Tag Archive: Cochlear implant


Deafhood Discussions

A few years ago I encountered the word “Deafhood” at first glance I assumed it was a label for the deaf community, the unity of it or deaf identity. As years have passed with more research I am learning more about “deafhood” and its imprtance to deaf individuals.I have read  different perspectives on this term/concept anyhow I attached five videos of an interview with  Paddy Ladd(the person who coined the term deafhood) interviewed by Joey Baer (www.joeybaer.com)

Feel free to share your thoughts on this “Deafhood”.

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English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service. A package containing those three and all NPS symbols is available at the Open Icon Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems odd that I would ask this type of question especially with my background but very often people ask me is deafness a disability? Or is it a handicap? Or both?

My answer is that Deaf (Big D) individuals do not see it as a disability nor handicap but instead a unique way of life and a culture bonded by a common language. Deaf individuals do not focus on what they cannot do but what they can do- this would the disability vs. ability perspective. Hearing individuals tend to focus on the limitations associated with deafness until they are introduced to the “can do” perspective of a deaf person.

The hearing communities and deaf organizations have established programs and resources for deaf individuals to have equal access, resources and opportunities to be successful and a productive citizen in society based on what may be perceived as a disability. On average deaf individuals appreciate and utilize the resources and opportunities provided but they take advantage of the offers not because they feel and agree with the disabled perspective but to use the resources to accomplish goals, to advance and to thrive.

According to www.ehow.com

Disability Defined
  • According to the World  Health Organization, a  disability is “any restriction or lack (resulting from any impairment) of  ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered  normal for a human being.”

Handicap Defined

The World Health Organization’s definition of a handicap is the “loss or  limitation of opportunities to take part in the life of the community on an  equal level with others; encounter a person with disability and social,  physical environment. Is an inability to accomplish something one might want to  do. The term emphasize the focus on shortcomings in the environment and in many  tasks and activities, ex. in education, occupation, information or communication  (social dimension).”Read more:  Difference Between Disability & Handicap | eHow http://www.ehow.com/facts_6141081_difference-between-disability-handicap.html#ixzz2TQ7D4Ymx

According to www.wisegeek.com

Impairment: occurs when there is a problem that affects the normal human body structure or organ.

Disability: refers to the way in which the impairment restricts the movements and activities of the individual.

Handicap: stems from the extent of restriction that the impairment and disability impose on the individual. The criteria for measuring the handicap is by assessing how other normal people in such a situation would cope. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-impairment-disability-and-handicap.htm

 

All that being said, which there is more to the Disability vs. handicap topic, how do you define each and what do you think the difference is and which applies to the deaf ? Maybe your perspective is that neither applies to the community.

What are your thoughts respectively shared:)

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During a trip to Sacramento, CA I visited the Capitol building and as I walked through the hallway I noticed artwork by students ranging from elementary to high school. One artwork category I noticed is “The Best Part of Me”. Students shared how they thought their hair, eyes or smile was the best part of them however; one student in particular said his ear was the best part of him because it allowed him to hear. Sometimes I think our world focuses so much on deaf vs.hearing, culturally deaf vs. medically deaf, signing vs. oral but the important thing is being proud of who you are. This artwork posting reminded me of what is important..just being yourself.

I am happy this little guy is proud of his hearing and his hearing aid. If he ever read this I would say kudos for sharing this with everyone and being proud of yourself and know that you are wonderfully made!

The first experience of a mother and child is the flutter of movement in our stomach. At that point we realize that we are carrying life is in us and we are now responsible for another human being and within a matter of months he or she will be cradled in our arms. We look forward to perfection as we imagine ourselves counting all ten fingers and all ten toes, looking at eyes as wide as if they are smiling at us because they are familiar with our presence. When the time comes and we deliver our bundle of joy and perfection we can’t wait to teach them everything we know and have experienced so they can grow into the perfect healthy being.

Some people may think to themselves “I would never expect perfection just healthy” but what does healthy entail? All ten fingers and toes? Both eyes,hearing, a strong heart and lungs, and a sound and capable mind?
What happens when something is not healthy, normal or perfect like we want? How do we feel and what do we do?

The first moment your realize that your child does not respond to sound and may be deaf, what do you do? Create the sound again to be sure, think a hundred thoughts of what “if’s” or call your physician? You want to know what’s going on and when you find out your greatest fear/concern of your child being deaf is confirmed, you are speechless and cannot understand what happened. If you have never experienced deafness, the language and culture your mind is wondering what is it and what does it involve.

This may not be the experience for every parent but a number of parents have experienced this and looked to guidance for this situation. Deafness is not a disabling, limiting or negative experience with the right tools children can grow into the perfect and healthy beings you seek to raise.

Being deaf may be a challenge at times but not an obstacle that can’t be overcome. When you first find out your child may be deaf it is best to see an audiologist. However, commonplace now is for infants to undergo a hearing test for early detection of hearing loss. After the audiogram confirms the amount of hearing loss and the amount of what can be heard a decision may need to be made. Sometimes the hearing loss can be assisted with the use of hearing aids, or partially restored with a cochlear implant and the other end of the spectrum it may be too great of a loss and not be able to be restored. I am not a doctor but sharing information that I have encountered. It always best to seek a professional opinion as this blog is for basic informational purposes.

When you find out your child has a hearing loss seek all opportunities that may be best for your child however do not forget about seeking professionals in the Deaf community. The Deaf community can be one of your greatest resources. You can learn about the opportunities available to your child academically and socially, the language and culture. Sometimes parents listen to only one side “the medical side” and forget to listen to the “deaf side”. Your child can live in both worlds. Communication is key! No matter what it is important to find a way to interact with your child rather you focus on speech classes or sign language your child will need consistent interaction with language. I think it is great to teach children both speech and sign language but the choice has to what is best for your family.

There are mainstreamed school where they attend classes with their hearing counterparts and residential/day schools with programs geared for the deaf population. Employment opportunities are available to deaf individuals and it has been shown that there are successful deaf individuals activities, educators, lawyers, entrepreneurs and more…these individuals had support, faith and belief that they could be do what they put their mind to and they have accomplished greatness.

If you are seeking additional resources your local social service agency, medical organization and education system should be able to give your resources to point you in the right direction.

The thought for this blog is to remember that we love our children unconditionally and despite the challenges we may encounter we seek the best for them and encourage them to be their best. Always think of the word “ability” instead of “disability”.

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. first lady