL help English development? Chapter 1 (NALB)

Actually, to be fluent in English can be done by using ASL, FYI. We don't have to make a choice when it come to cultures..having both cultures in a Deaf child's life is healthy. Please look around and realize that there are too many stories coming from Deaf people who grew up not knowing ASL and Deaf culture feeling incomplete and missing.

I am not saying your approach is completely wrong since I have no business telling you without knowing you and your Deaf child but I am just letting you know the common outcomes coming from Deaf individuals who had similar experiences as your Deaf child that they wished knowing both cultures and languages. I grew up using ASL, spoken English (since I had some hearing), and in both cultures and I am always grateful for that. You are right, tolerance is very important that no one should be shut them out because of their cultural differences and that goes for Deaf culture as well. By the way, I have never said anything about forcing ASL in my vlog/blog but to inform you the FACTS that using oral-only-approach doesn't always work, period.

Mungojelly (what a funny name!)
and Ann C..let me get back to you later..I gotta run to pick up my kids!!

K.L. said...

Hi Barb,
There is (I believe) a general assumption among Deaf people that the cochlear implant simply does not give adequate hearing to a person to allow them full access to sound. Therefore, they need ASL to give them complete language. The implant does give full access to sound, but the brain may or may not be able to make sense of it. It all depends on when the child is implanted. If a parent is going to have their child implanted, then they need to commit to doing the follow up necessary to help the brain learn to interpret the sounds. The younger the child is, the easier it is for their brain to make the connections necessary to make sense of sound.

That is why I chose SEE. So that the word used was exactly the same for hearing as for what she saw. It is a complete language. It is simply a visual form of English.

My daughter is 10 now, and speaks and hears very clearly. She also enjoys Deaf Game Night, and can interact with ASL speaking Deaf. It probably confuses them, since she still signs SEE, but so far, everyone has been tolerant enough that it has not been an issue.

She has the tools to immerse herself in the Deaf Culture if she chooses, but she also has the tools to be self sufficient in the hearing world if that is what she wants. She does not need an interpreter nor does she need to rely on writing her questions or answers to hearing people. That is what we wanted for her.

Anonymous said...

Hi, K.L.

May I speak something here, too?? Smile. Okay, I would like to mention my soon to be ex's experience as he grew up with S.E.E. He was so confused with the concepts and everything else. Like Barb mentioned it is not a natural language, soon to be ex expressed that he wished he had ASL instead. I had to re-teach him some signs in the beginnig of our marriage. Gosh, it was messy. Not worth it, really. Okay, that is about it. I am glad you are allowing your child experiencing various conversation with another Deaf people.

K.L. said...

The thing is, SEE is just a visual form of spoken, written English. It is a complete language. It is especially helpful if you are speaking it at the same time. It compliments what the cochlear implant is doing. If you are going to go to all the effort of getting the implant, you need to do everything you can to then teach the child how to use it. My daughter is not confused at all. She has excellent speech and language skills.

To compare someone who is a successful implant use with someone who does not have or use one successfully is like comparing apples to cougars. Totally different subjects.

Hearing Mom said...

To K.L.,
Thanks for sharing your experiences. One thing that I do disagree with was this paragraph that you wrote:

"She has the tools to immerse herself in the Deaf Culture if she chooses, but she also has the tools to be self sufficient in the hearing world if that is what she wants. She does not need an interpreter nor does she need to rely on writing her questions or answers to hearing people. That is what we wanted for her."

Let me explain...this paragraph says to the world that Deaf people who use interpreters and write to hearing people are not self sufficient in the "hearing world".

My heart sinks when I hear this from hearing people only because it tells me we are failing when we are explaining options in Early Intervention. It shows me that only one side of the story is being told and options are not balanced.

Parents that have deaf babies need opportunities to have deep insightful discussions with Deaf experts in early intervention prior to making long-term decisions that will affect their child sooner or later in life. Deaf children are always deaf regardless of the amplification. This is where acceptance must come in.

Now, I must say that my daughter is way more self sufficient than most hearing people in this world. She attended a Bi-Bi Deaf School, graduated Gallaudet, traveled the world, has gobs of friends, loads of self confidence, and survives everyday in the "hearing world". She even survives in her "hearing family" who happened to have learned her language ASL and respects her culture. This goes both ways too for her.

She has never grown up not knowing where she belongs or where she fits in.

There are generations of kids whose parents were not introduced to the Deaf mentors during the time they were presented options. Instead they were given the medical options for hearing loss and how to "fix it". This makes sense to "hearing" people. Why wouldn't everyone want to be hearing?

Well....this is where the Deaf Community comes in. There is their side of the story which has been overlooked by people in a hurry to "fix" deaf children immediately without being equip t with all the information first to make fully informed decisions.

Now please wait....I am not criticizing your choice to implant your child. I know that is probably how it sounds. That is your choice.

I just wish more hearing people would stop assuming that the only way to be self sufficient is to be "hearing". Instead I wish they would consult people like my daughter and others who are exactly that "self sufficient" and still use ASL and do not speak.

This is why it is so important for us hearing parents to continue to learn from the Deaf Community. I am amazed everyday about how much I still am learning:))

Keep reading Deafread like I do and keep an open-mind:))

K.L. said...

Hearing Mom,
My goal in adding comments here is to keep communication open. I respect your choices, and I admire everything that has been accomplished by the Deaf Community. I just feel that my daughter will have an easier time with the ability to hear than she would have without it. She started off with hearing, and she has wanted her implant on from the very beginning. We have never regretted our decision.

I simply hope that she will not be descriminated against by the Deaf Community because she has an implant. Excluding a deaf person because they are oral seems counterproductive. Yet I see it happen all the time. My gut reaction is to protect her FROM the Deaf Community. That should not need to happen. So I open dialog to try to build bridges. I hope this helps.

Barb DiGi said...

Hi! I am back!!

Mongojelly (still wondering what does that mean?!)

I understand that it is not easy to have access to ASL users since it all depends on where you live. If living close to colleges/schools for the Deaf or knowing several Deaf friends using ASL, that will be a bonus. It is true that it would be more advantageous for both hearing and Deaf since the use of video online would allow to have more access to ASL but it is an one way communication street, unfortunately. But don't give up..meeting more ASL users will lead you to more opportunities in learning ASL or better yet attend to a strong interpreter program or take structure of ASL courses that will allow you to develop ASL more effectively. I find your comment about how you have described the American hearing culture very straightforward and to the point. Like I said earlier, FEAR is in the way but I couldn't say it better than you do! I am really elated to know that having access to ASL via online is a big help for you but I do hope that you are able to find the right group of ASL users whom you can interact and learn well.

Ann C:

The world will be a better place when the medical community and the linguistic community concerning Deaf children are able to work together. How is a good question since it is always challenging for all of us. Starting in our local area where we reside, we can consider developing close relationships with Early Intervention (EI) professionals where they tend to act as a liasion between doctors and parents. I feel that increased participation by presenting at conferences/workshops/classes held by medical professionals and EI professionals will make a difference. I surely enjoy reading your comments and thanks for sharing your valid points.

drmzz: Yes, how true! Our demographics have changed so much that presents a challenge to expose ASL and Deaf culture. You have good ideas but the question like Ann C asked..HOW? I feel that we need to recruit more prospective ASL users who are qualified and college educated to get into this field more than ever.

Barb DiGi:

Oh that's me!! Duh!!


Glad to see you back and it is good for us to have this discourse. I have been thinking about you when driving on the way home with my kids. I can see that you are a caring mother wanting the best for your Deaf daughter. I must commend you for using visual cues with her and I am sure it helps a lot for your daughter to comprehend when it comes to communication.

For more than 15 years, I have been working with Deaf children and some of them have CI. Not all of them pick up the same way when it comes to listening due to several factors. It all depends on how their brain is capable of interpreting sounds and the amount of their parents' involvement like you said. From what I have understood from a hearing person who became deaf and got a CI, she reported that it is not the same way as a hearing person does when listening. See

"http://www.earofmyheart.com/wordpress/2007/11/26/confessions-of-an-ex-hearie/">LaRonda's blog

Anyway, according to linguistic research, ASL is a language in and of itself. It has its own grammar, syntax and idioms. It is as different from English as are Spanish, German or Chinese. In contrast, SEE is a sign system modeled after the English language. SEE includes many signs that are taken from ASL; however, the sentence structure, the idioms, the verb endings, etc. are taken from English. In essence, SEE is a visual form of English. When I looked up at

wikipedia on SEE, I decided to cut and paste you the pros and cons using SEE...


* SEE sign shows fully the use of articles and prepositions to deaf children who often have difficulty learning the correct usage of these parts of the English language.

* SEE is easy for English speaking parents and teachers of deaf children to master quickly.


* SEE is much slower than natural speech or ASL unless it abandons its stricture to be faithful to spoken English and becomes more ASL-like.

* SEE has no community of adult users and is not part of a flourishing culture as is the case for both English and ASL

* SEE cannot faithfully show every aspect of spoken English

I am sure you have done your own research about it especially you being a wonderful mom to your daughter wanting the best for her. As long as your daughter is communicating clearly with you and other hearing people, having opportunities to interact with ASL users, feeling satisfied with her social needs and having the opportunity to be in both cultural worlds. I am just wondering if she has the opportunity to interact with Deaf peers (at her age) who use ASL? I would strongly encourage you to consider about having her interact with Deaf peers at such places like camping, deaf children events during weekends, etc.

Anon 7:08: Thanks for sharing. This story is typical and this is what I am trying to prevent for this unfortunate experience to be repeated for Deaf children.

For future commenters..please use your nickname since I like talking to someone with a name, smile.

Barb DiGi said...

Hearing Mom and K.L..please do keep on having this healthy dialogue..thanks for sharing once again.

I need to correct the Ear of My Heart (LaRonda who used to be hearing and became deaf at the age 17) link:

LaRonda's blog .

Hearing Mom said...

I believe you that you are doing what you feel is best for your child, just as I did with mine. I respect you for that and appreciate this chance to dialogue with you.

By commenting to you, I was simply pointing out that it is important to be sensitive to how others might perceive the commesnts about being self-sufficient in the "hearing" world. This has been said by countless other hearing parents. These words can make those who cherish ASL feel as if they have been insulted. The comment portrays the notion that ASL is a lesser and more inferior language. That using interpreters makes them less of a person. That writing is inferior to speaking. That self-sufficiency relies upon speaking and listening.

I was simply pointing out that this is not at all true and more parents need to be made aware that Deaf people do very well being Deaf. This knowledge lacking in Early Intervention, otherwise, that comment might not be made as it would be deemed insensitive to those who read it.
Also, I can pretty much guarentee that your daughter will be fine in the Deaf Community and they will welcome her in if she so desires. The majority of people in the Deaf Community don't discriminate on the basis if a child has a CI or not. Whether they agree or don't agree with CI's has little to do with acceptance of the person.
I think you are a good person with a great heart who loves her daughter very much. We are all still learning and I hope that by discussing this that we both can learn from each other.

drmzz said...

How? Like you suggested, by proposing that ALL deaf children requires linguistic access via ASL. And also, by proposing that dual language is a good thing and it can be a apolitical one. No need to be political about things really, I think we all have enuff of that, but proactive instead. Signing to babies is a known benefit, fest up, hmm. One can adapt to ASL knowing that English will be covered as well. Just try to emphasis that it is the best for all Deaf children. I know this is what you and many are trying to implement since. I'm working at a community college and English placement test is still a reality. Even at Gallaudet when they recently adapted a new GSR (General Studies Requirement) curriculum during the accreditation thingy. I’m under the impression that they will not accept transfer English from hearing colleges or universities. All transfer freshmen are required to take their standardized placement test - Compass. However, GSR curriculum involves new course of ASL and Deaf Culture that freshmen are required to take so perhaps that’s a good thing. At long last, it's young deaf students taking that course instead of hearing students. I believe common sense is becoming popular again.

Aidan Mack said...

Just wondering:

A true bilingual? What is true bilingual? You write as if English is supremacy. Bilingual can be Spanish Spoken Language to English Spoken Language, or Spanish Spoken Language to Chinese Spoken Language. There are already TRUE Bilingual environment where both Written Language (English) and ASL are cherished. I am Deaf. I come from hearing family. I do not need speech. My family and school wasted government’s money spending on speech therapy for nothing. I rather them spending on my English tutor sessions. I write lots and rarely use my voice. I am struggling with my English writing because of school spending so much time to correct my speech and listening skills.

Deaf schools are already incorporate Spoke English, which are Speech Therapists. Please wonder critically.

Speech therapists are for preferences and should do after school, not during school time. When I teach Deaf students, I expect them to stay in my classes until finish but speech therapy keeps coming in and take one or two of my students. By the time they come back, they are so behind with my class.


KI said: “The thing is, SEE is just a visual form of spoken, written English. It is a complete language.”

Who says SEE is a complete language. It is not governed rule language same as English and American Sign Language. I grew up with SEE and SEE failed me real bad. SEE doesn’t make any sense. You cannot make up the artifact language for hearing students. There is Standard English language for America people. It is same thing with Deaf people; they are required to use the Standard American Sign Language since it is already announced as a governed rule language. It is official language.

KI said: “She gained by being better able to communicate with our large extended family. Since that is her main culture, we felt it was more important for her.”

Who decide for your baby getting implanted? It was your decision therefore it is for you, for not the baby.

KI said: “To compare someone who is a successful implant use with someone who does not have or use one successfully is like comparing apples to cougars.”

I am laughing because this is one of examples of how people trying use this manipulation ways by using guilt trip. To compare an implant use with someone who does not have is like comparing apple to apple. Deaf children are Deaf children. Deaf children with CI are Deaf children.

KI said: Deaf people who use interpreters and write to hearing people are not self sufficient in the "hearing world".

Is this joke or what?

The fact is I work with hearing people 99 percent of my time. We get along beautifully. I do not speak at all because I do not need to. And I am doing very well. I work in Motion Picture industry. I am ASL-Deaf and I am self sufficient in the both Deaf and hearing worlds. :o)


Deb Ann said...

I have a friend who has CI and grew up with SEE. He told me that his reading and writing level are in 4th grade. He got implanted at 13 just because of the isolation while others who are implanted. Just thought to pinch in with a fact I learned from him.
But I have met few who are implanted and very good at writing and their reading level is high. I think it's because that they read a lot. They learn ASL so much later when they are in high school. Each one is different. I agree all the way with Barb that all children with CI still need to be introduced with ASL.

Barb DiGi said...

We all have our variety of views and my goal is to make a safe place as much as possible when sharing one's thoughts, feelings and opinions. I would rather to keep it to a minimum by discussing the topic than attacking a person. I felt compelled to delete the above comment since it doesn't explain why you can't stand her comments but I want to address you, Anon 10:54 (nickname, please) a question.

Anon..instead of saying what you think about the person, how about explaining what makes you feel this way? What is your view about the whole picture?

K.L. said...

Hi Aidan,
Let me try to explain the apples and cougars remark. The implant does not work the same for everyone. Getting the implant at age one is way different from getting it at age 10. Having an implant early changes the whole dynamic. She did not have SEE alone. She had it with the implant. Since she already had 7 months of "normal" hearing before she got sick, her brain was already wired for sound, and the implant was very easy for her to connect with. It all depends on how well the brain can interpret the sound. Yes, there are Deaf people who don't do well with the implant. But there are also people who do beautifully with it. It is unfair to tell the parents of deaf babies that they should not implant their children.

I respect Deaf Culture, and mean no insult to the ASL language. But we all agree that it is not the same as English, and I am just trying to point out that signing English to babies with implants has advantages. We did not choose SEE arbitrarily.

I do disagree with the statement that we chose to implant her for ourselves. As parents, we had to look at what we felt would give her the most advantages for her future. There are obsticals for Deaf People that are higher than they are for hearing people. Please understand that I am not critisizing. Every parent wants to give their child all the advantages they can. We wanted to make her hearing loss as easy for her to deal with as we could. And we wanted to keep as many doors to her future open as we could. We know we could raise a happy healthy child without the implant. We simply saw it as a way to make interaction with others easier for her.

I know that many of not most Deaf Adults will not agree with our decision. That's ok. But it is in all of our best interests to try to understand each others position better and to try to open communication.

Hearing Mom said...

I said a couple "ouches" when I read your comment to Aidan. Please bear with me:)
Sure Deaf people may have some obstacles that hearing people don't have and vice versa too. Woman have more obstacles then men but you don't see us going out and getting a sex change because of this:) We adapt and accept our uniqueness. We also don't know what it feels like to be a man so we have to be careful speaking for them. Just like hearing people need to be more sensitive to generalizing statements like "Deaf have more obstacles than hearing people".
I hope that you will see the positive side of being Deaf and sense of pride in ASL and Deaf Culture. It is not "hearing loss" but it is "visual gain". It is not obstacles but it is opportunities. Deaf people are a tight-knit community that we hearing folks don't always get to experience. It truly is unique.
I hope that you will take some Deaf Culture classes at your local college or Deaf School. It is hard to explain everything in a blog but there is so much more to all of this which can't be covered in these comments.
Again, I appreciate what you are bringing up because this comes up by many hearing parents over and over again. And for you to be willing to bring up these things means, I hope, that you are also willing to learn as much as possible to understand your daughter and her experiences in life more.

Anonymous said...


Aidan Mack said...

Hi K.L.

Thank you for your time to explain. I appreciate this. :o) I agree with you that “it is in all of our best interests to try to understand each others position better and to try to open communication.” (KL)

With parents of Deaf children with CI, I feel I have to be careful how I say in order to respect them as parents. I see clear that you want the best for your Deaf daughter. I am trying to communicate with you at your comfortable level. English writing is my second language as well.

K.L. “It is unfair to tell the parents of deaf babies that they should not implant their children.”

You are absolutely right that it is not fair to tell the parents of babies what to do. It is not about the parents of Deaf, Black, or Chinese Babies. It is about parenting. It is also difficult for many parents to hear feedback about their children from other parents or other people.

There are so many error information out there that may harm Deaf children, it is one of factors why Deaf community make sure Deaf children get all what they need and Parents get all support they need.

I was one of victims. I was in oral program for six years and it hurts my English writing and my education. Still today, I have witness many school of Deaf education (mainstream programs, oral programs, and some Deaf school) that deprive Deaf children’s right of use American Sign Language.

If I expose to ASL in early age, I would have written as well as Barb. Barb was exposed to ASL since she was born. Look at her English writing; it is because of her first natural language was being exposed.

We can’t shut our eyes and leave these Deaf children behind. We are very much involve in Deaf children as much as we can so they can be success and have great self-confident. We care about Deaf children a great deal. It is good to know that there are Deaf-ASL communities that will give Parents of Deaf babies lot of supports.

Once Deaf children get any kind of signal or behavior that indicate that they are being fixed, their self esteem would go right down in toilet.

Having Deaf people on this earth is the most beautiful that we could have for this world. I cherish Deaf community. I suggest you to come in our Deaf community. You will be a part of the Deaf community anyway. It is not like you will separate yourself from your child if she goes in the Deaf community. She will take you with her.

American Sign Language equals to English. Once a Deaf child builds the strength in her first language then the rest of any language will be strong as the first language. I finally got my right of using American Sign Language when I was six years old. Whew… Imagine no language for six years.

I have Deaf friends who exposed to ASL in their early age, they write excellent. They are proficient in ASL and English.

Another reason I was not proficient in English writing is because all my life people gave me different artificial languages. It screwed me up a big time.

I love who I am as ASL-Deaf person. It is the most beautiful gift. I also am glad hearing family raised me. I have many good memories of cross-cultural experiences with my family. They still attend Deaf Festival or events even though I am not even there. But it makes me feel good that they put their efforts to be part of Deaf culture and community.

KI: “I do disagree with the statement that we chose to implant her for ourselves.”

Let’s agree with disagree because we will never agree with this thing for a long time. :o) If we have time, we will sit all night and discuss this specific disagreement. ;o)

KI: “As parents, we had to look at what we felt would give her the most advantages for her future.”

I believe you. I can see that in you.

KI: “There are obsticals for Deaf People that are higher than they are for hearing people.”

Look at Black people, Hispanic people, Gay and Lesbian people, and women go through same experience as Deaf community unfortunately. It is sad. It is not because of specific group like Deaf group. It is attitude of the society how they think who are desirable group or undesirable group.”

I can assure you that your Deaf daughter will be just fine. She will be happy as long as you allow her access to her natural language. It is ok for you to feel that speech should be included in her training. Make sure it is not on their education time. The Deaf community will always keep the doors open for your Deaf daughter and any member of her family including you. :o)

My friendly suggestion to you is please let her being in ASL environment and having Deaf friends/role models.


K.L. said...

Hi Aidan,
Thanks for your comments. We have worked incredibly hard to insure our daughter has full access to language. She reads at the 8th grade level, and she only is in 4th grade. Her speech, writing and overall language skills are all above age level. And her self esteem is fine. Believe me. She is a self confident, self assured young lady. She does get pull out time for vocabulary pre-learning, but speech/language therapy is done after school. She has both hearing and deaf friends, and is comfortable with both. Our hope for her was that she be able to interact easily in both worlds. I think she will be able to do that. She can do that now.

Aidan Mack said...

Hi Ki.. I am glad that your Deaf daughter is doing very well at school. Reading was one of my best subject. I am very good at reading. I love books.

I interact both Hearing and Deaf worlds. I work with hearing people everyday. I enjoy working with them. I have hearing friends. They respect me as Deaf person. THey treat me equally. They do not see me as disability. They see Deaf people like me as lingusitic minority.

Take care and Happy holidays,

Aidan Mack said...

Hi KI:

Please check this link about this girl's experience with CI..


Anonymous said...

I don't trust Aidan who hate CI. That's why I can't Aidan comment here.

Anonymous said...

you see that aidan brough it girl's experience with CI.. She is dishonesty and she doesn't view about the whole picture. Typically

I have nothing aganist CI, so what.

I hope Aidan will accept CI baby and children. they aren't fault. they need to lear ASL.

Jean Boutcher said...


Just a gentle reminder. Wikipedia is the most unreliable and unauthorised of all encylopedias in the English-speaking coutnries. Anyone, yes, you read me right, anyone, can write an entry with inaccurate or even false information and post it in Wikipedia and can edit it whenever one so desires.

Careful and honest writers, scholars, professors, researchers who look for the truth would not consult Wikipedia; rather, they would do intense research or consult authoriative books.

Reliable information can be found in other forms, including PDF, on the Internet if you do not live within a stone's throw of the public library.

Joyeux Noël!