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Adam’s Story

February 8th, 2008 by | Tags: , , | 46 Comments »

Adam, a 15 year-old cochlear implant user, is the son of one of the CICircle co-founders. He received his cochlear implant when he was two years old after he became deaf from meningitis. He was raised with the Auditory-Verbal approach like me and is another cochlear implant success story who can’t imagine life without sounds! Here is Adam’s story:

I am 15 years old, implanted at age 2 – after suffering from meningitis.

I lead a very happy social life with a lot of friends, and all my close friends are hearing kids. I do not get bullied or made fun of at school. At school I feel like a real member of the class where I often speak up and give my opinions in class discussions.

I am always willing to try new things. With my implant I can hear a lot more than you would probably expect and being able to hear the leaves rustle and the birds singing is something that I would not be able to hear without my implant. I find it very easy to be involved when my friends and classmates are chatting. I even got into trouble in my maths class for talking too much to my friends, but I did tell my teacher that I had actually down all the work while I was talking to my friends!!!

I always wear my implant processor because it is the closest I can ever get to being able to hear “normally”. Being raised with an implant, allowed me to grow up and be a part of things like any other child. I can go to the same school as my younger brother, I can make friends at parties with people I have never met before because we use the same language. One of my favourite things is talking to my friends on my mobile phone, that is until I run of credit : – )

I can’t imagine my life and what it would be like without my cochlear implant.

Adam is also a very talented writer! Here are a few samples of his poetry:

An Ode to a Chicken

Chickie-Chickie-Chickie, so many Chickens in this world,
But there was one Chicken that everyone despised,
His name was none other than the notorious Ronald,
Whose motive was to spite everyone in sight.

Oh how he put his excellent plans into action,
The pointless pranks on the locals here,
The laying of lies and deceit onto travelers for a con,
And the odd odious crimes under the cover of night.

Nobody challenged the foul tempered Chicken,
Conspiracies, schemes and plots were planned,
But conspirers always seemed to end up in a pig’s pen,
Ronald continued at his own will and right.

Teenage mischiefs, monkey businessmen and morons,
Each and every mischief looked up to Ronald as an idol,
And the infamous chicken continued on as a don,
Till the day Ronald was caught under a wheel and snuffed his light.

Written at age 15.

The Moon’s Gift

The Moon in the night sky,
an illustrious inanimate mass.
beyond our world it lies,
with the simple beauty it has.

At times we see a gentle lunar crescent,
or a great glowing sphere.
it forever waxes and wanes without consent,
depending on what we perceive from here.

Its luminescence in the darkness,
forever inspiring peace for us.
Battered, desolate and a mess,
but always magnificent without a fuss.

The Moon is just as grateful,
as its light is almost eternal.

Written at age 15

Being Colder than War

The front of the war is terrible,
shells, bullets and grenades are unbearable

It reeks of people in the dark,
and the alive are the cause of it.
Our ruthless CO forced us to make a mark,
from which lives are dimmed.

The terrible symphony of war played the unlucky ones
the hymn of death and cursed the others. A grenade exploding is
the doing of the Grim Reaper who is the conductor.

Fortunately I had avoided the scythe and cried tears of blood at the music
but unfortunately it was not from my eyes.
It was not long before my body started screaming at me and my light began flickering.

A kind friend dragged my reddened body or what was left of it to the shed.
The medics worked over the wounded pawns of war, struggling to fix them.

From the aid station, a whirlybird carried I, ever so gently to a better place
A place away from the front but green.

Again my light flickered
But violently as I was carried away into a room where life
or death is chosen.
All the murmurs were the leaders passing sentence.

Men in white and their angels of mercy did all they could
But I was cold but glad.
The sudden chill did not bother me for I –
I had gone elsewhere, an elsewhere far better

Written at age 14.

The Three Spirits

I am a skinny built tree growing with friends as years pass by,
My oven roasted potato coloured hair spurts out like green leaves growing slowly on tips of branches.

My body strength is as strong as a meteor racing across space with all its might,
My reflexes are as sharp as a tiger’s tooth.

I like kicking soccer balls hard into the goal as waves crash hard into cliffs attempting to move rocks,
I like playing my PS2 while being as lazy as the sea currents are very calm.

No one can take my mind away as the tree will never be chopped down,
My heart and spirit will never vanish, as the meteor will never fall apart,
My life inside will never be destroyed, as the deep-sea creatures will never be caught.

Written at age 11.

46 Comments

Jeremy

February 8, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Adam, you are one extraordinary guy!

Billyred

February 8, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Awesome! Wonder if Adam is able to communicate with American Sign Language??? If not, Why not???

February 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Adam doesn’t communicate in ASL. He doesn’t need it because he is able to communicate in spoken English so well, and his family and friends are all hearing and don’t know ASL.

February 8, 2008 at 10:57 pm

But Melissa, won’t CI users want to learn ASL so they could also know people who only sign? After all, they’re the ones that understand some of the negative sides of being deaf (in a audiological sense, not culturally).

The way your comment sounds, it seems as though he considers himself hearing. Not saying that he _does_, but I’d be concerned if he did think himself completely hearing as I am sure there are no CI users counting themselves as such and don’t see it starting now.

Lena

February 8, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Billyred, Do you know Chinese? And if not, why not? Do you know how many Chinese speaking people there are in the world? In the US, even? Don’t you want to talk to them??? What’s that? You don’t KNOW anyone who speaks Chinese? Well, Adam doesn’t know anyone who knows ASL. So, why would he take the time to learn it? There are so many languages out there to learn and love, and with a CI, Adam is able to choose whichever one strikes his fancy, just as Rachel chose French. They are not limited to only ASL.

Adam's mum

February 9, 2008 at 12:50 am

Hi Rini

Does Adam consider himself hearing? Hmmm…if he is asked by someone why he wears a cochlear implant, his answer is “because I am deaf and my cochlear implant helps me to hear”. He isn’t “afraid of silence” he is quite happy most mornings enjoying the peace of getting up, having breakfast and getting ready for school and not being able to hear his mother nag him : – ) He doesn’t know ASL so if he or anyone else intitiates a conversation during those mornings, he lip reads to work out what he needs to know. It is really easy and comfortable, it is not like we all stress if he doesn’t have his processor on or something. However as you can tell by what he wrote, he loves his cochlear implant and he loves to hear, and he loves all the gifts that being able to hear with his cochlear implant has given him. He recognises that he hears differently to people born with “normal hearing” – in fact only last week someone was complaining about the noise finger nails scraping on a blackboard make and how it gives them goosebumps because it is so irritating…his reply went something like “sucked in that only affects you guys who have normal hearing!” And in the same way, when we all get up looking like death warmed up because we were awake all night with a dog barking or a thunder storm we get much the same kind of answer “sucked in, slept like a baby without my processor on!” He and I have had many conversations about deafness….I think I can best summarise for him that he sees deafness as very much a part of who he is, but a part that he puts the same “weighting on” as say being tall, blonde and with a kick *rse sense of humour.

February 9, 2008 at 1:42 am

My heartfelt condolences to Adam, he has been stripped from his right to use ASL by his own mother. Did he ever have a choice? You should ask him if he wants to learn ASL, just for fun? I am appaled by your apatheic view on Deafness (that you “should cure it”) and ASL, you cant separate these two. Im not against CI but you have shrouded him in the world where there isnt any ASL. If you had introduced him with ASL along with other options that you have invested in, certainly his world would have been “brighter”

Did you know Harvard recommended teaching sign language to Hearing children in early stages (like under 4 years old) to encourage growth in their language and this is one of their recommendations if you want to send your kid to Harvard. I guess you blew your chance there if you wanted to send your son to Harvard that is… he appears smart but not gifted because he doesnt know ASL, YET. I emphasize YET because many times I meet CI users who had never been introduced to ASL (thanks to their parents) and they finally take ASL later on and embrace it. Why? Its their identity….

When i read this blog, its like attending a funeral… so sad. I have nothing against CI but it is sad when people are defensive or fed misconceptions about Deafness and alter the course of many lives (often times for worst) whats so BAD or WRONG about ASL? This isnt a success story without ASL. I can affirm this, with fervent deep rooted belief.

I have a 6 month old daughter who is 7th generation Deaf, and it is a joy to see her eyes glow when I sign (which is pretty much same thing as speaking to a baby) and it is COMMUNICATION. She responds to my signs, and i dont believe she needs CI to communicate or get along with other people. I work in social services and Im capable of commuinicating with other people- without any processors or speaking.

Lena- you crack me up. If you son is chinese, maybe he should learn chinese to enrich his cultural identity? Adam is Deaf, regardless and he should learn ASL to enrich his identity and continue to use CI or whatever other method but he should know ASL and connect with his people. Youre no better than the southerners in 60′s who have separate drinking facilities for white and black people. cant they commingle?

Yes, Im Deaf and who wants to hear all the stratching on chalkboard? not me! ;-)

Adam's mum

February 9, 2008 at 2:48 am

Darrell

I am thrilled that your daughter is happy. I’m not sure where my “apathetic view of deafness” came from. In preschool Adam learnt to sign a song as part of an exposure to many different languages. He has seen people signing in restaurants when we have been out and we have talked about it. He hasn’t been in a closet away from ASL. I only spoke to him this week about his thoughts on learning ASL – his choice is he wants to learn Italian so he can complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma at his senior school – and no he can not learn sign language in that instance because it is not a recognised language under the course syllabus.

If ASL is indeed his identity as you seem to believe it is, then he will choose to learn it, just as he will make many other choices in his life. I have no problem at all with him making that choice.

I am a little surprised by your “funeral reaction” but respect your right to your views based on your experiences and values. It is quite interesting to me to see your views based on his blurb & poems, followed by a few comments. I reflect on your comments and try to reconcile that with not only what I see, but what his teachers at school see, what his wider family, other members of the wider community see when they look at him. Ain’t no-one crying over a funeral there. They are all simply filled with warmth, love, admiration and pride at this young man who is a leader in his community, who loves life with a passion and jumps into everything with both feet ready to give it all a go.

“but he should know ASL and connect with his people” – interesting view point, if you were to ask him, “his people” are the people who have raised him, loved him, cared for him and been a part of his life for the past 15 years, none of whom actually know ASL and for the record it would be Auslan in our part of the world anyway. He and “his people” have the most amazing conversations, the most amazing dialogues about life, deafness, politics and the meaning of life. The only difference between him and your daughter is that our conversations are founded in spoken English and yours in ASL. Ours is no better than yours, or yours any better than ours – they are just simply different. It saddens me it always comes down to that BIG QUESTION “Does he know ASL?” Here is this gorgeous, happy, amazing teenager but that seems to count for naught because he hasn’t reached his level of giftedness because he doesn’t know ASL…

Adam

February 9, 2008 at 3:41 am

I have just read your comments and I would not say that I have been robbed of the opportunity of learning ASL, but in the early stages of childhood with my CI the focus was on learning spoken language. I put it this way I can always learn sign language later if I wanted to. Just focussing on spoken language then has greatly reinforced my ability to use spoken language. And now that I am old enough to make my own choices if I wanted to I could learn sign language, of my own free will. I am not brain washed against sign language as you seem to think. I wouldn’t mind learning sign language but I’m about to learn Italian for school (IB) and I don’t think I would cope learning 2 languages at the same time, so maybe some other time.

As you say I should learn sign language to “to enrich his identity” and “connect with his people”, if you ask me I think that sign language does not define an individual identity. It is just a different form of language that is favoured by some deaf people. In my case I have learnt spoken English to communicate with a larger circle of people. Just because I am deaf, doesn’t mean I hold any prejudices against people of the deaf society or the hearing society. I simply choose to interact in the hearing society more often because that is where my friends and my community are.

As for learning sign language as a recommendation for going to Harvard – I don’t live in the USA.

At the moment I don’t think my life would be any brighter if I did learn sign language because I already have everything going for me…..if my life was any brighter I’d have to wear shades.

February 9, 2008 at 3:43 am

Wow, youre so out of touch with REALITY… just like the old Southerners that wont budge… it appears you guys still prefer the separate drinking facilities?

Let me give you a far fetched example just for kicks, let’s say Adam was blind…. would you rather him to learn and read from a regular paperback, instead of the Braille because its better for him, because his family doesnt use Braille or people around him either.

Tsk tsk… I cant blame people if they are conditioned to think the way you do. I guess you know the enduring P.T. Barnum quote?

Heres some good reading material for you guys “Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood” By Paddy Ladd- theres an online book , Ive attached a link.

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=Pr649oNCaSMC&dq=deafhood+paddy+ladd&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=szYhRH1HWg&sig=vptarnYHT2B10gq6fQB13B2RLwQ#PPR1,M1

February 9, 2008 at 3:51 am

Adams,

I noticed some cochlear implantees so obsessed with this term, “normal”. It is obviously they learn from their parents, unfortunately. I talked to my hearing friends about “hearing normally”. Their face crinkled and said, “what is hearing normally? There is no such hearing normally.” CI just help Deaf people to hear sound. The speakers in the concert is the device that help hearing and some Deaf people to hear the sound better.

Relax! Enjoy your life and focus on yourself as whole, not hearing thing. Wink!

Another Mum

February 9, 2008 at 4:47 am

If Adam were blind and there was a technology available such that he could access “regular paperbacks”, why the heck wouldn’t I? There are so many more titles in printed as “regular paper backs” than there are in braille!

We are not out of touch with REALITY, perhaps it is just that we are out of touch with what is REALITY as you live it and you believe it to be. It isn’t a matter of separate drinking facilities….you say in your post that “I work in social services and Im capable of commuinicating with other people- without any processors or speaking”, so whats the big deal with Adam and ASL – come comingle with him without ASL….you can write notes to each other, email, instant message….is it really about ASL this notion of not co-mingling or is about him not conforming to what you want him to be and what you see he “needs to be”in order to fulfill his Deaf identity. He has a deaf identity, it isn’t yours and isn’t your culture but the fact that you refuse to allow him any other identity except that which you believe to be “the way it is meant to be”, speaks volumes to me about who truly is pushing the notion of “separate drinking facilities”.

Adam

February 9, 2008 at 5:14 am

I sent a post before your last one, but it didn’t come through properly.

The other post said – I am not brain washed against sign language and wouldn’t mind learning sign language but I am learning Italian this year for school (IB) and I don’t think I could cope with learning 2 languages at the same time. I might add that thanks to the closed mindedness and sheer negativity of your post, you have completely put me off of ever learning sign language. So much for your desire for me to learn sign language and to be “with my people”. If you keep this attitude up, you will have a hard time convincing other CI users to learn sign language if they haven’t already.

Just because I am deaf, I don’t have a prejudice against the deaf society or the hearing society, but keep in mind that I am trying hard to keep an open mind and wish you could do the same. I don’t think sign language defines an individual’s identity, is it just another form of language some people choose to use.

I’m sorry to have to bring your daughter into this, but I could say the same to you that she should be doing this instead of that. It is my belief that you should give her a cochlear implant soon because there is only one window of opportunity to develop speech. As you said you have no problem with CI users if they are taught sign language, so why can’t you do the same with your daughter? She would only have one opportunity to be a part of the hearing world and the Deaf Community. Or has she been stripped of the right to use a CI by her own father?

I will leave you with this thought; are you doing what is best for your daughter or are you only limiting her to your culture?

February 9, 2008 at 8:04 am

Thanks for sharing Adam’s story Its obvious by his own comment that he even at the age of 15 has a sense of understanding and respect far beyond many of the deaf commentors here who think him not learning ASL is a holy sin of some such.

The deaf community needs to understand and accept that there are many different kinds of deaf people. Its interesting that everyone is saying he should learn ASL which is American Sign Language yet Adam is not even in America if I read this correctly. This goes to show the ignorant and blind attitude that the American deaf community has.

Adam good luck with learning Italian and passing your exams.

February 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

It’s a cute post. But the subtle message that’s being sent to the rest of the Deaf Community is that, ‘We can do those things, and you cannot. Why? Because I have a CI!’

We are seeing story after story of successful CI users, and not very much about Rachel’s life with the CI. So I have to wonder what exactly the purpose of this blog is.

The successful CI users stories are getting old, to be honest. It feels like we’re being propagandizing at. I’m happy that the CI is so successful for quite a few, but I don’t see any dialogue going on. I don’t see any willing concession that the CI isn’t successful for everyone.

I mean, we do the same things that you CI users do. We participate in classes, we go to parties, we go to movie theatres… We DO participate in the larger society and have mundane, everyday lives. We don’t need the CI to do that, but the subtle message being sent out from this blog is that we DO need the CI to do that.

And one last thing – one thing should not solely define your identity. ASL is a major part of my life, but it does not define who I am. My deafness does not define who I am. It’s just puzzle pieces in what makes up me.

Don’t think those who are culturally deaf define themselves SOLELY on their deafness, because that is a disservice to our culture and language and the individuals within.

As it is, the way this blog is heading, I am going to no longer read it. I do not feel comfortable with the agenda of this blog. I wish you all the best.

Alex

February 9, 2008 at 9:28 am

Darren I have known both Adam and his mother for a very long time. I am also both deaf and a CI user. I can say that I am proud to be able to speak. I think it is a miracle that we came from no communication to being a part of the hearing world.

I think parents should provide options for their children for when they grow up to be old enough to make their own decisions. Parents who choose for their children to learn ASL rather than speak through the use of a CI are not going to have the option of a CI when they are old enough to make their own decisions because at that time it will be too late. On the other hand, if the parent chooses for their children to have a CI when they are young, they still have the option to learn ASL later on when they are old enough to make their own choices.

I have never ever seen any scientific evidence of a correlation of children communicating through ASL and being a genius. However all you have to do is look at Adam’s amazing poetry and post and see that it is evidently clear that the language in his poetry and his post far exceeds the language of an average 15 year old. Does he look like he needs language growth? If he is doing far better than his peers, I don’t see how he needs any language growth.

I was but now no longer interested in learning to sign. Like Adam I am sick of being attacked by the signing community for being a CI user. It is people like you that put a bad name to sign language. I am tired of the narrow minded view by people like you in the signing community who have the perception that having a CI is “wrong”. You can’t compare CI and sign language; they are two completely different forms of communication. We have CI’s why can’t you respect that just like we do you with sign language?

Just because we are deaf, it does not mean we need to be part of a “culture”. Hello, every single person on this planet has at least one fault, no one is perfect. Does that mean they need to be a part of a culture for that fault just because they have it? CI’s have given us an amazing opportunity to let us be part of the hearing world, why would we not take advantage of it?

Regarding your comment about blind people and reading, there is no possible way you can compare that to deafness. The difference – there is no medical device that allows blind people to read but deaf people can hear through the use of CI’s so there is no relevance to your comment. But let’s just say hypothetically say that blind people could read through some medical device allowing them to see; signing for deaf people world would be like using Braille, and using a CI would be like a blind person being able to read through the medical device that allowed them to see. Does that then mean they should not have the medical device that can allow them to see so that they can be part of a “culture” for the blind and use Braille? This is not about your comment – “because his family doesnt use Braille or people around him either.” This is about taking advantage of medical developments that provide us with infinite opportunities.

I am too sorry I have to also bring your daughter into this, but has your daughter been stripped of her right to having unlimited communication with the hearing community rather than having communication limited to those who know ASL? Furthermore has she been stripped of having any options for the future unlike me and Adam who have a CI and still have the option to learn to sign?

Rachel

February 9, 2008 at 9:52 am

A Deaf Pundit,

I’ve been blogging about MY life too, including one a few days ago about my winning an award while I’m posting stories from other CI users. If you missed the entries about my life, here are a few from the past few weeks:

http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=35
http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=34
http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=30
http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=29
http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=28
http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=21
http://cochlearimplantonline.com/blog/?p=19

I’m posting other CI users’ stories because I’m tired of being called “lucky” or “exceptional” by the deaf community!

IamMine

February 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

Alex, I am deaf and a CI user, too. I use ASL.

Look at A Deaf Pundit – she uses ASL and she is a GENIUS! There are others like her.

I’m sorry you feel attacked – it is really trying on both sides.

The other side feel like they are being attacked because of the attitude, “It’s because of CI, I can do this or that…”

They are annoyed with that because they can function in the hearing world just like anyone else.

A Deaf Pundit and others are attending HEARING University.

Communicating with hearing people with CIs is fine, but so can they without CIs. It’s different kind of communication.

Please don’t stop from wanting to learn ASL. It is truly a BEAUTIFUL language!

Being “part” of the culture is what caught my attention. It’s as if you are being forced to be part of them when that isn’t the case.

It’s JOINING them and being part of them – by CHOICE. I interact with the hearing world 98% of the time and visit my Deaf friends the other 2% time because of my busy life. I join them because it’s a great feeling to talk to them in ASL and having a good time.

And it’s NOT because of my CI that I interact with the hearing people. I got my CI three years ago.

I’ve always been labeled as a smart deaf kid all my life in school without hearing aids and always had hearing friends to play with.

So, I can understand the frustrations coming from them when they read, “Because of CI, I can do more things! I don’t need ASL!”

We all are deaf, with or without CIs. I honestly wish all CI folks would learn ASL so they can visit us when they want to.

I’d love to help parents of CI children teaching them ASL and the parents themselves… while they work on AVT.

I hope you understand….

Darth Vader of the Deaf community

February 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm

People,

We all need to respect Adam. We cannot tell him to learn ASL.

Adam,

Don’t bother to learn ASL. Just ignore people who tell you to. I was often tempted to refrain from my CIs, because several Deaf people insult me so many times because I am a CI user and I’m fluent in ASL. I realized that I am in very dangerous position. But I made a choice to have ASL. I’m starting to think that I regret it, because no child should ever see the freakin narrow-minded hatred of the Deaf community.

I feel like I failed. I was raised oral through AVT approach and learned ASL through Deaf peers. I can speak English clearly, thank to my speech therapies. I can sign ASL fluently, thank to my few Deaf friends.

I always wanted to find where I belong. Hearing community. Deaf community. Cochlear community. Apparently, I’m involved in all three.

What are people thinking these days? I believe that we all should live our lives to the fullest. Alot of people cannot do that without having a bickering fight.

IamMine,

By the way, ASL is not beautiful language. People call me N-word and A-Word in ASL. Even some Deaf people call me think-hearing. You call that beautiful? I don’t think so.

Obsessed,

CI people are not obsessed with using word normal. To me, I don’t feel like I’m normal because all of kind of people know that I am different, but never get th chance to acknowledge that I’m just like them.

Rini,

I learned ASL and I have CIs. So as IamMine. You can stop whining.

Darrell U,

The heck with Harvard, I don’t give a dog’s poo on what they recommend. By the way, Harvard is a school full of hearing people. I made a choice to learn ASL without anyone guidance. My parents have no involvement in my choices. I made my own choices to have cochlear implants when I was seven (left side) and when I was seventeen (right side). My parents support me all the way. When I read you blog, you kept crying and I kept farting on every single word you whine. My life’s no funeral. My life is a warzone because of crazy Deaf advocates telling stupid theories about CI. You should listen to Glamorous by Fergie. Oh wait, you can’t.

I’ve seen one guy who is deaf. My resource teacher wants to help him on his homework. He does not want to do his homework. My resource teacher asked why. He said ‘he’s deaf’ in ASL. I was like OHHHHH! Noo he did not.

Alex,

My parents did not have any involvements in my choices. I made underage choices to have cochlear implants. I made choice to learn English. I made choice to learn ASL to communicate with Deaf people and to disprove CI lie/theory from Deaf community in ASL! Can you believe my story? My naive choices? I am very young as 18 and I am fighting for CI people from inside the Deaf community whenever they are complaining about cochlear implants. I am always there to represent the Cochlear community full of CI kids, teens, adults, elders, the parents and list goes on.

You’re cool for not learning ASL. I just wish that few people can join my cause so we can fight together for the deaf children of tomorrow. I always have ‘fight’ alone from the inside. I’m grateful for people like you and Rachel, being able to fight from the outside of the Deaf ASL community.

Deaf community is not united. They are divided by beliefs, races, and languages all over the planet.

IamMine

February 9, 2008 at 12:29 pm

Darth Vader – I’ve been called all sorts of names in ASL too. :D

It’s the people, not the ASL itself. I’ve been hurt, too. But not all of them are like that.

Like you, I’m involved in all three communities as well.

There are all sorts of people in all three of those and it’s dangerous to label them in certain community. Even hearing people are no different. :D

I’m not forcing anyone to learn ASL, but encouraging them. What’s wrong with that? I’m not attacking anyone.

I know Rachel doesn’t need it or wants to, either. I can understand that some don’t want to because of the treatment from some of the anti-CI folks…but not all of them are like that.

But at the same time, they are getting the same treatment as the other side.

For example, you don’t want to learn ASL because of the “relationship” based on bad experiences.

Same with them – they have bad experiences with negative attitudes towards them by not wanting to associate with them amongst other things.

It goes both ways, you know?

I’ve said this many times, building bridges is difficult and painful.

For both sides.

Oh, that deaf guy who played the pity card? That was a lame excuse and many culturally deaf would look down on him for saying that. Not because he is deaf and uses ASL. It reflects poorly on them.

Darth Vader of the Deaf community

February 9, 2008 at 12:35 pm

I always encourage my deaf peers to be challenged than being in special ed class. I don’t want see them throw their lives away.

February 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm

First of all, Adam, thank you for chiming in. Im sorry if you feel repelled regarding ASL but again thats systematic conditioning done by the massive billion dollar CI industry so I dont BLAME you. Read Paddy Ladd’s book, buddy.

It ticks me off when CI industry come into Deaf communtiy and say “YOU NEED CI, you life will be so much brighter” only to be concerned of profits hence why I am going all over CI sites and preaching “YOU NEED ASL” because again you will PROFIT from it not the industry! This is a GENOCIDE in my view when you go in schools and interfere with proven process, feeding misleading information such as CI will make you smarter, capable of speaking, thinking, or feel better. What a lie. Just makes you capable of hearing. It has nothing to do with ability to speak, write, or even communicate with people. It is just ability to hear and yes theres nothing wrong with it. But when people are fed inaccurate information- tsk tsk. I can hear/feel music- and you say I cant? How ignorant.

I wouldnt even put my daughter through the process knowing only 2 out of 5 implants are deemed a success. This is a proven fact.

With my rich cultural background it will be a shame and disadvantage for my daughter to be implanted that early however if she wants to go through this she will have make that decision on her own (of legal age that is, 18 years old) but if at early age, she wants speech therapy thats okay with me because Im cool with options and choices (I did have speech therapy since 18 months old, however I stopped going at age 10 at my choosing and I still pretty much speak fairly well depending on how much I use it and people say I speak well). I know friends who were raised with speech therapy with ASL and hearing aids later to make their own decision to have CI, sometimes with positive results and indeed it is NOT TOO LATE. As long you go through speech therapy early on WITH ASL it will not delay a child’s ability to learn. When you remove ASL, all the Oralism is MOOT.

Trust me, it is a WAR and Im not backing down without a fight along with many of us. Disinformation sucks ARSE. Deaf people are taking a stand everywhere and we will continue to ensure that people are informed properly about the importance of ASL. Its your bigoted stand which defines yourself. ASL is a RECOGNIZED language like it or not. It is taught everywhere from preschool to universities. Nothing can stop the pure and beautiful language from growing its reaches all across. Even spoken language can be ugly, who made up the N word? Definitely not Deaf people!

Darth Vader of Deaf Community? Thats saying alot more than I can say… but you cant ever decimate Deaf Community, you CIborgs (extremists) crack me up. I have many CI friends and I respect their choices but when ignorant CI people say Deaf children cant learn ASL only to do speech- this is robbing them of valuable childhood.

Deaf community is not united? So isnt America? So isnt the Republician party and the Democratic party? Examples, please? You cant single us out, you foolish people using off the cuff examples that dont even prove nothing. Even among CI people, they are divided by beliefs, races and languages by their choosing.

February 9, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Darrell,

“Genocide” – and therein lies the real reason why some in the deaf community are so anti-CI — because the more kids who get CIs who are like Rachel and Adam, the smaller the deaf culture will become. So, it’s not really the best interests of the deaf children that you are looking after but, rather, yourself and something that is more important to you than the welfare of the kids.

You are deaf from a deaf family, but 90% of deaf children are born into hearing families with no history of deafness. If the CI enables these kids to easily be comfortable in and communicate in the hearing world, then that is in the best interest of these children, whether they choose to also learn ASL or not. As others have said, if they can do both, then and only then can they make a choice. A child implanted at 18 will never be able to make that choice. It is too late. I suggest that you look beyond your own self-interest and look at what is best for those deaf children who are born into the hearing world.

In addition, how is it that you think with your anger and accusations you will attract any of these kids into the deaf culture? You can already see by their responses that you are doing exactly the opposite and are chasing them away. There are some who have commented on several of Rachel’s blogs who are open minded, reasonable, and welcoming. It is with these people that kids like Rachel and Adam, who are becoming young adults, will choose to build bridges. CIs are not only here to say, but their numbers are increasing rapidly. If you value your deaf culture enough, then you will make it a more hospitable one.

Hearing Mom

February 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm

We are a hearing family and our daughter has been raised using ASL and is a culturally Deaf adult now. We let her decide if she wanted to listen and speak but her gravitation to sign language was so natural. We never felt that it was “our right” for her to be hearing just because she was born into a hearing family. We felt it was her right to be Deaf and proud of it.
She has a full and complete language which our family learned. It wasn’t hard to learn when you are motivated to communicate with your child. The age old excuse from hearing parents that “ASL or Sign Language is not my language and It is not natural for me to learn it and teach it to my baby” is really quite sad and to me just seems really quite neglectful.
We have felt so blessed and honored to have had an opportunity to see what being true Deaf is all about. Our daughter is more independent than any hearing person we know at her age. She has traveled the world,has friends and contacts all over the world, graduated college, and now has a wonderful job. She does not need to speak and hear to do this.
I wish more parents had a chance to meet Deaf people like our daughter before they make their decisions for their baby. Babies grow up to be adults and what we decide for them has a life long impact.

February 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Melissa you still dont get it. IT IS NOT TOO LATE at 18 years old… it is not too late, deal with this fact. Breathe in and out, lady. Have you seen poor 18 month old babies in bandages wrapped around its head? How can you put them through that process… with 2/5 chance? Too risky for me… but lifes a gamble eh?

Ive gone past courtesy because you people are stoic in your views. I still conduct open dialogue. CI is possibly the worst thing for my kid right now. Thats based on recommendations of an audiologist I went to recently to confirm her profound Deafness. Care to explain?

Ive succeed in convincing people to raise their Deaf children with ASL regardless they have CI or not. Because it is in best interests for them to understand where they come from. If not, there is a void. We all could get along but just because Alexander Graham Bell was an Eugenic fellow who thought sign language shouldnt exist and everyone jumping on that bandwagon? You actually believe that crap?

CI is in the BEST interests for YOURSELF.

CIs are there to stay so will ASL! We will continue to enjoy this banter for many years to come! I do hope that in the end, we will be able to sit across and discuss how we (you and I) got lost in the process why there was so much hatred, misconceptions, opression towards Deaf people (and why Deaf people feel threatened by CI’s methodlogical invasion). Then we will laugh and share some brewskis…

Go 100% Organic! No Processed Meat here! ;-)

February 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Darrell,

Your 2/5 statistic is very inaccurate for kids who are in the right follow-up program. You won’t find the majority of kids who are able to learn to hear and speak with CIs in deaf schools.

Secondly, age 18 is way too late. You can’t implant a child born profoundly deaf at age 18 and have them achieve the ability to comprehend spoken language through a CI. It does not happen. Research has proven that the window of opportunity is in the first 2-3 years of life. Early on, the professionals didn’t understand this, and they implanted the older kids who had been in signing deaf schools. These kids then became the “CI failures” that we read so much about because, as we now know, they were not good candidates. There would be very few CI centers that would agree to implant an older child who had not been able to use residual hearing successfully through hearing aids prior to implantation.

Hearing Mom -
Parental involvement is the key, be it parents willing to put in the time and effort required for AVT or parents willing to fully learn sign. Your daughter did well because of your efforts. My daughters have done well because I was willing to put in the time it took to ensure that they had a full grasp of English, both spoken and written. You chose what worked for your family, and I chose what worked for mine.

Jeremy

February 9, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Darrell U,

“you CIborgs (extremists) crack me up. I have many CI friends and I respect their choices but when ignorant CI people say Deaf children cant learn ASL only to do speech- this is robbing them of valuable childhood.”

Last time I checked, I’m still a human, not a borg. Your comment to Darth Vader is erratic. How dare you insult people like me? I’m no ignorant. I too use ASL. Deaf kids can use ASL. You’re very selfish person. One man’s comment does not respresent the entire community.

But some of your people are. Bilingual Coalition. Deaf extremists. list goes on.

I’m just 18 year-old. I am not meant to be a soldier or an extremist. Even my childhood is robbed by my first grade teacher who abused me because I’m her first deaf student. I had a bad childhood. I’m not laughing.

Keep in mind that CI only works for people with specific kinds of hearing loss, not the entire deaf population. Not everyone is a good candidate.

“It ticks me off when CI industry come into Deaf communtiy and say “YOU NEED CI, you life will be so much brighter” ” Prove me that there are people who said that. CI industry? That’s a problem for you. There’s no such thing as CI industry. CI is not a business or money making. If you said “you need CI, your will be so much brighter,” you are lying. As a bilateral cochlear implant user, I can’t get involved in Deaf community without being insults millions of times. I thought I’m just gonna socalize and have good time, but they are seriously trying to exlude me from Deaf community.

People tell me that Deaf community is getting accepted toward CI people. Half right and half wrong.

My best friend is Deaf. He uses ASL all the time. He’s very nice person. He accepted me as who I am. I accepted him as who he is.

He does not scare me. So do you and your so called radical freedom of speech.

hearing friend

February 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Darell U,

Hey I also watch Star Trek! So that means you are a trekkie, too?

February 9, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Jeremy, you use ASL which is WONDERFUL.
Chalk one up for Deaf community!

Anyone who wants to try ASL? My radical views are same as radical views of Anti-ASL implantees. We are open to discussions and views which makes this a wonderful country.

CIBorgs: non signing implantees. I dont think thats you, Jeremy but if you want to think that way- its fine with me, just another misconception.

I have friends who implanted themselves AFTER 18 years old and is a success story, and you say it doesnt work? What the fock… I have seen a living walking proof of an implantee’s ability to speak and listen after years using ASL and speech therapy.

I welcome any implantee to learn ASL as long they embrace their Deafness. The problem here is the stoic comments and allusions that they lead “BETTER” life through their use of CI which isnt all that true. It is from their familys vested interest and love in the upbringing of that child- not the CI and yet everyone applauds CI as that sole reason of that child’s success. Get it?

Jeremy

February 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Isn’t borg a species from Star Trek? Therefore Rachel is not a borg. She is not an extremist.

She’s just an ordinary storyteller with great stories to share with us.

February 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm

Jeremy,

I didnt say Borg as refernece to Star Trek because I dont watch that show. I say CIBorgs as reference to Cyborg. Dont they rhyme? And I dont need a CI to know if they rhyme…

Here is a proper definition: “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i.e., an organism that is a self-regulating integration of artificial and natural systems). Real cyborgs are more frequently people who use cybernetic technology to repair or overcome the physical and mental constraints of their bodies. While cyborgs are commonly thought of as mammals, they can be any kind of organism.”

Read carefully next time, my friend.

Adam's mum

February 9, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Hmm well Adam’s thoughts sure generated some discussion eh?

To those who wrote supportive responses thank you.

To those that wrote calm, rational and insightful posts about their lives and their experiences with a CI and using ASL, thank you. It is those kinds posts and the people that wrote them that kids like Adam will be able to relate to and not feel as if they are “being attacked”. It is role models like you guys that may encourage them to learn ASL and have a closer look at the Deaf Community at some point in the future. It is also those posts that make me feel like there is some hope for some common ground, these are the kinds of posts that make me as Adam’s mother, feel comfortable that he could talk about deafness and the Deaf Community in a productive way and feel like he is accepted for who he is and that he could have a genuine exchange of views and cultures with you.

Darrell, sorry but we are not going to agree on this one, so I’m not going to keep up the arguing, I’m not sure it achieves much and I’m sure it doesn’t help the process of bridge building either. One thing I would like to know is where your 2/5 are unsuccessful figure comes from, can you provide me with the details/weblink/ of where you got that figure from? You present it as such a statement of fact, I would like to see the reference from which it came. Lastly referring to someone as a CIBorg, irrespective of the proper definition as you present it, come on, where is the bridge building there?

KH

February 10, 2008 at 12:39 am

Hi As long as you feel comfortable with communication in either of using ASL or spoken English. That is your options to make. Remember we deaf people come from all walk of life.:) KH

Spencer

February 10, 2008 at 2:22 am

Melissa—I have to disagree with you here. I’ve met several Deaf people that grew up using ASL and were implanted as adults–one as late as 40 years old, and they all learned to hear/speak quite well. I don’t believe there is a window of opportunity, because I’ve seen so many examples that prove just the opposite. As long as you have a strong foundation in a language, you will be able to learn ANYTHING in the world. The 2/5 ratio sounds very accurate to me–as that has been my experience teaching Deaf kids AND adults.

Rachel

February 10, 2008 at 9:42 am

Spenser,

The adults who received their CIs as late as 40 years old, did they have any residual hearing?

K.L.

February 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

How successful you are with the implant depends entirely on how well the auditory center of the brain is or can be developed. If you are profoundly deaf with no residual hearing, then it is critical to get the implant as quickly as possible, since the development stage is pretty much done by age 3.

If you have a progressive hearing loss, and the auditory center can be developed with speech therapy and hearing aids, the window for successful implantation is much longer.

However, the reason so many people didn’t do well with their implants in the early days is that the auditory center was not developed enough as an infant, and just could not be developed enough when they got their implants later on.

John Critser

February 11, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Here is a must see link:

http://thewattsworld.blogspot.com/

It compares oralism to ASL. You’ll love it. This time, you probably will understand it, and do a good job, too!

John Critser

February 12, 2008 at 7:56 pm

I solemnly agree with “A Deaf Pundit” comment, #15, the one by “Iammine,” #18. As for Darth Vadar, he is nothing but a disgruntled individual. If he got called names, it is because of his attitude. It’s all about attitude, whether you get accepted into a community, or not. I am sick of stories that CIs give just to prove that CI makes lives more richer. That’s not true. Jeremy also seems disgruntled.

To make it clear I am not a disgruntled person, but I will speak my mind, to counter what CI community considers “the brighter side” meaning we can’t see the brighter side without hearing sound??? Untrue. It’s a false illusion.

I want to quote #3, which was by Melissa:

“He doesn’t need it (ASL) because he is able to communicate in spoken English so well, and his family and friends are all hearing and don’t know ASL.”

This is the snobbish arrogance that really stirs me up..

“I don’t need ASL because I am able to speak well…”

Honestly, that is FULL of it. It’s exactly like saying,

” I don’t need hearing friends because I am able to sign in ASL well….” (#3 sounds like this, if I used these words in context)

What I would like to see is a bridge to both worlds, despite whatever language is our preference, minus the snobbish attitude and an outlook full of false illusion.

I was able to do MANY things without a CI.

Let me tell you a true story. I was in a 4A hearing high school and our class, with 50 hearing students, had a spelling bee contest. I HAD to read lips without hearing any voices, and I had to spell all the words correctly without being able to HEAR at all. This was an advanced English class, all hearing, I was the lone Deaf student in that class.

Guess who won the spelling bee? I DID! Beat out all 50 other hearing students by a mile! I spelled ALL WORDS CORRECTLY.

And I was supposedly the kid who signed animatedly in ASL with some sounds coming out of my throat as if I was some kind of monkey swinging from tree to tree, with grunts. And I WON the spelling bee!

The hearing students in the spelling bee stared at me in stunned silence and wonderment. They were shocked.

It was so hard to read the lips of that voice interpreter, too. She had flat lips and a flat smile, you know? I actually almost had my eyes popped out of my eye socket just trying to read lips.

But I feel like, wow! Without oralism, without CI, without the snobbish attitude, I was able to defeat 50 other HEARING STUDENTS in a spelling bee without hearing a sound.

Champ! That proved to me I could do anything in this world, and getting a CI is not going to enhance that experience for me, not unless I believe that false illusion.

Spencer

February 13, 2008 at 12:56 am

Actually, Rachel, my 40 year old friend who got a CI was stone-Deaf from birth. Born Deaf and never heard a sound until she got her CI. She now listens to music, and interprets it. She already knew how to speak pretty well, so the CI didn’t change that much.

February 13, 2008 at 6:04 pm

John,
You’ve just proven the point that a CI makes life much easier for these kids. That’s great that you won the spelling bee, but you described quite accurately how much of a struggle it was to read lips and so how much harder it then was for you to understand what was being said. CI kids like my girls don’t have to struggle like this to understand spoken language because they can hear well. No one said that you can’t succeed without a CI and hearing, but it is absolutely true that life is easier with the ability to comprehend speech auditorally, regardless of whether you sign or not.

John Critser

February 13, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Melissa,

On the lipreading part, for all Deaf people, varies with everybody who talks differently, are the lips tight, flat, or thick, does it hardly move while speaking or does it move a lot when speaking, there are so many variables in lipreading. I lipread better with hearing aids. I don’t necessarily believe that a CI will help me to lipread better than when I wear regular digital hearing aids.

I was pointing out that anybody can do well without a CI. I was in a hearing class. I would have won the spelling bee whether it was a hearing school or a Deaf school. And it is rare for someone to win a spelling bee without actually hearing the words, whether its a vowel or a consanant. That was quite an achievement.

Since I am a Deaf cultured ASL signer, I normally don’t want to say if I can speak, if at all? The answer is, I speak really good, probably better than some CI Deaf or oralists. But I have accepted Deaf culture and embrace it, and make it a wholesome part of my life, and have adopted the Deaf identity, as after all, I am Deaf. I can speak like a hearing person if I want to. CI won’t make me any better than I do speak now. I think CI is more of an auditory issue.

brother of a bilateral ci user

February 17, 2008 at 3:36 pm

John,

When my brother was young, he was taught not to read lips in his auditory verbal therapy when he used his hearing aids, before getting his first cochlear implant surgery, and when he used his cochlear implant.

It doesn’t really matter if you can hear. It’s not really an issue for me.

I was really impressed when I see my brother growing up all those years. He speak well. He sign fluently. I wouldn’t call him some CI Deaf or oralist. He’s both ASL user and oralist.

You said that ‘CI won’t make me any better than I do speak now.’ I once remember watching a cochlear implant presentation. I surely remember that cochlear implants are not lipreading tools. I doubt that hearing aids are too not lipreading tools.

You think wrong about CI being auditory issue. How would you feel if I said Deaf is not a culture? Being CI is not an issue for my brother. But it is for some crazy Deaf radicals who tries to hurt my baby brother!

I believe people just should lighten up. Don’t take things personally. There are nearly 6,500,000,000 people on the planet. Each of us have different belief, different culture, different language and list goes on.

Who cares if you can speak really good? When my brother speaks at presentations, everyone is interested to hear his story or cochlear implant rather than his speech.

You should be happy with the fact that large number of the world population have never heard of cochlear implant.

BTW, my brother does not have a snobbish attitude. He has some kind of selfless tendency trying to bridge different worlds whenver deaf worlds – one that use Oral method and one thate use sign language method – or worlds: world of sounds and world of silence.

Have all of us forgotten ‘deaf can do anything?’ Deaf person can make a choice to have cochlear implant. Deaf person can try to be a bridge of worlds. Deaf person can dance. Deaf person can speak. Deaf person can sign. Deaf person can achieve! List literally goes on to the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy!

My brother is an example of bridge. But there are some who refuse to allow him to be the bridge.

John Critser

February 19, 2008 at 6:29 pm

brother of bilateral ci user-

You made a good comment. I just want to give you a reminder to let you know that there are some CI people (implantees, advocates, CI representatives) that believe those with CI will have a better quality of life than those that don’t have CI.

Hence, is the reason why some of us took it personally.

brother of bilateral ci user

February 20, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I want to know who they are. So prove it, John!

caroline

May 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Adam,
i’m doing a report in school about cochlear implants and i’d like to interview you. all through e-mail or IM of course(i’m in the US). please let me know if you’d like to help me with this. i’d be ecstatic and my ASL teacher and best friend, i think, would love to see what you have to say.

Owdshoo

March 19, 2014 at 12:26 am

My granddaughter, of 3 months old, has just been diagnosed completely deaf due to an horrific attack from meningitis. She is also blind to some degree- we do not know the extent fully yet and she may have other developmental issues to work with due to brain damage.
We are desperately hoping that she will be able to have CI or hoping that she will be able to see well enough to sign through vision, or both.

When my daughter asked me how her daughter would cope with such obstacles- I told her that if she lived in a silent world that there would be many positives – she would not hear the sound of hatred or abuse. She would not hear social/ peer pressures to conform. She would be free to make up her own mind as she would choose who to speak to and what to learn. I expected the deaf community to be kinder and more tolerant somehow. It makes me sad to find that she will not be exempt from that at all. Indeed she may be exposed to more bitterness and propaganda from what I can only perceive as deaf extremists.

Deafness, is not her heritage, her hearing was stolen by a vile disease. It is not where she comes from – we do not have generations of deaf culture in our family.
Of course we will all learn it. It may be that we have to learn to sign for a deafblind child (is that a separate culture and do they have special rules about what is allowed in terms of aids?) and we will. If however she can have the opportunity to hear then we will grab it and I will learn sigh language just so that i can tell any deaf militants who try and tell her she is some kind of traitor where to go! I hope that they are few and my worries are unfounded – now I’m off to look up ‘bollocks’ in ASL.

Adam, if my granddaughter is as articulate and mature as you by the age of 20 (in whatever language), let alone 15, I will be a very proud gran indeed.