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?
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.
As time passes, public perceptions will alter thanks to infant detection of deafness, cochlear implants and family-based auditory-verbal therapy. And with a grandmother and mother who also have hearing challenges, this writer is very honest about her specific daily challenges.
Six-year-old Indy Mueller represents twenty-first century deafness. Bilateral cochlear implants at 11 months old means he grew up hearing and talking like his hearing 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 regarding education for very young 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 audiologist and auditory-verbal therapist in her own right, with several advisory books to her name.
Today’s Deaf Teens Are Confident And 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 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 through their education by eliminating the need for sign interpreters and services.