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.
I’m not sure I understand why a cochlear implanted child would need a deaf school at all if the point of the implant is to give them full hearing as someone who has natural full hearing.
Deaf children should not be implanted. Cochlear implants don’t make them “Hearing” even though that’s the lie sold to the parents by the medical community. The surgery destroys the cochlea in process. Deafness isn’t something that needs to be “fixed” like a leaky heart valve or a brain tumor.
Since these Deaf Children Who Are Implanted are seen as “Hearing” after surgery by their parents and doctors and teachers — even though they are not — they are sent to mainstream schools, and not Deaf schools, where they would learn much quicker and faster if they were left “Deaf” in the first place so their language and culture would remain intact for the acquisition of learning.
The point that immigrant Deaf children who live in the USA are not implanted as much as their American-born brethren — merely due to lack of money and not any sort of honorable, medical, notion — is fascinating because those foreign-born Deaf kids actually get a better American education in a Deaf school, that was made to teach them the way they learn, without them having to struggle with mainstreaming issues that the implanted Deaf have to abide.
Wow, David! I bought the Cochlear lie hook, line, and sinker! I thought it was a ‘fix’ — how sad for the children.
In our ASL books, Gordon, we address the cochlear implant issue in detail:
Well, isn’t that something. The deaf schools we create we make obsolete that is until there’s no money for implanting foreign nationals and they get sent to those schools where they get a better education than the implanted children. Is that right? Am I understanding this?
You understand it, Anne! It’s a strange and sad disgrace. The “foreigner phenomenon” is good for Deaf schools, but pretty awful for American-born Deaf children.