I see Deafhood as a fulfilling life, especially when ideals of the hearing world are not forced upon them. I've seen Deaf people who excel in so many different aspects of life. I've felt a privilege in being associated with them. I've marveled at how well my children have seen Deafhood as a natural part of life and have been influenced by some amazing people.
I understand how Audism can be very evil. When we try to isolate a "deaf" gene to eradicate it and "deafness" where do we stop? Because one group perceives that a variance in humans to be undesirable we choose to eradicate it and where do we stop? Height? Eye Color? Hair Color? SKIN color?
I'll admit that I watched a few of the cochlear implant activation videos. I saw a few commonalities with them.
- Very few if any had exposure to a visual language.
- The feeling of loneliness
- They were perceived as broken
- They are still perceived as "handicapped"
I'd be curious to know how many of these people were made aware of the possible problems before implantation? Headaches, seizure, exaggerated claims, MRI incompatibility, or how about not being able to have your heart restarted? I've met people who have had their implants removed because of these complications. How about 12 children who died in the '80's because the risk outweighs the perceived "quality" of life? Dr. Petitto Discusses this.
I need to mention and pay tribute to a classy lady. This world is not the same without Ellen O'Hara. She was an advocate on the rights of Deaf children and an exceptional educator who was taken from this earthly life too early tragically. Her impact on me was just as life-altering as it was on others. Her life tribute was proof of this as I saw hearing people and Deaf alike gather to honor her name in the hundreds. One remark was that she was that she would have been almost overwhelmed to see so many people gathered just for her. It was through her tender prodding that I delved deeper into this journey. Thank you, Ellen.
My Second Tribute is to Rodney Wilson Walker. He was a man of integrity and a true hero. His love of Sign Language and of his family has blessed the lives of generations. He served others in the community right up until he was taken home in 2006. He too shaped my life with tenderness. I saw in him a compassion unlike any other.