Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Perspective

Happy 2012!!  I don't know about you, but that number astounds me!  As one born in the 1970s, the 2000's seemed a futuristic, impossible dream, but here we are.  We can connect with people all over the world in a matter of seconds, fly across the globe in half a day, open a "marauder's map" of sorts and see where we are in this vast, yet small world.  Before visiting a new place, I can walk the streets virtually before ever touching down in the city.  I can ask my phone to show me the way home, tell me the temperature, call my mom, text my husband or find the answer to any (and I mean ANY) question and she will try and most often succeed.  (I just called my phone "she!")  If I lose my coveted phone, my computer can find it for me.  We are living in the Jetson's world.  Better yet, we're living in early Star Trek world. Minus warp speed and medical tricorder.  Come to think of it, the MRI is a tricorder of sorts, but not handheld; not yet anyway.

The world has changed greatly for Deaf people as well.  Check out this video from DeafNation.

I have a special prayer in my heart for parents who have deaf children.  Accept who they are.  Accept that they are deaf.  Choices you make regarding choclear implants, hearing aids, and speech are of little consequence to me.  What I DO pray for you is that you will give your baby or toddler language visually, and that you'll be willing to do the hard thing by learning an entirely new way of communicating with him or her.  I pray that they would never feel like you see them as "less" or "imperfect" until they reach a level of oralism that pleases you.  If you're always hoping for them to be more "hearing," they will feel it. They'll know it.  No matter how skilled they become orally or hearing with aides, they will always be deaf.  Accept them where they are and run with their abilities!  Give them ASL, give them hearing aids, send them to speech training, but give them visual language first so that they have that foundation on which to build whatever else it is you dream together.  Be inspired by this film and by all of the Deaf role models out there.  May this be the best year for your entire family.

For more inspiration:
The Pearls at The M Projects
Deaf Mom Shares Her World with lots of links for parents with Deaf/HH kids.
Through Deaf Eyes, a PBS Documentary that can be rented or viewed on Netflix streaming.

If you know more inspiring links, please share!


  1. I really believe that if I had been exposed to sign language first that I would have a much larger vocabulary than I actually do right now because everything I learned was by learning visually. I was taught to speak orally first, and did not learn sign language (SEE1) until I was late 7 years old or 8. When I didn't hear anything, THAT'S when I was not learning anything until I SAW something visually to help me learn. Even though I was good at lipreading when I was younger, many hearing people still did not understand that just because I could lipread and talk well doesn't mean I can follow them. No, it always took so much effort on MY part to know what was going on. Often I was left out, or just simply bored to tears dreaming of a way to escape. Many hearing parents miss the importance of this because they are more concerned about their child's ability to hear sounds only to cause their child's language development severely delayed. When my hearing loss was confirmed just the day before I turned 2 years old (I'm 43 now), the only thing at that time doctors, auditory and speech therapists knew best was to advise the parents to have their Deaf child learn to speak and listen if the child had that ability. Now, we live in an amazing world filled with so much advanced technology today, we have more independence. We have video phones, email, cell phone, text, etc. Hearing parents who choose to sign with their deaf child/children are incredibly blessed because they have total communication and have a much better understanding of their child's deaf world. I honestly believe the hearing parents should let their Deaf child choose what world he or she feels most comfortable with. Hearing, Deaf or both. Since I was good at lipreading and spoke well, my own hearing parents never learned to sign. I never thought about how important hearing parents should learn to sign until I got older when my lipreading skills started to decline. Since I am also legally blind in my right eye, I really depend on signing more than ever to understand clearly. I still could lose my vision in my left eye (hopefully not), and the only way I would be able to communicate is by feeling sign language. Teaching a child to speak and lipread does not guarantee that his or her life will be a success.

  2. Laura, I love when you share your experiences! You provide so much great information for parents to consider for their own kids. I'm also glad you blog!

  3. I just watched your video after a friend shared it on FB. It brought back fond memories of our son at the same age!!! My wife and I are both freelance interpreters and have been for 15 years, our son is hearing. I really believe that the exposure to ASL at such a young age really helped in his overall language development. He has always read at a level several grades ahead, which I also contribute to his early ASL use. As a personal side note, I can say that the Deaf adults that had signing parents while they were growing up are a breeze to interpret for!!! It really makes such a huge difference with that early language exposure.

    We really enjoyed your video :)

  4. I am so thankful for your blog, you have helped our family in so many ways and we have never met! (talk about the futuristic;) Our youngest child has apraxia(we are waiting for her hearing test in a few weeks), age is only 14 months old but has only one word and uses it inconsistently. We have been signing with her off and on since she was born but only in the past week have I begun signing everything I say to her.....she has picked up signs daily and is having much led in the way of sensory problems.
    I used your videos to illustrate the way that children who sign as their first language babble. That when our girl is signing all of her signs and experimenting with new handshapes and movements she is really babbling. It us amazing and so incredibly awe inspiring to see our little girl grasping language and understanding her. She is absorbing language and so are our other children, we homeschool and this is now our daily curriculum:)

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, it is so inspiring to read and watch!
    The Taylor family

  5. Love that the representative still picture is in our country. :-)

    (Sonlight mom who drops in occasionally to catch up on your blog, as she has grossly neglected her blogreader)