Friday, February 19, 2010

Yet More Propaganda

Over the past 3 years in our journey with Christian, I've stumbled upon many different films made by Deaf film makers. They've been a wonderful resource for me as a hearing parent to a deaf child. These films often address cultural issues that I wouldn't be aware of since I am still very much an "outsider". Other times, they address different experiences, such as receiving a Cochlear Implant. One of my favorite films is by Adrean Mangiardi. It explores this young man's experience with his second Cochlear Implant, his very real struggles, and triumphs.
I watched the movie I Sign and I Live today with an open heart, only to watch the film spread more lies and ignorance about Cochlear Implants, hearing parents to deaf children, the safety of Cochlear Implants, and pretty much the Auditory/Oral philosophy.This film depicts Mothers dropping their babies onto a conveyer belt to go into a Cochlear Implant surgery. It goes as far as to blame the death of an implanted Deaf child on her CI thanks to a brain tumor (blamed on the fact that people with Cochlear Implants cannot receive MRIs...which is another lie). I actually gasped outloud when I saw a Mother of a child that I know from our area who has bilateral CIs cast as the "Mean Speech Therapist". I wonder if she really knows what this film is about. This film is just another one of the Anti-CI propganda films out there that is meant to spread lies and scare people.

I understand why there are parts of the Deaf Community that are terrified of the Cochlear Implant. As parents chose to give their child the opportunity to listen and speak with a CI, spoken English often becomes the primary form of communication within the family and for education. Language ties a culture together, and for the Deaf Community, ASL is a strong-tie. What I have a hard time understanding is why do some in the Deaf Community believe that my little boy who has a profound bilateral hearing loss, who carries the gene that is the most common cause of Deafness in the Western World, who CAN'T HEAR A DARN THING WHEN HIS AMPLIFICATION IS OFF isn't Deaf ENOUGH for them. The Cochlear Implant is not a "cure" to his deafness, rather it is a medical device that has helped him access speech sounds. It's not like with one touch of a button in the morning that my son is hearing.

This film was powerful, but for all the wrong reasons. I hope that in the future the film maker will continue to make films that address cultural issues with the Deaf community, but do his research and homework first before spreading lies.


leah said...

It is so sad that the film makers use incorrect information- lie, in fact, so that their opinion seems based in fact. Even though Nolan doesn't have a CI, I don't know if I could watch that film- it would make me angry.

I don't think I've ever met a mean speech therapist. Nolan loves our therapist so much that he yells, "CYNDI" and bounds to the door, so that he can give her a hug before they start "playing." Many times, he sits on her lap and cuddles as they read a book or play therapy games- and he gets upset when she isn't able to come.

Rachel said...

Thank you for speaking up on this subject. I've had lots of issues with this filmmaker too.

PinkLAM said...

I guess some people are so stuck in their ways (and probably fear that their culture could be taken away throught the use of CIs), that you just can't talk logic into them, even with the truth. You make a great point, that if only more people would be accepting of people with CIs, it wouldn't be such a great problem. I love your blog!


AliciaD said...

I thought the same thing when I saw it... the misinformation and over-dramatics made me wince a little.

Deaf children are still Deaf with or without cochlear implants and hearing aids. They can sign, and speak. In fact, I know a lot of kids from MSD and Kendall who have cochlear implants and have very good spoken English as well as being fluent in ASL - as far as I'm concerned it's just another part of being bilingual.

To be fair - there is quite a bit of misinformation coming from some members of all sides. If only people could meet in the middle and realize that it's not impossible for Deaf kids who sign to be successful, it's not impossible for d/Deaf kids who speak to be successful, it's possible for kids to know ASL and have spoken English skills... and so forth.