Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One POWERFUL statement

G'day everyone!

Today, you need to read a web page. It's very POWERFUL. It's a TOUGH message that everyone, whatever they are in AGBELL or in DBC to read today.

Here it is: http://www.xanga.com/dianrez

Now I want to add to what's being said. I also have a fury at AG Bell for promoting CIs and non-ASL babies to grow up in Childhood without signs. AG Bell's influence is just about everywhere. Even in the public education systems. But their influence is concentrated more when it comes to special education schools.

When I was growing up, I was rejected by deaf schools because I could hear with a hearing aid very well and I was a candidate to be put into an ORAL school. But where I lived at that time, NO oral deaf school was available. I lived in Rochester NY area as a kid. I was shuffled into Lester B. Forman Center, which was a special education school designed to take handicapped kids. But this was where about 5 of us deaf kids fell through the NY State Education system cracks.
One of the most shocking revelations I had heard some years ago when I interviewed a staff member, for the purpose of my mainstream diary book I'm working on, about some of the facts that parents were DISCOURAGED from sending their kids out of the area. WHY? Because, they wanted to teach us, deaf kids, the "AGBELL" agenda of oralism. We, the 5 deaf kids in this "special education" school, were to become the "test students" for deaf mainstream education into public schools. How successful were we? Look at the results in the years later. Deaf Mainstream education is working in the public schools. Deaf kids have been able to demand for interpreters in the classrooms. They have been fortunate. We, the "test students", have been forgotten and cast aside in the name of VICTORY by those who support the AGBell's ideals.

The biggest revelation that I was told that parents were lied to about the quality of life in deaf schools outside the area. They were told that we would be WILD kids. They were told that we'd grow up in a deaf culture that wouldn't listen to their hearing family. They were told that if we were sent to a deaf school, we wouldn't be able to make it in a hearing world. They were told we would struggle obtain happiness in a hearing society and that we would be ignored for the rest of our lives. The only hope was to force us to be included into the ORAL society. We were taught to be loved and protected from the evils of the deaf schools.

How kind was that AGBELL idealism. It doesn't work! Everything that Dianrez wrote in her blog has made it a POWERFUL statement about my life of which I grew up in. Even as an adult, it still happens. I still get excluded out of family functions. I still get excluded out of events so important that by the time I'm asked for my opinions, the event is already over, but they find my ideals much important and interesting that it's jot down if the next event happens again. How nice. NOT!

Some months ago, my mom asked me a question. It was a quality of life education question. She asked me how I felt about my years of education. I told her "It was ROUGH". When she asked me if it would have made a difference of being sent to a deaf school, I replied "YES! It would have balanced out my life.". Then I told her all the benefits I would have gotten if I was sent to the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) on the campus of Gallaudet University. When I told her of the truth about, her eyes went wide and I tell she was lied to about my benefits of my education if I went to MSSD. When I asked her why she didn't send me to MSSD, she said: "The distance was too great and I loved you too much to let you go".
I told her and said: "I have missed out in a DEAF childhood and being forced to be an oral child hasn't made life any easier".
I get often told that I have "best of both worlds". That's not always true. Having "best of both worlds" doesn't make life any easier for me or anyone else.

One thing is true very much. Hearing friends abandon their deaf friends whenever they can. I had some wonderful hearing friends that I grew up in my mainstream days, but haven't reached out to me since high school. I have one or two hearing friends that have kept in contact since high school. But I am thankful for a strong group of deaf friends that I've made in my days at NTID and at Gallaudet University.

Perhaps, we do, as a deaf community, have to educate our own family members about deafness. It's not necessary a bad thing to view. Sign Language and hearing aids are a good combination for a deaf child to grow up with. That's what keeps a family together.

At this point, we got a lot of healing to do and helping our hearing relatives. Maybe DBC does need to heal first before they attack AGBell so often. On the other hand, AG Bell needs to back down on promoting their "solutions" for deaf babies and come up with a better quality of life ideas. CIs are not the solution on deaf babies. SIGN LANGUAGE is.
Maybe it's also time for DBC to take a good look at the quality of life that is happening in our deaf schools and deaf clubs and SUGGEST IMPROVEMENT in those areas so that we can reach out and serve both, hearing and deaf children and adults.

In all of this: it's time to unite as one deaf community that works together so that we all benefit from the quality of life that we can make for deaf children and adults. It's time for it.
But time is lost when we are divided over controversial issues. Let's get our act together before we lose all the gains we've made.

Semper FI!

1 comment:

Jim said...

The only thing about Deaf school is probably some restriction that isn't fair to deaf students. One example, a friend I know when to deaf insitute but he was not allowed to date girls as I do not know why. Since he could not get that experience, he had to learn on his own about how to date girls. That is rough in my opinion. I never went to deaf schools or had interpreter in school. Only once I had a class with other deaf students and use special equipment to hear in class that was a body hearing aid with the color block to match to the microphone to hear the teacher. That is all I had. So I don't regret ever going to deaf school. But I am more than proud I went to NTID and Gallaudet University. Those were the best place to met deaf people and more open than a deaf institute in my opinion.