Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Last Hiccup: Last bastion of Don Quixote ?

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More irrational rants from this american blogger who failed to read the article  they commented on, but saw another opening to attack the medical profession and exploit deaf martyrdom again.  If you aren't made aware of speech how on earth do you acquire it...

The factual story (First published on ATR), covered the view singular signing approaches at deaf children led to later difficulties in acquiring speech, this is hardly a revelation, more a statement of the reality, albeit a gift to deaf zealots of the ASL/BSL signing fraternity, given the 'Deaf' community insists the difficulty in speaking and reliance on sign pretty much endorses the Texas view anyway.  Not only denigrating speech, but suggesting speech is oralism too (!) and text and grammar, these deaf are creating own and more barriers not bringing them down. Technology and medical advance is too far ahead of them.

There is another aspect this last hiccup person ignores, (probably because of ignorance, more than experience), in that those who go deaf during or after formative years and hearing, displayed marked reduction in voice usage on acquiring sign, even as adults.   As one of these people myself, it was my family who first noted that when I started to learn some sign language, my voice had deteriorated, in quality, and with overall use with others.  I was becoming withdrawn and unable to converse with hearing people.

I explained this to my GP who clearly identified not my deafness, but the sign was creating the issue because speech was being actively discouraged whilst I was in a hearing world still. I was faced with real difficult choices, to  stop learning sign immediately and lose my voice, or, to sign ONLY when using my voice, the reality was somewhere between the two with considerable uncertainty because social issues existed.

Initially using sign with hearing people was an immediate no-no, mainly because no-one I met on the street knew it, it would be pointless to do that.  It was a reality, choice did not enter into it.  The other issue was social in nature, we all know including those in the BSL/ASL areas, that to maximise any sign use you need to be in that signing environment, having bit that particular bullet, I then found it impossible to do in any real sense, because the signing deaf in their clubs kept asking me to sign and not to speak because they struggled to lip-read, or were totally sign dependent. Even those who did lip-read did not want speech in the clubs and 'deaf spaces'.  There was and is, active discouragement to talk.  I was forced out as a result there was no middle way.

That leaves people like us in a very challenging situation, and with an impossible choice.  There was no 50-50 option. The deal breaker was the birth of my son, a hearing child, it would have been criminal for me not to use my voice to encourage his, so sign took less precedence, and speech overruled the signing approach.  The deaf social area was a no-no for many years too, my child was autistic and I risked serious problems with the system if any sign I used encouraged less speech attainment in him, communication was his issue too but in a different way. There can be few deaf parents having to address communication approaches the same way as we had to.  3 different forms of communication in 24/7 operation and I had to bridge them all. My life when my son was born, reverted to hearing despite me having none.  if you cannot understand then no point explaining.

It came with benefits to me as a deaf person, in that it forced me to use my voice all the time and improved my confidence and interaction with mainstream that deafness had isolated me from. My voice was my 'passport' to normality and access. Had I pursued the 'Deaf' way I would be far more isolated.  I was determined to escape it people relied on me..  The reality was I was in no other position of choice. There was no way I was going to let my son see I was reliant on others, be they interpreters or whatever.  I was forced by default to lip-read or text to the max.  All had to be signing alternatives.

My English/Grammar improved in leaps and bounds.  CI's would be of little use if, the implanted were not also able to mimic sounds and acquire some speech too, nor would hearing aids, I am sure this would make Last Hiccup happy to see hearing aids, CI's and speech consigned to the bin, but he or she is on the fringes on realism and apparently quite able to see others go without the support they need to bolster his/her minuscule and myopic view of the hearing loss world and the hearing one...  

If you can use your speech no matter how little it is, you have huge advantages over those who just sign, have better options to work and to sustain that, that is fact not an attack. Whilst we can never fully 'fit in' with the hearing or Deaf communities, we can still acquire skills often superior to either and able to bridge issues we would not have before. Necessity was the mother of inventions.

By far the biggest problem were communication classes, both BSL and Lip-reading ones.  I don't mention deaf studies or cultural classes because neither address hearing loss and appear to be trying to redefine it, they don't address the issue. I dropped out of BSL classes because they kept asking me to play dumb (As in no speech usage), all the time, that is, not to speak when signing, because this confuses or 'upsets' deaf people, I said I was deaf too, and what about those who had hearing aids ? they rely on speech, or the deaf lip-reader ?  Last Hiccup ignores these things because their world and outlook  is too small to understand. Obsessed with the letter 'D' they struggle to learn the rest of the alphabet.

They can respond with many links to cultural and signing areas it won't explain their biased and warped version of it all. There seemed no awareness at these BSL classes at all, and deafened like myself gave them up as  bad job, or failed to sustain the tuition, and left it to hearing students instead. There was considerable bias with the teachers too, and it was job more than it was a vocation, patronising to deaf in part even those that did sign.

Lip-reading classes were worse, they encouraged that too, and insisted no signing was used as others would think you couldn't communicate any other way.  Their reality is 'There are no deaf signers outside your door, why bother ? You can't be a born again Deaf person..'  I've no time for a 'dumb' culture, or acting like it to fit some weird idea of what a deaf community actually is.  Which isn't a culture of extremes and governed by decibel and mode. We even had professional welfare support system advising deafened people to pretend they could not speak, to facilitate better support options, as 'that is what 'Deaf'' do ! Not deaf wannabees, but near as dammit, but with the added kudos, as you really were deaf too !

As for the A G Bell thing this is beyond childish and keeps deaf with a cause celeb that is all, first this man is supposed to have denigrated sign, Boo ! cruel hearing people go Deaf PEOPLE! now deaf denigrate him, yay ! go sign language and culture !! this is progress USA style, harking back to the past, to 1881 and even beyond that to justify aspects of support in the 21stc.  Last Hiccup and Co need their martyrs, and when they haven't got enough, create more themselves.  They are going to reverse all that went before and do the same as Bell was supposed to have done, attacked choice, and approaches, and impose their own... The logic escapes most.

Not so long ago Last Hiccup suggested ATR was refusing to embrace his deafhood, this was an example of one deaf person openly patronising another.  Yet half USA deaf have no idea at all what it is, because the USA re-created their own version, and binned Paddy Ladd's opus and view, then found they hadn't the means to refer back to the original or understand it. It was sponsored plagiarism and a money making venture.  It was actually ATR at the time unravelling the obscure terminology and breaking it down for followers to make sense of it, I should not have wasted my time as the whole thing was pointless and biased anyway.  There were no signs to explain deafhood.  They run classes to unravel it, the emperor's new clothes.  They are terrified they will just be seen as naked.

While these  'Deaf' zealots exist they it will create more and more problems for choice, and for fellow deaf people. You can lead deaf people to the cultural oasis of water, but you cannot force them to drink from it.  Encouraging a more outgoing form of inclusion is going to enhance deaf far more than fencing them in to some narrow-focused and silent area instead. The 'Deaf' world is NOT enough.  It just looks bigger because of the net.

For every deaf signer that contributes there are 3 times that many deaf who don't sign at all, and 20 times that number with severe loss, just who does Last Hiccup think he or she is ?

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