In our lives, we support American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. It is a beautiful language and a beautiful culture and it is a language and culture worth preserving. Yet, there is a battle that has existed since...well I guess since forever. The battle of allowing Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate in the way that seems to come naturally for them, or trying to "fix" them to talk and hear like other hearing people. I think that for most people who have this need to "fix" this problem, the intent is good... they are just wanting to "help". But the truth is, for many people. they don't want to be "fixed". This would imply that something is wrong with them, and most Deaf and Hard of Hearing people do not see themselves as broken or in need of fixing.
What is so wrong with being deaf?
That hasn't stopped people for centuries to try to come up with a cure to deafness. Look at the telephone! That incredible invention that has changed our world and evolved into tiny computer smart phones that I can barely even figure out how to answer. Alexander Graham Bell was not trying to revolutionize how hearing people communicate, he was looking for a cure to deafness.
Technological devices continue to evolve in the hopes of "curing" deafness, but even in 2012, there is no cure. Cochlear implants have been touted as such, but it is a slippery slope sometimes. Within the medical and Deaf community it is an extremely controversial issue. It will be a topic that I will probably discuss again over time, but I ran across this essay from a parent of a Deaf child and I was so compelled that I knew I had to share it.
Her writing is honest, poignant and compelling. I wish that all parents of deaf or hard of hearing children would read this and continue to reread it as they navigate the challenges of raising a deaf or hard of hearing child. Please check out her essay here.