Deafness is different in the twenty-first century. With today’s digital hearing technology, why consign potentially talented students, teammates and/or work colleagues to lesser life-roles as people?
Changing What ‘Deaf’ Means
I never learned sign language in a family or institutional setting, so don’t act so surprised when I tell you I don’t sign. Many hearing people seem to have difficulty understanding that deaf people aren’t born knowing how to sign, and they, as natural human beings, must acquire language the same way that any other human acquires language.
Public perceptions change with infant detection of deafness, hearing implants and family-based auditory-verbal therapy. And with family members who also have hearing challenges, the writer of the quoted piece is super honest about her daily challenges.
Six-year-old Indy Mueller represents twenty-first century deafness. Bilateral cochlear implants as a baby let him grow up hearing and talking like his peers in mainstream kindergarten. Today, he tells you he is deaf – but doesn’t know what it’s like to be deaf.
Fighting For Informed Choices
Indy’s family is concerned that in the US, two bills on education for deaf children are competing. One is House Bill 676, to give families with deaf infants access to the Early Hearing Detection Intervention (EHDI) process and the one-three-six month age goals for a hearing-and-talking response. Conversely, the other, LEAD-K, is sign-language focused.
Why is information about infant speaking intervention so crucial? Let’s look to Stacey Lim (a mainstream audiologist) and her family – who learned from Carol Flexer, over thirty years ago. Thanks to this infant spoken-language intervention, Lim is an accomplished pediatric audiologist and auditory-verbal therapist in her own right, with several books to her name.
Today’s Deaf Teens Are Articulate
Check this video of Cincinatti teen gymnast, Mykenzie Pfeiffer. She’s aiming to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, wearing bilateral cochlear implants on a thin headband as she trains. In fact, YouTube has reams of videos of today’s deaf youngsters talking confidently if you look.
These young people need to change their corner of the world. Consistent, quality infant detection and spoken-language education from birth to five, can save up to USD $300,000 per child for their education by eliminating the need for sign interpreters and in-person education, health and social support services.