Thursday, December 16, 2010


I am in some serious shock! We are no longer having A baby, we are having TWINS!!!! I just got back from my ultrasound, and we just found out. Rocky is a twin, and kept talking about having twins. My sister, mom and Rocky's mom all thought I could be having twins too. I had the feeling, but I am just grateful that I am pregnant. Anyways, once the doctor said that we were having twins, Rocky jumps up from his seat and screams "YES!" Like he won something. It was funny. Then he started calling people right away. A lot of people did not believe him, they had to talk to me to confirm it! LOL.

Tomorrow we are on our way to KY. We are dropping the boys off in OK, to spend Christmas with their biological father. I will miss them, but they are really excited to go, and Wamni and Darcelle are really excited to get them for the holidays.

Also, today was my last day of the semester. I took a final today and got a 93%, which is great cause I did not study for it at all. In all 5 classes I got A's. YAY I have straight A's! All my classes are upper level classes too. I know I am bragging, but I have never received straight A's before.

So to sum it up, today is a GREAT DAY! I am so Thankful for my Heavenly Father for blessing us with this!

Love you all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Teaching a Deaf Child to Read and Write

By Emily Loveless
When teaching a hearing child and a deaf child to read, a person will have to take two very different approaches beginning the process. English will, more-than-likely, be an American hearing child’s first language. English is a deaf child’s second language. American Sign Language should be a deaf child’s first and natural language. The best way to teach a deaf child to read is using the bilingual approach.

Being able to read and write is very important to a deaf person. Many deaf adults communicate with people who are unable to sign by writing notes back and forth to each other. How are they supposed to communicate with people that can hear if they cannot read or write? Deaf people do not “talk” on cell phones, but they do text each other. One should not forget they need to read and write for all the same reasons that people that hearing people do. It is harder to get far and be successful in life if one is unable to read and write.

How is teaching a deaf child and a child that can hear different? The approach with children that can hear is using phonetics. “Phonetics is the study of speech sounds. The communication of meaning through a sequence of speech sounds involves the following: First of all, a speaker encodes meaning into sounds, which he or she produces using the tongue, lips, and other articulatory organs. These sounds are transmitted through the air to reach the hearer. Then, the hearer perceives them through auditory processes; finally translating them back into meaning” (Clayton Valli) . A hearing child will take the letters in the word and sound them out to make a word. They will figure out what the word is, once they sound the word out. A deaf child cannot do this. Since the deaf child cannot hear, parents and teachers need to take a whole different approach when teaching a deaf child to read. “Unlike children who hear the spoken word and use phonics as a method to learn to read, deaf children will relate words to corresponding visual items” (Taylor).

The very first thing that a deaf child needs in order to be successful is a language. They need to be fluent in a language. Think about it. If a child does not understand what a person is talking about, then how is the child supposed to learn. It is easiest to teach a child something in the language that they are fluent in. If a child barely knows how to speak German and a person is trying to introduce a new complex concept to them, how will it turn out? That person will, most likely, be wasting their time. “In order to acquire first language fluency in a natural manner, a child must have clear, consistent, and complete access to the linguistic model. Deaf children, whose parents are fluent in ASL, acquire ASL as a first language through natural, ongoing communication at home with their family members. These children typically achieve academic success at a level higher than that of their deaf peers from homes where signed language is not a primary language” (Stephen M. Nover). A deaf child needs to be exposed to American Sign Language as much as possible. American Sign Language is a deaf person’s natural language, not English. Parents who are hearing want their child to be “normal”, so they think that if a deaf child can lip read, it will make them that much closer to being “normal”. There are a few deaf children that become deaf at an earlier age who are able to pick up on lip reading, but the majority of deaf children are not successful at lip reading or at speech.
“Many studies have shown that deaf children cannot understand their teachers’ language on their lips or speak it intelligibly. Nevertheless, it is the teachers’ language that is used in class, and so education fails miserably” (Lane, 1992). Knowing this, one would think that education would change, and schools would start teaching deaf children how to sign, but instead we prohibit sign language in the classrooms. I have seen kids start to sign when doing math or something, and the teachers stop them from signing. A lot of teachers, themselves, do not know sign language, let alone American Sign Language. When the Oral method started coming out “ASL was prohibited, even outside the classrooms. Children’s hands were tied, to prevent signing” (Neisser, 1996).

Children who are fluent in American Sign Language are better readers, but sadly, “90% or more deaf children are born into hearing families where ASL is not an option for communication. In most cases, these children are not exposed to a complete visual language until they enter school, if at all” (Stephen M. Nover).
There was a study done at Metro Deaf School (MDS), “a bilingual program situated in St. Paul, Minnesota” (Bailes). A bilingual program is a program that focuses on American Sign Language as the natural language of the deaf. This is the language that they communicate in. But by no means do they ignore English. Bilingual programs focus on English in its written form. These schools believe that English is very important for deaf to learn, but American Sign Language is an equal to English. “Deaf children should be consistently exposed to complete forms of both ASL and English from an early age, calling attention to the “separate but equal” features of each language and stating that deaf children who are afforded” opportunities to acquire American Sign Language naturally at an early age, and (who) are made aware that English is the language of speech, story books, and other situations, should be able to acquire parallel competence in both languages with success” (Bailes). They teach English literacy through American Sign Language. English was never ignored in teaching deaf children in any of the grades.

The teachers read the stories to the children; they signed the stories in American Sign Language, not in English word order. They got the meaning of what the story was talking about and then signed the sentence in ASL. Then children were asked to read stories to their peers. They did this by one sentence at a time. They read the sentence, got the meaning of the sentence and then signed it in ASL. This way the children understood what was actually happening in the story. “The children learned by example what it meant to live literate lives as bilinguals” (Bailes).

When the students first started out reading “the kindergarten teacher stated that she spent a great deal of time making her student aware that when they signed, they were using ASL, and when they read books, they were reading English” (Bailes). The study showed that children who had Deaf parents who used ASL at home, did better with reading and writing. Deaf children whose parents could hear and did not use ASL on a regular basis struggled with reading and writing. They could not focus on English as much as they wanted to, until the child could master ASL.

In this bilingual approach, “children were expected to also demonstrate the ability to distinguish between ASL and English as distinct language….the teachers switched back and forth between the two languages, making explicit comparisons between their rules and structures. They clearly bridge the two languages by signing, fingerspelling, writing, and pointing to printed English in subsequent and varying turns” (Bailes). This is a very important concept. Deaf children need to see it in ASL, showing them that this sentence is actually making a meaning of something. But then show on the paper the written words, showing the child where they got that information. “Reinforce the written word with sign language. A deaf child depends upon relating the corresponding hand sign with the written word” (Taylor). For example, in using the sentence “The duck is swimming in the pool,” one would first say it in ASL to get their attention, so they know what to look for. Then, sign the word “duck” pointing at the word at the same time. Then sign the words “in pool”, pointing at that word. Now, one would have the subject and where it is. What is the duck doing? Show the word “swimming”. Show the child that the duck is swimming in the pool. Another thing that one would then need is to explain to the child what does “the” mean in this sentence? People that can hear, use the words “the, is, are, am, ing, ed” etc., without really knowing what the meaning is. Since ASL does not have words or suffixes like this, we need to explain to the child what “the” actually means in a sentence. One needs to explain that “the” means it is this duck, not another duck, and it is only one duck that is swimming in the pool. Explain that “ing” means that the duck is swimming right now. He is not going to swim, he is not finished swimming, but the duck is swimming right now. Then, the word “is” is connecting the sentence, bringing the duck and the pool together. After that process, one would need to sign it in ASL again. That is an example of going between the two languages, and connecting them together.

After one has done all this, a parent or teacher needs to increase the child’s vocabulary by “adding new words daily. Repetition and committing basic words to memory is the key to reading success for any child and deaf children are no different in that manner. As you introduce new words, take the time to refresh previous words and build a large written vocabulary” (Taylor).

I think this is the best way to teach a deaf child to learn to read and write. A deaf child needs ASL, before anything else, to be successful at reading. Yes, there are some exceptions on lipreading and children learning to read and write, but to reach the most amount of deaf children, and not take a chance, a deaf child needs American Sign Language to be able to be successful in school and everyday life. In my opinion, and studies have shown, the best way to do this is by using the bilingual approach.

Works Cited

Bailes, Cynthia Neese. "Integrative ASL- English Language Arts: Bridging Paths to Literacy." Sign Language Studies (2001).
Clayton Valli, Ceil Lucs, & Kristin J. Mulrooney. Linguistics of American Sign Language An Introduction. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press, 1992.
Stephen M. Nover, Kathee M. Christensen, Li-Rong Lilly Cheng. "Development of ASL and English Competence for Learners Who are Deaf." (1998).
Taylor, Glenda. How to Help a Deaf Child Learn to Read. 2010. 12 2010 .

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Are you a parent of a deaf child, have deaf in your family or work with a deaf child? Do you want to help them with their future and be able to communicate fluently with the child? Come take some free classes!
Where: Lakeridge Jr. High School Rm. 134
951 South 400 West Street
Orem, UT 84058-6733
When: Every Friday! Starting from Jan 14th- May 20th
Time: 4:00 pm- 5:00 pm
Cost: FREE! We just want you to communicate fluently with the child. That is enough payment for us!

Bring your deaf child and other children with you so they can learn too. We will have a separate class just for your children.

If you want to come join the fun, contact Emily Loveless at 801-319-7297 by calling or text. You can also email her at


Emily Loveless
Segregation is a serious issue that our nation has to face; segregation between African American people and White people. The White man segregated the Indians, they segregated people because of religion, and they also segregated men and women. Most people think that segregation is behind us, but it is still happening today. We now segregate deaf children from other deaf children and Deaf adults by mainstreaming them. Deaf children are not able to learn their own language and their own culture in which they are entitled to. We need to stop segregation all together, but first we need to know our history. This paper will speak about Segregation in Deaf schools against the African American, Segregation in general against African American, and segregation that is caused by mainstreaming deaf children into the public school system.
` “Unlike most of their white counterparts in the period before the Civil War, Deaf African American went without formal schooling” (Burch, 2004). Before the Civil War, African American children were denied an education under slavery. When slavery ended after the Civil War, as a part of their new freedom, African American children were now able to go to school. African American people themselves usually had to buy their own land, build their own schoolhouses, and hire their own teachers. But it was worth it to them. Many families moved to where there was a school to be able to give their children a chance at an education (America's Reconstruction, 2003).
Some African American people always thought that segregation was wrong. But that is not how much of society looked at it. White people did not want to be mingling with African American people. They thought African American were below them.
On June 7, 1892 an African American man by the name of Homer Plessy worked for the railroad. His friend and he always had to ride in a separate cart traveling to one place to the next. Plessy’s friends talked him into jumping out of his cart and going to the cart full of white men. They knew he would be arrested, but they wanted to make a point and try to change the law. So he jumped out of his cart and jumped into the White man’s cart. He was arrested, and went to trial. The jury came back with the statement that African American people were “Separate but Equal.” Plessy lost his case, and had to pay a fine. That lawsuit affected many things. There were separation on buses, separate water fountains, separate bathrooms, and separate schools. African American was not allowed in many restaurants that White people enjoyed. This stayed into effect until the ruling “Brown vs. Board of Education” in 1954.
Deaf schools were no different. Many states had a State school for the white children, and a State school for the African American children. Here is a list of schools for African American Deaf children: Alabama- School for Negro Deaf-Mutes and Blind; District of Columbia- The Kendal School for the Deaf; Florida- Florida Institute for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Colored Department; Georgia- Georgia School for the Negro Deaf; Kentucky- Kentucky had a school for Colored Deaf; Louisiana- Louisiana School for the Colored Deaf and Blind; Maryland- School for the Colored Deaf and Blind; North Carolina- North Carolina; Oklahoma- Oklahoma Industrial Institution for the Deaf, Blind, and Orphans of the Colored Race; South Carolina- South Carolina Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, Colored Department; Tennessee-Tennessee School for the Colored Deaf and Dumb; Texas- Texas Institute for Deaf, Mute, and Blind Colored Youth; Virginia- Virginia School for the Deaf , Mute, and Blind Youth; West Virginia- West Virginia School for the Colored Deaf and Blind (Berke, 2009).
There were many differences between the schools that the white children went to in a state and that the African American children went too. North Carolina School for Colored Deaf and Blind was the first school that opened up for African American Deaf children. The book called “Sounds Like Home” is about a little African American girl named Mary which went deaf around the age of ten. Under the age of ten, she went to a school for African American children in her home town. After she went deaf, she no longer could go to school there, and was sent to North Carolina School for Colored Deaf and Blind. On a field trip she was able to go through the white school and see the differences. This is what she had to say, “Once, we went to a program in town at the school for the White blind children. Afterwards, we were given a tour of their campus and the differences between their school and ours were unbelievable. Instead of long rooms with rows of bed, all with white spreads and only shades at the windows, they lived in family-type houses with only a few bedrooms to each building and two or three to a room. Each house had a nice homey living room, a dining room with white tablecloths, and china, silver, and glassware instead of the bare tabletops and metal plates and cups we were accustomed to. The bedrooms had pretty collared spreads and ruffled curtains. The auditorium was beautiful with a sloping floor, comfortable individual seats, and a stage with rich red velvet curtains and floodlights, plus a heated swimming pool and gym in another wing. Ours was a level floor with hard wooden benches and no stage or curtains” (Wright, 1999). There were huge differences between the white and African American school in North Carolina. In the African American school they had no bathtubs, only showers and commodes compared to the white school which they had an indoor heated swimming pool. The children were separate, but not equal.
Virginia School for Colored Deaf and Blind Children could only admit 24 children into their school. All other children had to go to a different state to get there schooling. They also had horrible equipment, with hardly anything in the classrooms. Mississippi School for the Deaf, African American School had awful statistics for graduating students. Between the years 1873 and 1933 they only graduated a total of 6 students! That averages out to be one student every decade for 60 years. The African American school complained about their land, and the state refused to move the school. But the White School for the Deaf in Mississippi upgraded their school a total of 5 times between the years 1860 and 1960. African American children had to do their own work that would normally be done by staff members, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. The African American children did not only do their own work, they worked for the White School and cooked for them, cleaned for them, did their laundry. The white children did not have to do any work at all (Burch, 2004).
Georgia School for the Negro Deaf did not have any electricity or heat for their African American school until 1913. They did their homework under candlelight. The white school for the Deaf in Georgia did have electricity and heat (Burch, 2004).
In District of Columbia they have a school called Kendall School, which is right next to Gallaudet University (a university for the Deaf). This school refused to admit any African American children until 1952. Kendal did not admit African American Deaf children willing, they were actually ordered by a court to let African American Deaf in their school. Before that all African American Deaf children went to Maryland to go to school. “Kendall then set up a separate building, but the segregation was brief as in 1954 the historic Supreme Court ruling on integration meant that Kendall had to become integrated” (Berke, 2009).
Louisiana School for Colored Deaf and Blind was the last school to become unsegregated. This school did not become unsegregated until the year 1978. 24 years after the Brown vs. Board of Education.
The Brown vs. Board of Education happened in Topeka, Kansas. In 1951 a class action suit was filed. A group of parents were tired of sending their children to a segregated school that was not as good as the white schools. There were thirteen parents: Oliver Brown, Darlene Brown, Lena Carper, Sadie Emmanuel, Marguerite Emerson, Shirley Fleming, Zelma Henderson, Shirley Hodison, Maude Lawton, Alma Lewis, Iona Richardson, and Lucinda Todd. Their children had to walk past the white school every day to get to their school which was a lot further away. On May 17, 1954 the jury came back with a “unanimous decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”” (Wikipedia, 2010). After Brown vs. Board of Education schools across the nation had to start mainstreaming African American children and White children. That is the same for Deaf Schools. Sadly, it took some schools longer than needed. As stated earlier it took Louisiana School for the Deaf 24 years after the court ruling.
It was not only elementary schools, middle schools and high schools that had the segregation issues. Universities also had issues regarding segregation. Gallaudet University stated “While there is no legal restriction, as far as I can see, against a colored person entering Gallaudet College, such a student would at once present a very difficult problem of administration. Many of our students are from the South, where the schooling of white and colored is carried on separately. In fact this is the case in the District of Columbia, also…. Under the circumstances we should dislike very much to encourage a colored student to attend, feeling he might be very unhappy here and cause much uneasiness and unhappiness among others……” (Burch, 2004).
In the 1900’s all schools for the White Deaf were going toward Oralism. They hoped to make deaf children pass off to be hearing. They focused on lip reading and speech. With this movement, they had smaller classrooms and hired only women. The schools that use to be taught in Sign Language usually had a male teacher. African American schools for the Deaf still taught in Sign Language, it was only the White schools that used Oralism. With this movement a lot of male Deaf teachers were out of a job. Gallaudet University stated “…. I do not think there is a ghost of a chance that one of our schools for white children would engage such a young man as a teacher, and the salaries and conditions of working in many of the colored schools for the deaf are not particularly attractive” (Burch, 2004). The only jobs left for male Deaf teachers were at the colored schools, and they refused to take those jobs, because of the quality of those schools were so low.
Even before Oralism became popular, because of the segregation issues, African American children formed their own form of sign language - which is now called Black American Sign Language. It has now almost died out, because white and African American deaf children are now mainstreamed together, but it did exist and still does exist. Black American Sign Language was its own language. It is “much like African American Vernacular English and Standard English, it differs in vocabulary and grammatical structure from ASL. Black American Sign Language is not considered to be grammatically incorrect; instead, it is considered a dialect of American Sign Language, complete with its own rules for grammar, syntax and vocabulary” (Wikipedia, 2010).
Because of segregation and Black American Sign Language, African American and white deaf people could not easily communicate with each other. As a result, there was a man by the name of Junius Wilson. He was an African American Deaf man and, as a child, went to North Carolina School for Colored Deaf and Blind. After Junius graduated, his uncle did not want to care for him. His uncle called the police and accused Junius of raping his wife. The state officials could not understand Junius, so they put him into the North Carolina State Hospital. He spent 76 years of his life at this hospital, without being charged guilty of any crime. At age 24, the State did a legal castration on Junius Wilson. It was not until the 1990’s, that Junius Wilson was appointed a Social Worker by the name of John Wasson. John Wasson helped Junius Wilson sue the state for illegally keeping him at the State Hospital for so many years. By this time, Junius did not know anything else, and decided to stay. He won $226,000, and built himself a little cabin on hospital grounds. He lived there until he was 92 in 2001, and that is where he died (Burch, 2004). What an awful thing that happened to this man, only because he was an African American Deaf man.
Most people think that segregation does not happen today, at least not nearly as much as before. Sadly, segregation is still happening in the Deaf Community. Not the same way as what happened to the African American Deaf people, but what is happening to all deaf children across the country, right now! This type of segregation, most people do not really think about it, but if you study it, you will realize it. Today, deaf children are getting mainstreamed into public schools. This segregates them from other deaf children and the deaf community. They grow up isolated, not ever feeling truly accepted, and not being able to communicate comfortably with other children their age. “Except for mildly and moderately deaf children, mainstreaming imposes additional and severe restrictions on the environment. At the state schools, deaf children find real acceptance among their peers; a rich and varied dormitory life; and a community of signers” (Neisser, 1996). A child that goes to a Deaf school is more likely to participate in sports, be involved in Student Body Government, and be involved in class discussion. A deaf child being mainstreamed “means one deaf child in a class with a sign interpreter. For some, it involves integration in a regular class where the teacher “has access” to a resource person who may or may not know anything about deafness. To a school in a rural district, it may mean nothing at all, a teacher grappling with thirty hearing students who does no more than give the simplest standards individualized reading material to her single deaf student” (Doolittle, 1977).
Deaf children need Deaf role models. Some deaf children go throughout their childhood never meeting another deaf person, let alone a deaf adult. They sometimes think that they will die once they became an adult, because every adult they have ever met has been hearing. These children are segregated from Deaf adults, the Deaf community, Deaf culture, and know nothing about Deaf history. If they were able to have access to this, they could realize that they can live happy productive life’s, being deaf. They learn that deafness is a language minority, not a disability. By being a part of the Deaf community, they will get a sense of pride for being deaf. “If the child grows up with their family thinking the deafness is a stigma, then the child is likely to have low self-esteem. A high percentage of deaf children have low self-esteem profiles, which researchers think may be tied to lack of communication” (Desselle, 1992). If we always focus on something they cannot do, instead of something that they CAN do, then of course the child will have bad self-esteem. Segregating a deaf child will give that child a low self-esteem. By involving them in the Deaf community, the deaf child will realize that they can do anything that a hearing person can do. It is not a disability, like so many people will try to tell the child that it is.
So what caused mainstreaming in schools? In 1975, Congress passed a new law called “Education of All Handicapped Children.” (P.L. 94-142) Later, it was signed by President Gerald R. Ford on November 29, 1975 which fully took place as a new law. The Education of All Handicapped Children changed how we place deaf children in education today.
Before 1975, more than one half of all children having some kind of disability were not getting the services that they needed. They were not getting the education that they deserved. “There are more than eight million handicapped children in the United States today” (Cheadle, 1987). Over a million children with disabilities were not allowed to go to a public school. Parents with handicapped children had to find other sources to help educate their children, and had to pay for it themselves. “Not only was this detrimental to the children, but it was also a disservice to society” (Tina T, 2010). Disabled children sometimes had to live at a different place than their parents, because the day to day travel was just too far. Congress started seeing these issues and started passing laws to help solve some of these issues. The law “changed those situations by requiring that all children with disabilities, including those who are deaf, be educated in the least restrictive environment” (David A. Stewart, 1998).
Before the LRE came into effect, Utah was already mainstreaming deaf children into hearing schools during the 1960’s. Much of the emphasis for mainstreaming came from the University of Utah and Dr. Bitter. In 1990, Baldwin wrote, “Bitter argued that residential schools were too isolated from society, and advocated day schools and classes in public schools” (Kinner, 2007). Dr. Bitter is not a friend to the Deaf community. He really fought for children to learn the Oral Method, and against deaf children signing. Utah is considered an “Oral State”, which can be a tragic thing for the deaf children. By not placing an emphasis on the use of American Sign Language, it could hurt the child’s ability to fully function and do well in school. The problem is that a parent with a deaf child may not always know all the information. The parent wants their child to be “normal”, and believes that, by making them learn how to lip read and speak, the child will become “normal.” The problem is that only a few percent of deaf children are successful at it. Many educators and families in Utah were afraid of the LRE law. Utah School for the Deaf (USD) would be closed down because it was considered as a “Special School.” Children would no longer come to USD to be educated, but would go to the public schools in their area. Now mandated by law, students are to be placed in the “Least Restrictive Environment” (or LRE). “In fact, Section 612 (5) [later renamed as IDEA 2004 612 (a) (5) (A)] states, “…special classes, special schooling, or other removal of handicapped children from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the handicap is such that education in regular classes, with the use of supplementary aides and services, cannot be achieved satisfactory” (p.1)” (Kinner, 2007).
When it comes to deaf children, the LRE can be a disservice. Mainstreaming “does not support quality of education or a rich language and social environment, factors which mainstream program directors neither understand nor feel compelled to consider.” The problem is deaf children, of course, cannot hear, so they are missing out on learning their own language to the full degree. They are missing out on interacting normally with other children. A deaf child and a hearing child cannot communicate on a deep level. Meanwhile, deaf children are missing out on social interaction. Deaf children may have a lot of friends on the superficial level. On the deep friendship level, they are not able to really connect. The Deaf Community, and those who support them, feels that deaf children are better able to face challenges ahead of them more easily if they are in a school for the deaf.
There are many people who believe that Schools for the Deaf are a better way to go for deaf children. Some deaf children that are mainstreamed at first, then end up going to a School for the Deaf, report that they are happier. By mainstreaming a deaf child, in a way you are segregating that child. Segregating the deaf child is not what the LRE law intended, but it is what happens. The reason for the segregation is because, like what was stated earlier, deaf children are unable to communicate fully with their peers. Another down side of the LRE for deaf children is that it is difficult for them to learn their natural language, which is American Sign Language (ASL). Before a child can learn, they need to have a full language. 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, which prevents them to learn their full language. By teaching a deaf child, speech/oral, it does not give a deaf child a full language either. The best way for a deaf child to really learn his or her language, ASL, is to let them interact with other deaf children and deaf adults. Mainstreaming a child does not give them access to other deaf children and deaf adults. It just gives them access to a lot of hearing children, adults, and one interpreter who may know ASL. A deaf child cannot learn their full language from one hearing interpreter. A child not having a full language will get behind in school.
Mainstreaming has shown better success to deaf children from a deaf family. The reason behind this is that the deaf child has been using ASL since he or she was born. By the time they enter into school, they already have a full language, which makes them ready to learn how to read, write and do math. They are not as segregated as other deaf children, because they have access to communication, Deaf adults, and the Deaf community.
A lot of the time, a child gets a Cochlear Implant, and then is expected the learn to speak and interact with hearing children in a mainstream environment. The deaf child is forbidden to learn American Sign Language. The problem with this is like we mentioned before, a child needs to have a full language before he or she is able to learn. Parents and educators sometimes believe that if a deaf child gets a cochlear implant they will be able to hear, and as a result, learn how to speak English. Only 4.4% of deaf children that get a cochlear implant are able to become fully successful (Johnson, 2006). That brings us back to the problem that a child is not getting a full language, so the longer it takes for a child to learn ASL, the more behind they get in school. Some children’s parents hold out the hope of their children being “normal” like themselves, and the child does not learn ASL until they are in the late childhood which puts them very far behind. Some schools for the deaf focus so much on teaching the children how to speak that they neglect other subjects. Deaf children need more time to learn how to read and write, but, in some situations, are only focusing on speech.
We need to learn from history. History has proven that deaf children are not as happy, or do as well in public schools then they do for schools for the Deaf. We need to stop Segregating our deaf children, and put them in a place where they can freely socialize with other children there same age. Having only one person to communicate with, which is a hearing adult interpreter, is not fair to the child. They need other children their own age to socialize with and communicate with. Mainstreaming is segregation when it comes to the deaf.

Works Cited

America's Reconstruction. (2003). Building the Black Community: The School. Retrieved 11 2010, from America's Reconstruction:
Berke, J. (2009, Feb). Deaf History - Segregation - Deaf Schools. Retrieved 11 2010, from
Burch, S. (2004). Signs of Resitance. New York: New York University Press.
Cheadle, B. (1987). PL-94-142: WHAT DOES IT REALLY SAY? Retrieved 09 06, 2010, from National Federation of the Blind:
Desselle, D. D. (1992). Self-esteem, family climate, and communication patterns in relation to deafness. American Annals of the Deaf , 322-327.
Doolittle, J. G. (1977). The New York Times Magazine .
Johnson, R. E. (2006). Cultural constructs that impede discussions about. Washington DC: PERSPECTIVA.
Kinner, J. B. (2007). THE DEAF EDUCATION HISTORY IN UTAH. Utah, United States. Retrieved from
Neisser, A. (1996). The Other Side of Silence. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press.
Wikipedia. (2010, 11). Brown v. Board of Education. Retrieved 11 2010, from Wikipedia:
Wright, M. H. (1999). Sounds Like Home: Growing Up Black and Deaf in the South. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implants

By: Emily Loveless

Parents pray and hope that when their baby is born that the baby will be “healthy.” Many parents are heartbroken when they find out that their baby is deaf. Naturally, they go to a specialist to see what they can do to make their child “normal”, to fix their child’s handicap. Within the first month of the baby being born, their hearing will be checked. If the baby fails the test, they are referred to an Audiologist. (NICDC, 2001). From there an Audiologist will determine if the baby is a candidate for a Cochlear Implant. (UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, 2010).
So what is a Cochlear Implant? “A Cochlear Implant is defined as “a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing” (NICDC, 2001). It is defined by the FDA as “ an implanted electronic hearing device, designed to produce useful hearing sensations to a person with severe to profound nerve deafness by electrically stimulating nerves inside the inner ear.
By April 2009, approximately 188,000 people worldwide had received cochlear implants; in the U.S., about 30,000 adults and over 30,000 children are recipients. -U.S. Food and Drug Administration” (Park, 2010).
A man by the name of Dr Graeme Clark invented the Cochlear Implant. When Dr. Graeme was a young boy, his father became deaf. As a result, he had a dream which then became his life goal. Driven by the experience that his witnessed his father go through, Dr Graeme became a Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, but then left this practice so he could achieve his goal. He left his “practice in Melbourne in 1966 to study at the University of Sydney how the brain would respond to electrical stimulation for coding sound. He had the opportunity to continue this research when appointed as the Foundation Professor of Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat surgery) at the University of Melbourne” (Anderson, 2007).
Dr. Gaeme Clark called his invention the Bionic Ear (it later developed into the Cochlear Implant ). Dr. Clark and his team discovered that “for the first time the nerve cells in the inner ear can be made to respond back into the inner ear. They also discovered that nearly normal sound could be reproduced by sending fine patterns of nerve fibers through to the inner ear. His early research met much opposition from most scientists who said that it was impossible to reproduce the sound made by the brain with a small number of electrode wires in the inner ear, and that it could be dangerous” (Anderson, 2007).
In 1978 Dr. Gaeme did his first operation on a man named Mr. Rod Saunders. The FDA finally approved the Cochlear Implant in 1985. It was the first Cochlear Implant ever approved by the FDA (Anderson, 2007).
Most people who get a Cochlear Implant average from ages two to six years old, although the FDA has recently approved it for children as young as 12 months. (NICDC, 2001).
A Cochlear Implant has the following parts: A microphone, which picks up sound from the environment.
1-A speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
2-A transmitter and receiver/stimulator, which receive signals from the speech processor and convert them into electric impulses.
3- An electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collect the impulses from the stimulator and send them to different regions of the auditory nerve.” (NICDC, 2001).
There are many misconceptions about Cochlear Implants. One of them is that a Cochlear Implant restores normal hearing. In reality, the Cochlear Implant sounds very unnatural and machine-like.
People have argued different points for the Cochlear Implant’s success. To some, it is allowing a child to hear their mother’s voice for the first time (Park, 2010). To others it may be for a Deaf person to function as a hearing person. Not everyone who gets a Cochlear Implant finds it successful.
In reality, only 4.4% of all people who receive a Cochlear Implant are able to perform like a hearing person (Johnson, 2006). But the problem is that doctors do not tell the parents these statics. Parents think that once there child receives a Cochlear Implant, their child is no longer considered deaf. Deaf adults and children that get a Cochlear Implant are still deaf.
After the Cochlear Implant, the child is sent for “extensive training in listening, speech, and lip-reading—at the expense, inevitably, of time devoted to academic subjects” (Lane, 1992). The sad thing is that with all this training at home, at school, and with therapist, it will most likely not be effective, and the child will be behind both academically and ih language development.
Some people believe that once a person gets a Cochlear Implant, they will be able hear right away and be able to talk on the phone. In reality, it takes time to train your brain to use a Cochlear Implant, even for those that lost their hearing at an early age because it is not a natural sound. A person who lost their hearing late in life will have to learn to recognize certain sounds again through the device. A person who became deaf at an early age or was born deaf will have to learn all the different kinds of sounds and what they are. (Powell, 2009).
If I had a good friend that had a deaf baby, and my friend was debating on getting her child a Cochlear Implant, I would highly suggest against it. One of the reasons is that the child would not be able to play sports with the other children his or her age. “People who have Cochlear Implants are cautioned against contact sports because there is some worry that a blow to the head may damage the housing of the internal portion of the cochlear implant” (Powell, 2009) I believe that a part of their childhood is taken away from them once they get a Cochlear Implant. That child would have to sit out when all of their other friends are playing a game. It is unfair to the child.
Another reason is why not let a child be happy with who they are? Just because they are deaf does not mean that anything is wrong with them. “If the child grows up with their family thinking the deafness is a stigma, then the child is likely to have low self-esteem. A high percentage of deaf children have low self-esteem profiles, which researchers think may be tied to lack of communication” (Desselle, 1992). If the focus is on something they cannot do, instead of all the things they CAN do, of course the child will have a bad self-esteem.
Another reason I would suggest against a Cochlear Implant is because of the lack of communication that will most likely occur. One of the requirements of getting your child a Cochlear Implant is not teaching you deaf child any form of sign language. Doctors and therapists invested in the success of the Cochlear Implant want parents to focus on teaching their child lip reading and speech (Cochlear War, 2010) . By doing this, a parent is taking away their child’s language. They are forcing something on the child which is very unnatural to them. And they may or may not master it.
In my opinion this is abuse! Taking language away from a child is wrong. Parents need to learn their child’s language, not force something upon a child that the child may never be able to master. Parents who limit their child’s language while gambling on the success of lip reading and speech are then only able to communicate with their child in a superficial way. Parents may be able to tell their child to sit down, or clean their room, but how are they going to teach them to think? How are parents going to teach their child about important issues like sex, abuse, politics, etc?
Another reason I don’t like the Cochlear Implant is if a child is going to an Oral school because of the device, the school will mainly focus on teaching the child how to speak and to lip read and to recognize sounds (Lane, 1992). They do not focus on the important subjects that hearing children their age are learning; math, reading, writing and history. They may start on a subject, but then focus on the speech part of it more than the actual subject, so the child gets further and further behind in school.
Compare that now to a deaf child who did not get a Cochlear Implant. They are able to communicate with others around them, not just their teachers and parents. They are able to play with other deaf friends. They go to school, and are learning the actual subjects in school that school is intended for.
I think it is hard for a parent of a deaf child who knows nothing about Deaf culture or American Sign Language to make an informed decision. Hearing parents who find out their child is deaf want to make the best choice for their deaf child, and naturally, they go to a doctor and to experts in an effort to find out the best possible way to help their deaf child. Most people would think that an audiologist or experts in deaf related fields would know what deaf culture and the deaf community are. One would think these family’s would hear from these “experts” what the statics of successful communication are for kids who use ASL as their main form of communication versus kids that learn how to lip read and talk. But in reality, “Otologist and audiologist are often poorly informed about the deaf community and its language; that knowledge is not a required part of their training” (Lane, 1992) page 24. Otologist and audiologist usually recommend to parents the oral method of teaching their child. The best way in their opinion might be a Cochlear Implant.
Another reason I would highly suggest against a Cochlear Implant is because it would be so scary for a deaf child, and they would not understand what is happening. The book “The Other Side of Silence”, tells a story about a lady that had conduction deafness. She had a surgery done, and she was able to hear. It talks about the first thing she heard was herself swallowing a cup of water, and how loud it was for her. How she thought people were screaming when the talked to her normally, and how it was hard to sleep with all the noise. Reading this made me think of children with Cochlear Implants. Here a grown adult is having a hard time with it. It was something that she had to get use to, but she chose to do it, and she understood what was happening. Now imagine a deaf child getting an implant, and not understanding what in the world is going on. No one can really explain to the child what is happening. They cannot communicate with the hearing world, they do not know English. Maybe if someone were to sign to them before and after, they would understand more of what is happening, but they are still young and confused. But most deaf children getting the cochlear implant have NO IDEA what is happening. That can cause a lot of psychological problems (Neisser, 1996).
Cochlear Implants are wrong. There is no reason for a deaf child to get them. Statics show they will most likely not be successful anyways. We need to do what is best for our deaf children. Having the attitude that we must fix them will cause psychological problems in the end. We need to accept that they are deaf, and because of that deafness they can open up a whole new and wonderful world to us. We need to love them for who they are and the beautiful package they come in. Deaf children need to learn American Sign Language and embrace who they are, not demand they try to be more “normal” and teach them Oralism.

Works Cited
Anderson, J. (2007, 05). Professor Graeme Clark. Retrieved 11 2010, from Quazen:
Cochlear War. (2010). For Parents Only. Retrieved 11 2010, from Cochlear War:
Desselle, D. D. (1992). Self-esteem, family climate, and communication patterns in relation to deafness. American Annals of the Deaf , 322-327.
Johnson, R. E. (2006). Cultural constructs that impede discussions about. Washington DC: PERSPECTIVA.
Lane, H. (1992). The Mask of Benevolence. New York: Vintage Books.
Neisser, A. (1996). The Other Side of Silence. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press.
NICDC. (2001, May). Has Your Baby's Hearing Been Screened? Retrieved 11 2010, from NICDC:
Park, S. (2010, 09). Cochlear implants allow baby to hear mother's voice for the first time. Retrieved 11 2010, from KSL:
Powell, K. (2009). Cochlear Implant Myths & Realities. Retrieved 11 2010, from The Listen Up Web:
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. (2010, 07). Cochlear Implant. Retrieved 11 2010, from UCFS Benioff Childrens Hospital: