Deaf Family Finds Themselves Torn Between Deaf and Hearing Worlds (Part 3)

Uploaded by Paro77777 on 05.12.2009

Why is everybody talking and noone signs? Because this school focuses on speaking. Who?
All of them? Yes. At this school they teach using speech. Do you want to play? It was
a struggle for Heather. She tried to communicate with them but none of them kne how to sign
and they knew nothing about deaf culture. So they don't have any deaf identity or self
esteem. I feel bad for them because they're only focusing on speech. Its because they
all have hearing parents. I have to do more research because I want Heather to have both
worlds. To be able to go back and forth. TO be able to speak and to sign. Remember Heather?
Heather is thinking about getting an implant like you. Can we show Heather your implant?
::Shelby sings a children's song for them:: As the interpreter did you understand what
Shelby was saying to you? Were the words clear to you? Yes. I understand them clearly. Her
voice was very clear. Yes. I'm just explaining to Shelby because she doesn't understand sign
language. She's never been exposed to it. They can't hear anything either. And they
don't have an implant and they don't have hearing aides So this is the way they know
how to talk okay? Give it to Heather and let her read like you read, okay? Heather, why
don't you sign? The interpreter will speak. If you sign then she'll voice for you. No,
I don't want to sign. I want to speak! Sign the story. It's your language. No! You'll
sign. She'll speak. Just leave her be. Come on. I want you to sign the story Heather.
I want to speak. Alright. Alright. Let her be. Alright. Is he in the piano? The dog Spot.
Try the basket. ::Applause:: Okay I know that we are from a deaf world and you are from
a hearing world. But I want to know if you did any research to find out about deaf history
or sign language before you had the implant done on your daughter or did you just go ahead
with it without having any information. I guess we both felt there were more options
available to her if she were able to hear. That life for her would be easier. MOre normal
where she wouldn't have any restrictions. EVen a profession such as surgeons, I mean
something so simple. But if you can't rely on language and do surgery. Does Shelby think
of herself as a deaf person or a hearing person? Yes. I'd like to know that. What is her view
of herself? Do you have any idea of how she views herself with a cochlear implant? She
views herself as a hearing person. Without a doubt. She doesn't know the deaf life at
all. Do you want to go outside to play with Heather. Ask. Want to play? Yes. It seems
that with a cochlear implant she doesn't use sign language. WHy? Don't you allow it? When
Shelby's six or seven. When she comes to you then and wants to sign. Will you tell her
no or will you let her do it? They feel from the professionals that we've spoken to. A
speech therapist, etc. That sometimes the children may use it as a crutch and not be
able to fully develop their speech and language. I know the deaf culture is a very, very important
part of your life. And I guess it's hard for us to understand why you would want to keep
Heather in that world and not broaden her horizons. Oh. We would love Heather to get
involved with both worlds. Deaf people. Hearing people. Everything. But the point of this
for us is that we're worried that the cochlear implant will change her identity. It was reallly
wrong for me to meet her. I felt they were smoothering me. They thought I was stupid.
But I'm just trying to do what's best for my family. Maybe Shelby's family feels ashamed
of her deafness or embarassed. Shelby's going to grow up thinking she was implanted because
it's bad to be deaf. Nita. She's happy in the hearing world. Leave her alone. Why does
she have to have a deaf identity? Because she doesn't even know what her deafness is.
She doesn't even know because her parents didn't even tell her she's deaf. She asked
What is sign language? Mary. What is that? I felt so bad. I was really hurt. She doesn't
sign at all. Not even one word. And she acts like a hearing person. Why is it so important
to be deaf? Yes. Deaf people have beautiful language but you miss out on so many other
beautiful things in the world like music. I don't care about music. I can't hear it.
It's hearing a baby cry for the first time or being outside and hearing the beautiful
rain. You can hear the rain falling on the ground. Mary. You don't understand. Wait a
minute. You are hearing. You can hear. I never hear. For me this is normal. I can see the
beautiful rain. I can taste the rain on my lips. It doesn't matter to me to hear it.
It makes no sense to me. But Nita, you never experience hearing. I know what you're missing.
I thought about everything everyone said to me and I've decided to just disreguard it.
And from now on make the decisions for myself. People have been saying Oh the cochlear implant
is going to make it better for Heather. She'll be able to communicate better. But I think
my husband and I are going to do our best to give her a good education so she'll be
able to have a good life without the implant. Do you know why your father and I decided
the cochlear implant is not a good idea for you? It's because you're still young. You're
only five years old and you've started to understand your deaf culture. You already
have your language. Sign language. Deaf culture? Deaf culture means that there's a group of
deaf people who sign and live together. Hearing people use speech. That's their language in
their culture. You're already involved in deaf culture because your parents are deaf.
And we all sign together. Is it easy to wear the implant and become hearing? No honey it's
not easy. Do you care that you're not getting the implant now? I don't care. I don't care.
You know a little bit. You know deaf sign. Say nice to meet you. Watch. Nice to meet
you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Christopher. Happy
birthday to you. Blow! Make a wish! Yay! Big grandma? I love you. The book on the cochlear?
for the hearing person? Oh. I have it at home. I forgot it. Maybe later I'll go get it. You
know we changed our minds. We don't want a cochlear implant now. We want to wait. She's
already confused. If she had an implant now they're telling me she's not allowed to sign
and she has to speak. We're not ready for that. We decided to put it off and we feel
much better about it. Suppose when she starts to get older and she sees other children with
cochlear and she's saying why don't I have that? Why make her wait and suffer more? You
don't understand. She'll be missing out on deaf life. Forget deaf. You are a mother first
and you are a father first. You do what's right for that child. Heather said to me I'm
not ready to have a cochlear implant. I'm too afraid. I said that's fine. So give her
time. It should not be her decision. You don't talk about this in front of the child because
it's not her decision. It's your decision. Oh right! Come on Ma! Wait a minute. She says
to me Grandma. She says I want to communicate. This is what she said.