Is this really a choice? AB2072 (captioning in English)

Uploaded by skyxavier on 18.05.2010

I am an ASL literacy consultant from Ontario, Canada. I would like to
explain to those of you who are in favor of "AB 2072" why I believe opposing
"AB 2072" is the correct position.
Here in Ontario, there is a program quite similar to the one
proposed in "AB 2072". That program is under our Ministry of
Children and Youth Services. specifically the Infant Hearing Program.
The IHP has oversight by two people, an audiologist and his/her supervisor.
The protocol for the IHP here is... as soon as a baby is born,
a hearing screening is conducted right there at the hospital. If the baby "fails"
the first screening, he or she is tested a second time. If the second screening
comes up "failed", the baby is referred to a Social Worker, who explains
three options to the parents:
1). Auditory-verbal therapy (Oral Approach)
2). American Sign Language (Visual Approach), and
3). The Dual Approach (combining the Oral and Visual Approaches).
The Social Worker further elaborates on each of these three options and
provides two videotapes with the information for the
parents to review and determine the option they would like to make.
Now, this is flawed. Why?
I have several reasons, which I will go into. First the
family and Social Worker are Hearing. There are no Deaf people involved.
This means that only Hearing people, who have already established their values and
identities as Hearing, and have a connection to spoken and auditory language
involved in this process.
Are the social workers for the families well-versed in Deaf Culture & ASL,
and adequately well-integrated into the Deaf community that
they can present the information equally and balanced?
No, they are not & they are unable to. That is a huge flaw of this system
--their biases as hearing people, and not being equally trained nor
versed in the Visual Option (ASL). Also, because they value their
hearing and spoken abilitiess, they see Deaf babies as being deficient
instead of being positive or truly "neutral".
The second issue is when parents decide to choose the Oral/AVT approach,
they are privileged to access an immensely huge amount of services and resources.
However, should the parents choose the Visual/ASL approach,
the services and resources for that is extremely limited due to the small amount
of funding. In fact, ASL literacy consultants earn up to $2,000 a year per family,
while the speech therapists & audiologists are paid a salary of
$45,000 to $75,000
and are equipped to provide a broad range of services.
ASL literacy consultants are hard-pressed to provide equal or
adequate services to the parents.
Is that truly equivalency of choice?
Are the parents provided with equal and balanced intervention based on
the option they pick? No.
Furthermore, should the parents choose the Dual approach,
desiring to do both, ASL & adding the Oral/AVT if the child has the capacity for it;
while they are provided with a limited range of services & resources
under the Visual/ASL approach.
The parents will be easily led to favor the Oral/AVT approach,
as a result. Of course, they want the best for their children!
When they see there are limited resources under one option, they will gravitate toward
the option that offers most services & resources. Is that a real choice? honestly?
Now the parents who chooose the Dual Approach, who say they want to do both,
to use ASL and sign with their child while also providing speech training, so their
child might have the skill to speak, that's fine. When parents pick
this approach, it is typical to find the medical or audiological professionals
would encourage parents not to use sign language as signing would slow
down the child's speech progress.
This tactic is so prevalent & constantly used in spite of the intention
of balancing both choices.
This means that ASL does not get proper respect from these professionals.
They do not respect ASL as a language.
A truly real choice?
The third issue has to do with the supposedly well-done presentation
of information on all three options, intentional biases are apparent.
For example, the parents would watch -
Notice that the first video is about AVT
and the second video is about ASL?
Naturally, the first one would have more impact on the parents.
Since ASL is presented secondly, it would be easily perceived as less important,
while AVT would be interpreted as the better choice.
If the videos were not numbered, they will be seen as options that are equal in status.
Now, I'd like to discuss another point. The Infant Hearing Program
already has a policy established that when parents choose the
Dual Approach, after the child grows older into the school-age years,
the parents must then choose one of the two main approaches (Oral or Visual).
There is no allowance for utilizing both services at that point.
Do public schools use ASL? No. This means parents are stuck and
forced to go through the Oral Approach.
If they choose the Visual/ASL Approach,
their child must be flown to a school for the Deaf. From here in Thunder Bay,
it is about a 20 hour drive to the nearest school for the Deaf.
An airplane flight is an hour & half. Most parents find it hard to
let their children go away to school, and I understand that.
This means that we are responsible for establishing ASL school programs.
And again, the government does not provide adequate funding for this.
So is that a real choice?
I would like to describe a real life example that parallels
with the situation about determining the options for Deaf children.
Personally, I have two hearing children who are Aboriginal;
Even though they do not appear Aboriginal in appearance,
they are still and will always be Aboriginal; which comes from their father's lineage.
As their parent, I have an ongoing responsibility of immersing
my children in the Aboriginal culture and traditions
regardless of my limited resources as a White person.
As a part of my commitment, I share my children with their
paternal grandparents, aunts, and uncles for them to get their
Aboriginal education at the reservation. There, they have
opportunities for socialization with their peers. They participate
in pow wows wearing beautiful pow wow regalia made by their aunt.
My children are very involved with Aboriginal ways.
Yes, they are my children, but they are their people too.
It is my duty to raise my children with a good foundation,
yet at the same time, provide them with opportunities to identify
themselves as Aboriginal. One day my children would eventually
see themselves as more Aboriginal than White.
My utmost goal is for them to grow up confident & proud for who they are.
I absolutely know that hearing parents do share the same sentiments for their Deaf children as I do for my children.
Unfortunately, there is too much restrictions on information & funding for a healthy cross-cultural, cross-linguistic support for those parents.
So, with all of this, please, those who still support of "AB 2072"
Wake up to these realities.