As the American medical community continues to “heal” Deafness — by surgically altering Deaf infants at four months of age with cochlear implants — we must begin to wonder what will happen to Deaf schools in America that were founded in the aftermath of the 1960s rubella plague that deafened and/or blinded an entire generation of children.
If medical science is “healing” deafness with implanted machinery with the intention that these “mechanized children” will be “mainstreamble” into Hearing classrooms as they are educated — in fact, cochlear implanted children need Deaf schools more than Hearing schools because their identity as a person has been irrevocably removed via a surgical procedure they didn’t condone or ask for, and Deaf schools are much more accommodating to a disabled child’s language needs than any mainstream edition — and so the mainstreaming of “surgically restored” Deaf-born children into Hearing schools sounds a death knell for Deaf schools.
However, Deaf schools don’t appear to be in danger of closing because of a lack of Deaf children. There is still a pressing community condition that American Deaf schools can help facilitate in the education of the foreign-born Deaf child and the deafened immigrant infant.
American infants have a social safety net that will foot the bill for a $50,000.00USD cochlear implant surgery — while non-nationals seeking the same assistance for their disabled kids, are instead turned away to the Deaf institution for getting help in serving — not “healing!” — the needs of their Deaf kids.
That redirection of intention away from surgery and back to the established Deaf institution for the foreign-born, creates an interesting disparity hanging over the groupthink of what makes a culture a cure and what constitutes the rationale for community values and virtues.
American Deaf infants are stripped of their identity before they are half a year old, while the foreign-born Deaf child is allowed to remain as it was born — in situ and with disability “intact” — and that means the foreign-born Deaf child is actually getting a better, more specific, and less specious, American education than the malformed mechanically “healed” American Deaf infant imprisoned in a mainstream school with no way out.
We must remember it is always in our better interest as a people to do what is best for the child and not what is easiest for the adult.
The American Deaf school preserves the American dream for the immigrant Deaf infant, while the naturally born Deaf American child is socially deformed and educationally marginalized by a medical procedure that damages their ability to be absorbed and understood and heard and valued by a mainstream society that will always shun them for being imperfect and misbegotten.