Wednesday, December 14, 2005

should've waited and saved the $$

Today in La Crosse Tribune: a success story about a Deaf woman being one of the first Deaf people to successfully navigate education at Western Wisconsin Technical College.

Ms. Stanek seems like a cool woman with a focus on exercise science. What struck me was the juxtaposition of the following quotes:

At age 5, she became the first child in Wisconsin to receive a cochlear implant, a device that would allow her to hear sounds but not speech.
(oh, NOW they recognize that the implants don't help you hear speech? jeesh.) And two:

Stanek, 24, was born deaf. She no longer uses the cochlear implants, she said, and cannot hear any sounds.

You know, I have friends who chose to get the implants as ADULTS. They are learning to use them perfectly well. Some can even speak on the telephone now. When I read stories like this about people who decide to stop using the implants, I wince. Why? Because that surgery turned out to be unneeded.

The big argument is that in order to fully develop, people must have the implants as children. But the point is language development, not hearing development, and sign language can do language development better and faster than cochlear implants can with their inaccuracy and years of required training (and repeat surgery.) Why not give adults the right to choose - and kids the freedom from such pressure? In the end it is parents who want the best for their children, have little knowledge and experience of Deaf people, and who are being persuaded by doctors in their expensive outfits who we must reach.

Ugandan Deaf Road Show?: In Uganda the Silent Theatre is putting on a new public education play about Deaf people. (Don't talk to Deaf people! Don't take candy from Deaf people! Keep your hands under the table so the Deaf people don't see you talking about them! Sorry, couldn't resist: it sounds like an Afterschool special.) They seem like a good group helped and started by friends in Sweden. An example of the international nature of Deafies...

Idaho school for Deaf and Blind in peril? Check out this link. Anyone know anything? Of course our Deaf schools are all in danger these days from misguided mainstreaming efforts.

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