After some serious thought about what I’d ever hoped for from this blog, and considering the kind comments from you about whether to allow other sites use the content; we decided that it’s not the right thing for us now.
This has mostly been a personal memory book that turned into so much more. While I love getting comments from old and new readers (oh come on… I wasn’t calling anyone old :) , it somehow still feels like an intimate gathering of friends. I don’t want to wreck that by inviting controversy to the blog.
To some extent, I have purposely refrained from bringing in some of the unpretty aspects to the blog. And the kicker? They’re really not about what I actually go through as a deaf person. It’s about what other deaf persons can do.
It’s been nearly 30 years, but I still struggle with the balance of a disability. On here, it’s easy to forget and simply share the silly things that happened during the day – as a wife, mom, awkward girl. It’s easy to pretend if I want to.
Out there… it’s harder to forget. Consider last night – when I was trying to figure out what was freaking my poor kiddo out. A siren? An alarm? Oh heck no… it was the sound of a moth beating its wings against the window. How does a deaf person figure that out?
There’s a security here – and I’m hoping to vent for a bit without the attention those other websites could bring.
See, deafness is unique in that many people believe an actual culture has developed from a disability. And I understand the “rah-rah-it’s-differently-abled-not-dis-abled” rally, but the fact remains that there are things I cannot do, no matter how much positive thinking I employ.
I cannot think of one other “disability” that has created such a culture. To the point that some have become militant about it. Criticism from all sides abounds. So you have a deaf child… do you:
refuse to handicap her further with sign language – enroll in an oral program?
place hearing aids on her and treat her like a hearing child?
shun hearing aids, learn sign language and use only that method of communication?
send her to the state deaf institute so she can be surrounded by other deaf people?
put her in a special ed program and use rudimentary mime at home to communicate?
schedule surgery for cochlear implants and hope for the best?
The only clear answer is that NONE of them are the answer for EVERYONE.
My mother endured much criticism in the decisions she made to give me the best chance at learning and communicating. In fact, she first begged, then fought the school district to end the relentless teasing I was experiencing. My parents sacrificed much to put me in another school.
Without an interpreter. Without a school audiologist. Without a million.and.one special education services.
Their instincts were right. The year and a half I spent there placed me squarely in the “gifted student” programs later. But more importantly, I had real friends for the first time.
Their decisions created: a deaf child who was usually able to communicate with the rest of her hearing world, a kid who had no trouble learning, and a third-grader who finally ventured out for recess.
So where did they go wrong? Apparently many places. The most popular argument would be that I’m ashamed of being deaf. They would say I should never speak or use my voice. I should only sign, and sign American Sign Language (not in natural English sentence structure). I should not wear hearing aids, nor have any attempt to restore my hearing. I should have been sent to the deaf institute (where once-upon-a-time the average graduate left with a fourth grade reading level). I should socialize with primarily deaf people, and everyone around me should learn sign language to communicate with me.
So help me… That last paragraph makes me mad.
I still encounter it. Deaf people who mock me for working, instead of sitting at home and collecting SSI. Criticize me for marrying a hearing man. Level their own derogatory terms for a “pretend” deaf person who speaks and signs with proper sentence structure.
Why do we shoot our wounded? I think most of us moms want the best for our kids… regardless of any disability or special needs. We want happy and healthy and well-adjusted kids who are adaptable and enjoy learning. At the “end” of our parenting, we want them to become adults who will do the right thing and still love us.
This is no different simply by taking away hearing.
It is absolutely inspiring to me – to read about the devotion my fellow bloggers have to their beautiful children. I’m sure many of them encounter their own version of social criticism – and they press on.
Please allow me to end this venting post on a sweet note. Please go see these amazing bloggers… read for yourself what they are doing for their children and what their children are doing for them. Be inspired… and surprised at just how many similarities we all have.
Keri at Life of Logan
Melody at Slurping Life
Karla at Masto Mama Chronicles
K at Floortime Lite Mama
Just a few… now go hug your kids! And sing all kinds of goofy songs with them… cuz if this deaf mom can do it and make her kid laugh, then that just leaves y’all with no excuses, eh? :)