Deaf Family Finds Themselves Torn Between Deaf and Hearing Worlds (Part 5)

Uploaded by Paro77777 on 05.12.2009

The path is to hear. That's the path. That's what the world is like outside. Dad I know
what you think about the cochlear implant. I really do but it seems to me like you just
don't trust my judgement. Yeah I don't trust that judgement right now No. At one time you
were going to go for the cochlear implant okay? When Nita went to find out if she could
have it done and found out it may be too late everything went the other way. You changed
your mind. You don't know that. Well she's not doing it is she? Yeah but she made that
decision on her own. She decided that herself. She did Dad. She made her own choice. What?
No I think you're misunderstanding. If I didn't know you I would say you were an abusing parent
because you have an opportunity to take a handicap and correct it. We asked what happened.
She says my Mother told me that it's not good. Do you think I'm lying to you? You are preventing
a cure for deafness to take place because you are so involved with the deaf that you
really want your children to continue to be deaf and in they function in the hearing world
that's fine but they have to be deaf first. That's wrong. Dad I have a deaf family. I
plan to work very hard for them. Wait a minute Dad you think deafness is a handicap but I
don't think deafness is a handicap. That's from my heart. I just can't hear. Look Dad
you've raised me to be my own man. So now I'm being strong for my kids. If my children
grow up to be successful then what will you say? When they grow up? I'll say congratulations.
What happens if they don't? Come on you can't predict the future. I can't. Yeah. You can't
predict the future but you can give your children every opportunity there is which you're not.
You're not giving them all the opportunitys. You are picking for them. Ma I saw two different
families. One deaf and one hearing. The girl from the deaf family didn't speak well even
though she had a lot of speech therapy. Her cochlear implant just didn't work. So what
would happen if we implanted Heather? I understand what you're saying and yes that's possible.
A deaf family may not work. But that's because that deaf family may not be making a full
commitment to give them speech therapy to expose them to as much as they can be exposed
to in the hearing world. If you're not ready to do that then you're right. Then you're
right. Don't give them a cochlear. In my heart Dad I know Heather will be successful. That's
my belief. I think the cochlear implant is a waste for our family. You'd have to use
the term abusive. I find it hard to use that term because they're my children. And they're
good parents. But I can't say they're abusive. They're good parents. But they're fearful.
And I understand they're fearful. But I'm trying to get them beyond this fear. They
have to see these are their children and they are parents first. They have to stop hurting
them and to me they're hurting them. One quarter. Quarter. Heather. Where are you? Come on over
here. What is this? What's this? You're fantastic! Fantastic!! Measuring cup. I love you. I love
you more. I love you more. I love you more! My Mother thinks it's tragic that Heather
can't speak like a hearing person. And I know that some people think that deaf people not
implanting their children is abusive. But you know it's the same thing with hearing
people. They automatically implant their children and they don't know anything at all about
deafness. And I say that's abusive. Shelby is doing amazing with the implant. I was actually
surpised because I didn't know how she would be going into a mainstream class. I mean the
first day I didn't know if she was going to come home crying. The transition was remarkable.
With this soundfield box on her desk and with the teacher wearing a microphone with her
voice amplified Shelby can hear her. You're about to implant your son and when I see him
I'm going to cry. I think you're doing it because you really don't accept his deafness.
You're thinking about your parents and you're afraid. When you look at your parents you
look down on them because they're uneducated and you don't want Peter to be like them.
You don't want your children to be like any of us. No! I accept his deafness. I love my
son! But if Peter can have a normal life why not let him have it? What do you mean normal?
He can be whatever he wants and he'll speak for himself. You want him to be brilliant.
You want him to speak. You're making it sound like you don't want Peter to go to a deaf
school because you think the education is so bad. Nita. Deaf schools stink. I don't
want that for him. Oh. That hurts. Nita. Wait a minute! Wait a minute. Obviously you think
that deaf people are behind. It doesn't seem that way to me not to me. That's not right.
No. No. The average deaf school graduate reads at the fourth grade level. That's it. That's
all. No. Oh no. Not all. I didn't say all. I said most. Oh Gosh. Wait a minute. Wait
a minute. You said.. Oh this really bothers me. I'm not saying most deaf kids are idiots.
No. No. I'm just saying the schools stink. Deaf parents with deaf children know how to
get them a good education. Everybody wants their child to have a good education. But
for you to implant your child at eleven months. Oh no. Why now? Now. Now. Now. He's still
just a baby. You should love your child. Give your heart to your child. And when he gets
older and the time is right then give him an implant. Don't destroy his emotional life.
He's a beautiful natural deaf baby. After talking to Mary I was upset and angry. But
it kind of woke me up. I asked my husband and he said it's true. Some deaf highschools
do turn out students that read at a fourth grade level. I knew there was a deaf community
in Maryland and I've heard the deaf school there is one of the best in the country. Heather
probably wanted the cochlear implant before because she wasn't exposed to the deaf world.
In Maryland there are so many deaf people that she could really get involved with the
deaf community. And that's what we want. Hi there. Who are you? In the cochlear implant
school in Rhode Island, they weren't signing. And Heather felt left out and couldn't get
involved because everyone spoke. She felt alienated. But here at this school she's part
of the group. Heather walked into that classroom with her eyes wide open. She was so excited
when she saw those kids. She jumped right in and got involved. There was no stress on
her to think about her speech. Communication was so natural for her. She didn't have to
think about speaking or hearing. Back on Long Island there is a huge hearing community and
they're in charge and give us orders. But they really don't understand our deaf culture.
I've tried to explain over and over. I just can't imagine continuing doing this while
my children are growing up. I don't want to deal with it. I understand how you feel. The
city of Frederick has brought together deaf Americans. There's America. The big America.
And deaf communities like this one within America. People here are very sensitive to
the deaf comunity because the school has been here for over 130 years. We went to the store
today and I asked where I could find a baby bottle and the sales lady signed back aisle
10! I was so surprised. I was amazed. It's true. Here in Frederick you'll often find
waiters who sign. Bank tellers. Doctors. Nurses. There's a lot of deaf awareness here. I just
feel inspired here. I come here to the deaf world and I feel safe. In the hearing world
I feel locked up in jail. I feel like I'm being held back. Peter and I are the parents
of these three deaf children. And we will do what we think is best. People can't tell
us what to do. They tell us to implant our child. Put our children in oral programs so
they should have speech therapy everyday. We should do this and that because of their
future. I feel like I'm being forced to adhere to their wishes. But you know what? I'm throwing
it all away. We're going to decide what's best for our children. You're moving. You
are limiting your children. You are forcing them.. Mom!! Wait a minute! You are forcing
them to live only in a deaf world. You are.. That's not true! That's not true Mary! You
told me before I don't want my daughter to suffer the same way I did. I would want her
to hear music. I would want her to enjoy life. I did not have that.