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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently discovered that our 2 year old dd has a profound hearing loss in one ear and a moderate-severe loss in the other. She is trying so hard to speak and is learning new words everyday. She is even putting a few sentences together. We have chosen to go follow auditory-verbal therapy because she is so verbal. I know that deaf education issues tend to strike up controversy so I write this message with the hopes that others out there will be tolerant of my choice for my daughter as I am tolerant of the choices that others make for their own children. I think that if my daughter had not shown such incredible progress towards speech, I might have chosen another path for her. We are at the very beginning of our journey with her so in time, if oral education proves not to be what is best for her, then we will switch gears to another method.

I have so many questions and worries about everything related to my daughter's hearing loss. She does not like to wear her hearing aid (we have only had it for a couple of weeks) and I do not like to make her do things that she doesn't want to do yet I know she benefits so much from her aid. I had planned to unschool my daughters but wonder how in the world AVT fits into the world of unschooling. I have chosen a pretty non-mainstream path for most things since I have become a parent and now I feel strangely torn between two worlds.

I am just looking for support from other mothers with deaf/HOH kids who understand where I am coming from. Thanks for listening.
 

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Hi Kriste, my oldest has bilateral progressive hearing loss. He is also extremely verbal.

We have decided to do a combination of things. We are all learning ASL. He is attending regular Kindergarten in the AM and the the HOH program inthe PM. Basically because we really want him to have a good grasp of signing in case he loses all of his hearing. We will re-acess regularly (via his IEP, etc).

Kids are amazing, they can learn new things so quickly. I would recommend you teach her signing with language. Signing Time videos are EXCELLENT!! You can learn a lot. Most libraries have them or can get them. Or you can buy them.

Also, check into the school district to get the sevices she will need. Speech, etc. will be very valuable to you, but expensive w/o their help.

You could homeschool, but you really need to find a support sturcture for your child and family. Otherwise you are just reinventing the wheel over and over.
 

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Hi from a Deaf mama. My second dd is also Deaf. We're all native signers. We are obviously looking at Deafness from a different perspective as you are! But I do believe that beyond the language/education choices, we all have something to share with one another.

I feel that it is so critical that a deaf/hoh child has LANGUAGE ACCESS. If auditory/verbal language is accessible for your daughter, that's fabulous! It'll be a useful tool in her life. But be sure to stay aware of her ability to access language. It really wouldn't hurt to start learning sign langugage. If ASL helps your daughter learn language, then you two have more language to draw from as you continue your chosen educational path.

I am a un/homeschooler at heart, and will always believe that true learning happens outside of the classroom. Keeping your deaf/hoh child at home is an excellent option, I believe, as long as you guys are vigilant about supporting her language accessibility. The deaf/hoh child is not able to pick up language, words, ideas, from her environment as naturally as a hearing child. So just stay aware and ensure that she has language accessibility.

I truly think that so many deaf/hoh programs out there are flawed. It is so difficult to bring together deaf/hoh children from all backgrounds, language modalities, and perspectives, and try to educate while providing language access for each child. So unschooling can definitely be a viable option!

I hope I was able to offer some support, without jumping into the ASL/verbal debate!
:
 

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We use ASL. I, too, feel that being able to communicate effectively is more important than speech. My dd is HOH.
Because it is genetic, we use a chiropractor and quit seeing the ENT. The ENT just kept pushing surgery and the risks outweighed the benfits, IMO.
With the chiro. her hearing has improved immensely and she's never had an ear infection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your replies everyone. This is all still so new to us as a family and I know my feelings about my daughter's hearing loss are still very, very raw. We have actually been a "baby signs" signing family for well over 3 years, beginning with our oldest DD. Signing has been wonderful for our family - I just never imagined that we might actually *need* to be a signing family. My youngest dd with the hearing loss did not take to signing like her older, hearing sister and so we didn't sign with her nearly as much. She has about 25 signs or so but has close to 100 words and puts together 4-5 word sentences. It is not that I am opposed to learning ASL and I think we may learn more and more of it as time goes on- it is just that AVT seems to discourage use of signing. We haven't started our AVT yet but will in the next few weeks. I keep hearing about the signing times videos so I will see if our library has them. I am trying hard to listen to my heart about what feels right for our daughter but sometimes worry that I have a hidden aganda that I am not fully aware of yet. That probably makes no sense at all. I just want what is best for her- I am just not sure what that is yet. Actually, I recently read this article and it just has confused me all the more. This article spelled out for me for the very first time exactly what challenges my dd has in store for her in regards to understanding the subtleties of language, missing out on pieces of conversations, etc. It made me want to do whatever it takes to make her a part of my hearing world since where we live, the deaf community is apparently not very connected. But then I struggle with whether or not this is *my* agenda now. Anyway, here is the article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...r=emailarticle
I am going to go ahead and say it even though I know that this is hugel controversial to some, but that article has me considering a CI for her profound ear.

Courtney- Yeah, I am definitely going to see what the public school system has to offer in regards to speech therapy. I am hoping to work out some kind of pull out system when the time comes. For now, we have speech theraoy beginning in a few weeks through an early intervention program. Thanks for sharing your story- it helps to hear what others are doing for their children.

Lou- I very much appreciate your perspective and you have been very helpful. I am very wary of the deaf/hoh program my county has to offer for the very same reasons you mention. I like that you think we all have something to share with one another, no matter what approach we follow. I have been worried that I would get negative responses about choosing an oral approach. I really don't want to limit my daughter in any way and really think that at some point, ASL may become part of our lives too.

Mamaintheboonies- I agree that communication is very important and like I said, if my daughter were not make such huge leaps and bounds in her verbal skills, I would have immediately gone a different route with her. I am trying to expand upon what is a real interest for her. She wants so much to be like her big sister and I think this is what drives her determination to speak. I am curious about the chiro- how does this help your dd's hearing? Just curious. We don't know what caused our dd's loss and I doubt we ever will.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crankpotgirls
Mamaintheboonies- I agree that communication is very important and like I said, if my daughter were not make such huge leaps and bounds in her verbal skills, I would have immediately gone a different route with her. I am trying to expand upon what is a real interest for her. She wants so much to be like her big sister and I think this is what drives her determination to speak. I am curious about the chiro- how does this help your dd's hearing? Just curious. We don't know what caused our dd's loss and I doubt we ever will.
My Sami has 4 older siblings who all sign. When we began our journey, we began as an entire family.
A child wants to communicate and share life, and if the only way available is through speech, then, yes, they will try harder, but that is not always 'fair' or the 'right' way.
The chiropractor does adjustments with her ears, as her tubes are at a 10 degree angle, while they should be at a 45 degree angle. Sami now knows how to do the adjustments herself. It helps the fluid drain, as trapped fluid can become infected and make it harder to hear. Like being underwater.
Also, her left eardrum doesn't work at all, but it might when she is older. I refused the surgery because the risk of scar tissue and the chance that it would never work. Without the surgery and without the fear of infection, there is a much greater chance that her eardrum will work.

Just one thought- there are some vaccines that cause HOH/deafness because they contain neurotoxins that affect the part of the brain used for hearing. Not sure if you vaccinate, but if you do, it might be worth looking into.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crankpotgirls
Actually, I recently read this article and it just has confused me all the more. This article spelled out for me for the very first time exactly what challenges my dd has in store for her in regards to understanding the subtleties of language, missing out on pieces of conversations, etc.
This is exactly why I am an advocate for learning ASL- 100% language accessibility for the deaf child. I am able to have complex, in-depth conversations with ASL. I am able to pick up on all the subleties of language, and provide my Deaf child with incidental language acquistion, as she sees signed language going on around her.

I don't think that you need to listen to what IS AVT and what is not. Listen to your heart, and your child. You CAN sign AND encourage auditory/verbal learning at the same time.

And, remember that the author of that Washington Post article had some hearing when he was born.. and lots and lots of speech therapy, and so the implant worked well for him. The CI does NOT make your child hearing. I don't want you to hold this false hope that a CI would make your child hearing. I've seen many CI'd children. My friend just found out her 2 yo daughter got a defective implant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
This is exactly why I am an advocate for learning ASL- 100% language accessibility for the deaf child. I am able to have complex, in-depth conversations with ASL. I am able to pick up on all the subleties of language, and provide my Deaf child with incidental language acquistion, as she sees signed language going on around her.
I completely understand and respect your views on this- well, as much as a hearing person can anyway. It is part of your world already and it was like second nature to pass your way of communicating on to your child. I am trying to place myself in your shoes, as I would hope you try to place yourself in mine. We live in a small town with apprently not a lot of cohesion in the very small Deaf community here. If my daughter is just signing with her very small family, it feels to me like her world will be so very small. I didn't mean in my post above that ASL does not allow for subtleties in language. I meant that in the places she is most likely to be, which is around hearing and speaking people, she will likley miss out on what is going on around her. I feel like I ruffled feathers when I did not mean to and I apologize. This is why discussing issues concerning Deaf/HOH education is so hard- I think it is easy to be misunderstood. I meant no disrespect. As far as the CI goes, I am aware that it is not a cure-all and that it is an approximation of sound. I know there are risks and I have already begun some pretty intense research.

MamaInTheBoonies- If I feel in any way we are being unfair to my daughter, I will immediately change gears. Speech is not the only way communication is presented in my home, as I explained that we do use some limited signing. I also explained that she never really took to signing like her sister did so I have not emphasized it as much as I might have if she had shown more interest. As far as vaccines go, we are a non-vaccinating family.

Oy. I was wary of posting here but I was hoping to seek out like-minded mothers who are caught in a place where there don't seem to be right answers. I never wanted this to be a debate about which way is the right way. I think I have been misunderstood here. Have to end abruptly here as my dd is pulling me away.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crankpotgirls
We live in a small town with apprently not a lot of cohesion in the very small Deaf community here. If my daughter is just signing with her very small family, it feels to me like her world will be so very small. I didn't mean in my post above that ASL does not allow for subtleties in language. I meant that in the places she is most likely to be, which is around hearing and speaking people, she will likley miss out on what is going on around her.
As a parent who was in your same shoes, I can tell you that was not the case with my dd.
I think you need to stop going by your feelings and look at it from your child's perspective and how to open the most doors for her.
ASL is almost universal, that is why it is so much better than French, Spanish, German languages that are normally taught in schools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I guess there is something here that I am just not getting then. I consider myself to be a very open-minded person and have always followed my intuition when caring for my children (which involves trying to see the world from their perspectives- that is a very intregal part of my personality, I am often frozen in decision making as I carefully consider everyone's feelings). We don't plan to be world travelers anytime soon so whether ASL is an international language or not doesn't seem important right now. I just want my daughter to be able to communicate in a way she is comfortable with and that is my whole goal here.

I am considering having this thread removed as it seems far off course from the guidance I was hoping for.
 

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Mama, I understand you. I'm listening. I have so many friends who are going through similar struggles.

I respect you for taking the time to think about your options thoroughly.

I'm not trying to start a debate. My only suggestion, if you chose to do AVT, was to continue to sign.

I am sure that if you leave this up a bit longer, that you will get input and perspective from other parents who have chose to go with AVT.

(I think MITB's point was that ASL is an universal language- that it is a true, living, breathing language that our children would be able to use in many places and situations)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you, Lou. You have been very kind and I really do appreciate your point of view. And I understand MITB's post better now that you explained it- thanks. I want to understand ALL of these issues related to communication better from ALL perspectives and I want to be totally sure that I am doing what is right for my dd, you know? I do think we will continue to sign, even if just a little for now and we are just going to take this day by day, week by week. Hopefully 6 months from now, I will feel confident in whatever choice we have made regarding my dd's communication. And if not, I am open-minded enough to try something else.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lou
(I think MITB's point was that ASL is an universal language- that it is a true, living, breathing language that our children would be able to use in many places and situations)
: Thank you for clarifying.


crankpotgirls-
Sorry if I came off wrong. Hope you get the support you deserve and are looking for.
 

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Hey, mama


I have two hearing impaired sons. One is moderate and the other moderate-to-severe. So far, their hearing is holding steady. We'll see what the future brings.

I've been a complete slacker on the ASL. I know I want them to learn - dh and I want to learn as well - but we've been waiting until our youngest is of an age where we can take a family course together (he's a very active 3yr old right now). As it turns out, we're now expecting a third child who may also have hearing loss, as theirs appears to be genetic in nature. So we may want to wait until he's around four... who knows? We'll probably go sooner.

Anyway, that aside... I feel ASL is an important language for the hearing impaired to learn. However, when that learning occurs is truly dependent on the parents, the child, the level of loss, whether or not the loss is progressive, etc. I say this only from our family's experience, mind you.

Both our sons are verbally advanced for their ages. Our nine-year-old's vocab is at around a 13-year-old level. Our three-year-old's is at around a six-year-old's level according to those annoying tests they perform at speech therapy. Both our boys have received speech therapy - our youngest goes once a week and our oldest will be starting again in the fall. I don't force them into it, same as I don't force them to wear their hearing aids (exception: when they're outdoors near traffic). I go by their comfort levels.

(ETA: They're in speech for word pronunciation, just in case anyone was wondering)

They're not in any special programs, either. Our son is in a regular school with great teachers and a wonderful, supportive group of friends. Even though his loss was only officially diagnosed at the age of seven, he's at the top of his class academically with nothing but a fairly basic IEP that includes scouting out the best place for him to sit in class and making sure he's heard important instructions.

Our three-year-old will be starting preschool in the fall. As far as I know, he'll be the only child with hearing loss. I'm honestly more worried about him beating the heck out of his classmates than anything else. He's a bit of a bruiser


The point is, every child is different. I feel as though we've followed our instincts well on this one. And, like you, we're very open to other options if things don't continue to go well for our children.

There's a Yahoo email group I belong to called 'Listen Up'. It's for parents with deaf/hearing impaired children and it's been a wealth of information and support for many. If you're not on the list, you may want to check it out


Take care, mama! Keep doing a great job
 

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Our little one is just 6 mos and has had hearing aids for about 3 mos now and we're awaiting our cochlear implant orientation in just a few weeks. (TOTALLY EXCITED)
I must say that AVT is the best choice for our family and the reason for this is because we speak English. ASL, while it is a beautiful language, is not the primary language spoken in our home or within our family. We are also hoping to mainstream our little one into public school and hoping for no accomodations in her IEP.
Your child is significantly older, how are things going??
 
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