AB 2072: Parental Anger and Deafhood Redux

I present two scenarios here:

(1.) The Deaf parents of a deaf infant recently screened for hearing loss have been told by the state that they must have their deaf child undergo surgery for a cochlear implant at 6 months and employ only speech therapy  in English for the child’s language development, no other options are allowed.  How would the Deaf parents feel upon learning that they have no choice on how to raise and communicate with their child?  Of course, resentment and anger.

(2.)  The hearing parents of a deaf infant recently screened for hearing loss have been told by the state that they must implement ASL only to begin the child’s language development.   How would the hearing parents feel upon learning that they have no choice on how to raise and communicate with their child?  Of course, resentment and anger.

The second scenario has already happened in the state of California.

“I am appalled that “the Deaf Culture”, CDE [California Dept. of Education], Cal Ed, Impact, GLAD and others would feel that it is OK to choose what option is best for MY child.”  This was a comment left by Dr. Elise Roche under the Orange Juice blog article, “Sign language lobby wants to limit educational choice for parents of deaf kids”.

Another comment by Wesley Anzai under the same article asked, “Why would reps from LACOE [Los Angeles Dept. of Education] lie to me? Why wouldn’t they tell me of options as I asked?”

That reads like a lot of resentment and anger.

The California Department of Education (read: state agency) has been refusing to tell parents they have other options besides sign language.

What happened here?  A vlog called “Californians, oppose AB 2072” by Ella Mae Lentz will give readers a clue.   Ella Lentz is a board member of the Deafhood Foundation, a core member of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC), a retired California deaf educator,  a Deafhood seminar instructor and self-proclaimed “Deaf Expert”.

Ella claims that “a deaf consumer group”, along with hearing parents and hearing allies, have been discussing with a senator about reform of the  California NHSP (Newborn Hearing Screening Program), under the California Dept. of Health Care Services (DHCS).  Quoting from her vlog captioning: “We want the new system to only identify deaf infants early on, only that, and to not to include providing info and referral.  Where there is detection, the state should then implement an educational plan for the infant and family.  So the infant can get an early start on language acquisition. This will include ASL, which allows for natural language proficiency that would enable well-rounded development and provide a foundation for a diversity of other competencies.  This would include speech therapy and listening and other language options.”

Ella then concludes in her vlog, “Options is not the solution! Optimal language acquisition is!”.

That “optimal language” is ASL, and ASL first.

The “optimal language” agenda which the Deafhood Foundation, along with its associated “Deaf-centric” organizations, DBC, CAD, DCARA, NorCal, AFA, etcetera, have been pushing on the EHDI (the National Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program) and on the California Newborn Hearing Screening Program has become apparent in the state of California via its Dept. of Education.

To many parents of deaf kids in California, that’s holding a figurative gun to their heads– they’re reading it as NO choice.  There have already been lawsuits by the parents against the state’s Dept. of Education to fight such a program, and there may be more.

The AB 2072 bill by California Assemblyman Tony Mendoza being submitted on April 20th to the State Assembly’s Health Committee is a reflection of those parents’ resentment and anger at having no choices. This “ASL-first, then other options later” dogma hits at the fundamental concept of the family unit (parents and child) and it is the state making the decisions of a deaf child’s education instead.  We only have to point to state and federal interventions that have  had disastrous results.

The revised version of the bill clearly states:

 SECTION 1.  Section 124121 is added to the Health and Safety Code,
to read:
   124121.  (a) Parents of all newborns and infants diagnosed with a
hearing loss shall also be provided written  or electronic 
information on  all   American Sign Language
(ASL), Total Communication, Cued Speech, and Listening and Spoken
Language  communication options for children with hearing loss,
including, but not limited to, information about deaf and
hard-of-hearing organizations, agencies and early intervention
centers, and educational programs.

Read that carefully, folks.  “Written or electronic information on American Sign Language (ASL), Total Communication, Cued Speech, and Listening and Spoken Language communication options…”.  This bill will provide a range of choices and this is what California parents are advocating for.

The other part of the bill concerning audiologists as being the presenters of this information have been another sticking point in Ella’s vlog.  She maintains that audies are paid by groups vested in oral communication and that they don’t have any knowledge of ASL or Deaf culture.  She considers this “devious”.  No more devious than her “optimal language” agenda?

The revised bill  mentions that:

 (1) By an audiologist or other related professional at a followup
appointment after diagnosis with a hearing loss.
   (2) By the Early Start Program, provided for pursuant to the
California Early Intervention Services Act (Title 14 (commencing with
Section 95000) of the Government Code)  when a newborn and
infant enters the program and when the newborn and infant is referred
to the program by a state agency.   upon initial
contact with the parents of a newborn or infant newly diagnosed with
a hearing loss. 

Read that again.  “By an audiologist or related professional” and “By the Early Start Program”.  Audies only? No, related professional and Early Start Program staff can also provide this information.

Furthermore, deaf children belong to their parents, hearing or D/deaf, first and foremost.  They are not experiments for the self-proclaimed Deaf Experts to practice their ideology of Deafhood.

Last of all, consider the backlash of drawing such lines against the parents will create in the deaf community… an unfavorable image and the demise of ASL taking on an even faster slope.

Be careful what you wish for.

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64 Responses to “AB 2072: Parental Anger and Deafhood Redux”

  1. White Ghost Says:

    I watched The Holism’s vlog, “AB 2072 is an opportunity.” He mentioned that the deaf-centric organizations, DBC-AFA, NAD, NORCAL and others are selfish. I agree.

    They should be grateful that the State of California *DOES NOT* recognize the optimal of the CIs as you presented #1 scenario.

    Wow. What are the NAD boards thinking? Reasonable Equality. I don’t think they recognize that, either.

    I am sure that many hearing parents will agree with you, Ann_C. and will feel outraged *IF* it happens.

  2. Sue Says:

    How would you feel if a “special interest group” was able to create, print, pay for, and disburse their information without any oversight? Would you want this to happen?

    Read the bill…that is exactly what this bill will allow. Yes they can add token info about all “communication options” but if a special interest group gets their shot at this, I can bet you the majority of the content will be geared towards their preferred option.

    Rather than allowing any Tom, Dick and Harry organization to create material at “no cost to the state”, why not make sure that the information that is created is done so with the input of all Stakeholders and approved through the early intervention state program.

  3. Joseph Pietro Riolo Says:

    Very good blog post.

    I was completely flabbergasted by the completely illogic reasoning that the opponents used to oppose the bill. Exactly what is so wrong with the original phrase of “all communication options”? You are right that if an option does not involve ASL even in the slightest, these opponents will not consider it as an option. For them, it is either “ASL plus something else” or none at all.

    The latest revision is worse than the original draft because enumerating options is always inferior to the universal quantifier “all”. Now, the latest revision does not mention bilingualism, the written English language, SimCom, bimodal communication, SEE (Signing Exact English), PSE (Pidgin Sign English), fingerspelling, MCE (Manually Coded English) systems and any other English-based signing systems. Don’t the parents of their deaf children have the right to know about these options as well?

    You are right about the danger of backlash. If these people attempt to require parents to incorporate ASL in raising their deaf children, it is not hard to predict that the other people will turn the tables and require the parents to incorporate the latest technologies for hearing such as cochlear implant. After all, cochlear implant, for example, can help bilingualism for some deaf children. But, we don’t want their grubby fingers touch our children.

    Some people just do not learn how to mind their own business or how to live and let live.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  4. Sue Says:

    Of course parents have a right to full and accurate information but it should be developed by All Stakeholders. Parent choice should be based on educated decisions from well-developed information about how Deaf children acquire fluency in “language”. Fluency is the key word here. Without fluency in language, all else will suffer.

    There are communication options…if you look at them, you will see that it boils down to:
    ASL/English Bilingualism (which includes written and spoken language if the child has that potential and desire to speak)
    Oral Only

    The other options such as Signed English, SEE, PSE, MCE are all “non-languages” developed as systems to teach spoken and written English. These systems incorporate signing and talking at the same time. These systems have been used for a long time now and have not improved the language and literacy skills of Deaf children. Hence the need to focus on real languages that can be naturally acquired through the child’s strongest sense.

    Parents have a right to know what are real languages and what are not. It would save a lot of time and agony shuffling from one option to another until it is too late and the process has failed the child.

  5. kim Says:

    I do think parents of deaf children need lots more support than they get, especially in the beginning. Each state should have an agency that works with the families of all deaf people (young and old) to help each maximize their own individualized potentials. Clearly a one-size-fits-all approach will never work. We are too diverse as a community.

  6. Candy Says:

    Ann_C, Excellent post! Exactly as how I came to the conclusion as well.

    JPR, I want to modify something you said here, if you’ll allow me to.

    You said “For them, it is either “ASL plus something else” or none at all.”

    How I saw Ella described her dream plan was: “for them it is ASL first and foremost. After the kids have excelled their ASL skills, then parents are free to add in any other options to their desire.”

    It is clear that “all communication options” is not in their plan. It wasn’t ASL plus something else. It was ASL NOW, and then after one is fluent (this could be anywhere from 5yrs old or later), then they can add in anything they so wish. By then, they would have succeeded in their plan to destroy what they hated the most, deaf people who can listen and speak, and value English. Nevermind that they claim that they also support English via bi-bi education.

    So, JPR, I concur that “all communication options” covers a lot more.

    Additionally, there has been no proof that ASL is the natural language of the deaf.

    deafhoodom is quite scary, I’d dare say.

  7. theHolism Says:

    Well written! Now we’re beginning to see deafhood for what they really are. It won’t be long before they’re going to ruin it for the ASL community.

    Worse yet, they’ve been less than honest about the language of the bill with the ASL community! I mean, what kind of leaders do that?

    Ella, the self-proclaimed deaf expert has proved to be very ineffective where ever she goes. Ineffective because she really believe that she’s helping ASL community but in essence she’s destroying it. She told me once that she no longer has any patience with hearing people because she was getting old and did not have the luxury of time to wait for results she have long waited for. And she’s been behaving that way since.

    I saw this coming two years ago when I got deep enough with DBC while I was there. In my head Ella clearly laid out a personal goal in front of us and made it clear that it was going to happen, her way and nobody else. While the rest of DBC followers cheered behind her I saw a destructive path ahead of us and knew it was not going to be pretty. Needless to say why I raised hell the way I did it, creating 20 plus vlogs on DBC and some on AFA. The deafhood people cried and cried before they finally found a term to use. Audism! They sang it loud and often enough by flooding Tayler with emails complaining about me.

    End result? I received a warning from Tayler saying he thought I’ve said enough about them. I was accused of stalking these organizations. What organization? They were not legal organizations but I took it like a man. Accepted the warning. In essence, they literally tied my hands on DBC and AFA but it did not stop me from discussing the core issues. Once Ella and her deafhood folks realized that it did not prevent me from discussing the contents they got mad and walked out of DVTV, calling it AudismVideo.tv. Such behavior was noticed by everybody that followed the events. Pretty soon everybody started to figure them for who they really were.

    I find myself sitting here tonight reading your well written blog and wanted to express my gratitude. As far as I’m concerned, the battle was well worth it.

    Ella, if you happen to read this… please know you blew it just like I said you would. You just would not listen.

  8. Joseph Pietro Riolo Says:

    To Candy, Thanks for pointing out the subtle difference! What you wrote is a lot more accurate than what I described. I am withdrawing my statement on the ASL-plus-something-else option, your honor. 🙂 It is the ASL-first-and-optionally-others-may-follow option that the opponents of the bill want to impose on the parents of the deaf children.

    Deafhood sometimes borders on fanaticism, at least for me, and that really is scary, as you said.

    To Sue, The hard reality is that too many parents who choose ASL for their deaf children will never be able to become fluent in ASL. This is a fact that some or many ASL proponents do not want to disclose. (Just to be fair to them, some oralism proponents also do not always want to disclose the fact that oralism may not work for many deaf children.)

    Rather than forcing them to learn ASL that they may never master in their life, they should know that other signing systems can work well for them. I agree with your point that they should be fully informed that the English-based signing systems are not recognized by the linguists as a real language. But, just because it is not a real language does not necessarily mean that it does not work for some parents. Some deaf children are amazingly adaptive and can do well with the English-based signing systems. I did not grow up in the ASL environment. In fact, the ASL proponents would claim that I grew up in the broken English environment. They might be correct but that did not stop me from improving my literacy skills. I am fully aware that what worked for me does not necessarily mean that it also works for other deaf children. One-size-fits-all approach, as stated by kim, is a utterly complete failure. ASL is not a magical language that will solve all problems. It is not a holy language that comes from the heaven. Parents of deaf children should know that.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  9. White Ghost Says:

    Candy/JPR/Kim/Ann_C.

    One-size-fits-all approach don’t always work. Never will.

    I watched ASLElla’s latest vlog, “AB 2072 Respects ASL? No!” She learned that the AB 2072’s sponsor, “California Coalition” worked together to propose and ensure the communication options be recognized and legalized in the legislative bill. We are should be grateful that the modes of communication are now recognized, not just for the ASL only.

    She seems upset and angry because no one in California Coalition did not reach out to the deaf-centric organizations, NORCAL, DBC-AFA’s state chapter, etc.

    Bad Creditability? Who knows? Perhaps. So many revelations at Orange Juice, Orange County blog.

  10. DeafA Says:

    Or maybe they just want to stress to parents how important ASL is. Does it mean they want to force ASL? no, but their child might be behind.

  11. Karen Mayes Says:

    Hm.

    I don’t know what to say. I’d rather just address to your blog posting… it is very well written and makes a lot of sense.

    In Indiana, where we lived before we moved back to Rochester NY last month, when the babies or children are diagnosed having hearing loss, the information is sent to Indiana’s Department of Health… yeah, by the audiologists, normally the first contacts, I know. Then the Dept. of Health contacts Hands and Voices organization which then sends the Parent Guide to the parents/guardians to present the options for them to contact the certain organizations/schools, whathaveya. Hands and Voices organization stresses on neutrality, which is tough, because parents/guardians normally want to have ANSWERS on what will work best. AND, of course, Indiana School for the Deaf is involved with Hands and Voices, working with it, as St. Joseph, etc.

    It’s tough. Of course, the organizations sell their products, so everyone ends up with more choices. Not easy for parents/guardians who want the best for their newly diagnosed child/children.

  12. Ann_C Says:

    JPR,

    I agree with you that the original wording of “all” communication options is a better, more universal and inclusive term that can cover everything under the sun.

    However, the legislators may have been bending over backwards to include ASL (note that it is the very first option listed of the several options specified) so as to not ignore the deaf community’s requests for this option to be included as well. I believe that they were sensitive to the reaction of the deaf community about what “all” communication options used to mean to them (oral options only).

    If the bill passes into law, it will mean that any hearing loss professional or Early Start Program official cannot withhold information regarding any of these options from the parents without legal ramifications. The bill is an attempt to address the problem of information being omitted which has happened with California’s Dept. of Education.

  13. theHolism Says:

    I agree with Ann_C’s latest comment.

    Furthermore, the more we want to push in how the language is written and structured the more we’ll expose everything. Want to expose ASL in the bill’s language then surely the rest of the options will be exposed as well, with equal footings. In short, it’s win-win for everybody but it’s becoming ridiculously silly to think that we’re going to be able to push for a language that would favor our language over other options. Just not going to happen.

    The people in charge of writing bills are linguists. They are not stupid. They know what deaf centrics are trying to accomplish. The people that write the bills are just playing along just to prove that they are sensitive to everybody’s needs. In the end, the bill won’t be any better than the original one. Just a lot more words throw in but the bottom line will remain the same. It’ll mean exactly the same thing. All Communication Options.

  14. Sheri A. Farinha Says:

    Ann C, Candy, and Karen…First of all, none of the folks commenting here criticizng us in CA are residents of this state. I am really disappointed that if you did not understand fully why we are opposed to the bill, that you did not contact me directly to ask for clarification. Riding on Barry’s hatred for Ella, deafhood, and whoever else is like a Bull charging in a china shop. Barry is one thing, but you three? Come on! You are far more intelligent than that to assume we are against deaf learning to speak and listen. That is not the issue at all.

    I am sorry to say, you have this “communication options” issue completely wrong. How sad it is, to see someone publicly try to destroy an honest unified effort to maximize all opportunities. I am so disgusted with this blog and others. Those who know me, know I am a fair person, and work with all stakeholders. That is the point you all have missed. This bill was not written by a linguist. This bill was not written involving all stake holders. There is so much you have missed with this and you know what? When you are ready to listen and really understand the reasons for the opposition. I am willing to share. But right now, all i see is ppl’s hatred towards a specific group which is preventing you from seeing the realistic aspect of our opposition. Where is the benefit of doubt? You are helping the other side with your assumptions. Later, when this has calmed down, I can honestly say, you are going to be really embarassed that you did not bother to check with the right people, because from what I thought I knew and loved about you three, you would have been really proud and more likely even helped us.

    There are over 80+ organizations involved working on reforming CA Newborn Hearing Screening Programs to support parents, working with many stakeholders to develop new legislative proposals that of course focuses on early language acqusition of ASL and English – to maximize all opportunities. ALL of us, oppose AB2072.

    Had you given us the benefit of doubt, you would be really proud of what we are doing in California. Stop seeing this opposition as “asl only”. That is so far off target.

    Why bother explaining more…seems to me you only see barry’s hatred the “red” and jump to conclusions.

    If there was ever a time where the community came together from diff walks of life, to work on developing a good plan, united as one, as people often stated in the past on different blogs/vlogs – this time has come, and that is what we are doing in CA. United. I’m really proud of the group.

    You have my email, if you want to dialouge further, contact me directly.

  15. Ann_C Says:

    I’ve had a busy weekend, visitors from out-of-town, etc and haven’t had time to acknowledge all the commenters so far. I do want to thank those of you who sent appreciation of what I’ve written and welcome constructive criticism from both the deaf community and parents of deaf children.

    Barry, thanks for your remarks. To be sure, the lawmakers are linguists indeed– some of them are lawyers themselves and are very familiar with legal terms’ impact on the public. I’m sure that if this bill passes Health Committee approval and as it winds its way through the legislative process, more language will get piled on. Count on it, since that’s why the public needs to keep informed and stay abreast of the legislation of bills that matter a great deal to taxpayers. We’re the ones who benefit or not from the enactment of laws.

    Karen, I know that more options make it tougher for parents to decide which one(s) to go with, but at least they have choices to pick from and not forced to deal with one option only, especially if it’s one they feel doesn’t fit their deaf child’s path. You have yourself mentioned that you’ve observed your children’s progress in language development and tuned their IEP’s to follow each child’s inclination for a certain communication mode or language. That is what I’d call optimal involvement of both parent and deaf child, without the state calling all the shots.

    Sue, I understand your suggestion about the information material needs to be written fairly and without bias, with input from all stakeholders. Wish that can happen but I don’t have to remind you that all options are biased in some way, including ASL. All studies or research are biased. It is ultimately up to the parents to decide which option or options they feel will fit their deaf child and family circumstances. It should not be any one “special interest” influencing state mandates on deaf education.

  16. Candy Says:

    Sheri, I wished you had explain exactly why you support that bill. Barry’s view has no bearing on me. Like you said, I’m intelligent enough to do my own homework, I reach my conclusion based on what I know. I acknowledge that there are no deaf-centric stakeholders involved with this bill. However, to understand how that bill came to be, the lack of deaf-centric stakeholders explains it well. Had the state of California provided all communication options to parents, we would not have seen the birth of AB2072. Ella’s stance that ASL optimization has to occur first before any options are considered. That is the part that I totally disagree. I’m for choice at the very onset. While it would be nice if deaf-centric interests are involved, we know why they were not asked. We now see that the bill has been amended to include ASL as one of the communication options, why is that not okay with the opponents? As far as why the interest in that bill considering the fact that I do not live in California. The answer would be that, one state’s bill could have adverse effect on another states future bill, if any. Look at WI hearing aid bill, for example. Other states look to WI as an example in improving hearing aid coverage in their state. Let’s leave personal bias out of this, I agree, I’m not cool with all this personal character assassination. Not comfortable with it. Whatever your views are, it does not change my respect for you because I know you’re an intelligent person as well and not only that, you’re someone I could see myself shooting the breeze with.

  17. Karen Mayes Says:

    Sheri,

    I was only explaining my knowledge of how Indiana’s department of health took care of the diagnosed Deaf babies/children, nothing more. I was NOT criticizing anyone NOR targeting anyone… My husband received the training as a Parent Guide, so I was only sharing what I knew as a formerly resident of Indiana.

    That’s all.

    Peace out.

  18. White Ghost Says:

    Sheri —

    That’s something I don’t really understand WHY the California Assoc. for the Deaf decided to add the “Deafhood” into the by-laws. That’s *NOT* normal procedure. You need to do homework and read other organizations’ by-laws, and then, prove it to me if I’m wrong. I am pretty sure that NO ONE in the State of California understands the “Deafhood” in the bylaws.

    It’s like CAD people rejects any people who neither agree nor understand the word, “Deafhood.” It’s like “its for the deaf people ONLY.” It’s analogy to the “white and colored only” saga in 1930’s. That’s not what Martin Luther King would have wanted the word, “Blackhood” into the by-laws.

    I am sure many people will feel uncomfortable with the CAD’s by-laws. It’s in the record in the internet, so, it’s the record. History. People know it. Yet, they still don’t understand by the word, “Deafhood” in the by-laws.

    The reason why they were not asked because of this? You never know. Who knows?

    Again, Sheri, we are entitled to express our views. Like it or not, so be it.

  19. theHolism Says:

    Sheri,

    I meant no disrespect but your message above was nothing more than prodding. You did not even begin to offer an explanation on why you are against the bill. So what made you think people are going to ask you the question in private if you could not explain it in public?

    Our fault because we did not ask you? Well, for your information I’ve never heard of you up until now. Whatever gave you the notion that you’re a well known figure? To be honest I still don’t know who you are. It means one thing. There are many of us out there that don’t even know who you are so how do you expect them to ask you?

    Furthermore, I have no idea who these people are. Never met them. Never talked to them. Don’t know their real names. Your statement above is full of assumptions, without facts. It parallels with what you seem to have assumed about the bill, offering no explanation on why you oppose the bill except that it’s bad. Bad for you, maybe but you’ve not proven that it’s going to be bad for the rest of the people that are out there.

  20. Candy Says:

    One more thing, Sheri. I don’t want to do private email, I’m sure we all can discuss this rationally here. I’d rather be transparent.

    If you can, please provide the following information: Who are the people/groups/organization currently involved with this NHSP reform. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing names, at least indicate groups and organizations (stakeholders).

  21. Joseph Pietro Riolo Says:

    Hi Ann_C,

    Well, if I were given the opportunity to reword the bill, I could have written something like this:

    “… all communication options including but not limited to American Sign Language (ASL), Total Communication, Cued Speech, and Listening and Spoken Language … . The enumeration of the communication options in the previous sentence shall not be construed to exclude any other communication options that are not specifically mentioned in the enumeration.”

    This should include the best of both worlds, to use an expression.

    I think I do understand your concern. I can see how mentioning an option explicitly can give much legal force to it that will leave no excuse for California’s Department of Education for not providing information on it to the parents of the deaf children. This is how enumeration can help. My little problem is why the latest revision of the bill stops at only five options and is not open-ended on other possible options.

    Disclosure: I am a resident of Pennsylvania, if anyone wants to wonder.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this post in the public domain.

  22. Ann_C Says:

    Sheri,

    I believe you’re a fair person. But I don’t believe in hiding behind emails in order to understand why someone is for or against an issue. That itself can contribute to hidden agendas, why some ppl are left in the dark and others are “in” on what’s really going on. Honesty and being open online about what one believes in carries far more credibility with readers.

    This is the first time on my blog that Barry has made any comments, and you will note that I haven’t commented on Barry’s v/blogs. No offense, Barry–I’ve tried to comment but cannot seem to get one to stick, something to do with different blog protocols maybe, lol. I’m well aware of his actions here on DR and sometimes on DVTV, but not often as I don’t go to DVTV much anyway. Besides, as much as many ppl love to hate him, Barry has a right to express his views. Just as many ppl love to hate Ridor, R has a right to express his views.

    As WG has illustrated, the CAD by-law fiasco is but one example of too many where Ella has left a trail of double messages. Her recent vlog opposing this bill is another example. Ask yourself this, Sheri, would you want someone who sends double messages about almost every project she touches to lead the deaf community that you and I are a part of? I’ve watched Ella’s messages online for several years and I shudder to think of the inadvertent destruction she has wrought and continues to do.

  23. Sue Says:

    Ann,
    I saw you wrote: “If the bill passes into law, it will mean that any hearing loss professional or Early Start Program official cannot withhold information regarding any of these options from the parents without legal ramifications. The bill is an attempt to address the problem of information being omitted which has happened with California’s Dept. of Education.”

    I think you might want take a look at the bill and amendments again. What are the legal ramifications? Are they spelled out in the bill? No they are not. Does it mention anything about the California Dept of Education? No.

    The bill,in the way it is written, gives “anyone” or any organization the right to distribute information at their “own expense” (“at no cost to the state”) just as long as it includes all “communication options”. It purposely does not go into detail about what all “communication options” means and which leaves it wide open to all kinds of interpretation. It purposely does not talk about language acquisition.

    Who will be overseeing this information that is given out to audiologists and then on to parents? This too is not spelled out in the bill.

    This bill has so many flaws. That is why the need for all stakeholders to come together to develop quality and accurate information about what it takes for a deaf child to acquire language fluently.

    Communication options have really confused parents. Parents want information about how are they going to be able to communicate with their child and how will their child acquire language and succeed. Many communication options have messed up kids and crippled them cognitively. Parents have had to stumble their way from one option to another. It is very sad for not only the child but for the entire family.

    This is not just a California issue but a national issue. There is much to be done but it will not happen if we don’t start sitting down together as Stakeholders and working through this.

  24. Tousi Says:

    Sheri who? I’m a Californian and how am I supposed to know the truth from the back of the bus where they want me to be/stay. Lol!

  25. Imbalance in the Advocacy of Parental Rights re: AB2072 :Shel: A Deaf Canadian's Thoughts Says:

    […] issue that was raised lately; however, I was a little disturbed by the lack of balance in this blogger’s post.  This blogger and her commenters were all het up on the behalf of Hearing parents of Deaf […]

  26. Tousi Says:

    Ann_C, somebody’s playing games so you might as well insert this blog over there, too. No need to worry about Customs, lol.

  27. DeafA Says:

    WHAT IF the parents decide not to do none of the options?

  28. DeafA Says:

    correction: What if the parents decide not to do any of the options???? Then what happen to the deaf child?

  29. DeafA Says:

    I would not teach SEE/total communication in schools any more than I would teach Spanglish in school. Too much confusion so why add that as communication option? ASL/English, Cued speech, and spoken English should be good enough, you think?

  30. DeafA Says:

    They should write, “Spoken English work best for people with hearing aids and CI and ASL work best for any deaf rather they have CI, hearing aids, or no hearing tools at all. “

  31. DT Says:

    Another perspective: And I kinda find it funny that some of the mandated options that are/can be included are ones that have shown to be failures in developing literacy skills in deaf children….oralism, for example…..so I wonder what is the criteria for an option to be accepted? This will never end…..this endless sadness at the child’s expense.

  32. Ann_C Says:

    DT, Oralism HAS worked for some deaf people–it has worked for me, born profound deaf, raised oral, wear HA’s, and my speech is like that of a hearing person with a southern drawl thrown in. Also am college educated and have worked in the corporate world and run two businesses of my own. A number of young CI adults who were implanted as babies and have had AVT speech training are also successful. There are other deaf who are just as successful with ASL/ written English. That’s why oral methods/ spoken English should be an option offered along with ASL and other methods.

    It is the parents, not the state or the deaf community, who make the ultimate decision, which is hopefully based on doing diligence with their research of ALL options, on their family circumstances and on the resources available in their area.

  33. Ann_C Says:

    DeafA, “If the parents decide not to do any of those options” is something of an oxymoron. The parents will have to decide on how to communicate with that child some way, some how, in order to raise that child. By the time the child is school age, IEP’s are generally based on what communication method the child uses the most.

    If you read my reply to DT, you’ll find that I was born profound deaf and wear HA’s and am oral, so that kinda refutes your suggestion that “Spoken English work best for people with hearing aids and CI and ASL work best for any deaf rather they have CI, hearing aids, or no hearing tools at all. “ Not all profound deaf use ASL and no hearing technology. Besides there are some deaf ppl who wear HA’s or CI’s and can code switch between spoken English and ASL, depending on the situation.

  34. Ann_C Says:

    JPR,

    In a perfect world, your more recent “re-wording” would be better, as you never know what other methods or communication modes may show up in future. 🙂

  35. the one and only ridor Says:

    WG: Nothing new with you — you love to spin things around – accuse deafhood for being extremists and all that crap.

    When will you reveal your own face whom you had been working so hard to guard for years?

    R-

  36. Ann_C Says:

    R~

    There are plenty of bloggers/commenters who don’t for privacy or security reasons that have nothing to with the deaf community.

  37. DeafA Says:

    DeafA, “If the parents decide not to do any of those options” is something of an oxymoron. The parents will have to decide on how to communicate with that child some way, some how, in order to raise that child. By the time the child is school age, IEP’s are generally based on what communication method the child uses the most.

    If you read my reply to DT, you’ll find that I was born profound deaf and wear HA’s and am oral, so that kinda refutes your suggestion that “Spoken English work best for people with hearing aids and CI and ASL work best for any deaf rather they have CI, hearing aids, or no hearing tools at all. “ Not all profound deaf use ASL and no hearing technology. Besides there are some deaf ppl who wear HA’s or CI’s and can code switch between spoken English and ASL, depending on the situation.
    It’s alot harder work for profoundly deaf people to learn speech without any kind of hearing. Does it mean they can’t be oral? No. Just that ASL does well for deaf people who choose not to use hearing aids/CI. I was saying ASL usually work for several different level of hearing because it is visual (although blinddeaf might have some struggle).

  38. DeafA Says:

    btw, I’m profound deaf, went to public school preschool -12th with LD in English class, wore HA on both ears, tried fixing my hearing with CI, and I don’t see it as success with ASL.

  39. DeafA Says:

    correction: I don’t see it as success withOUT ASL.

    I went to public school as the only deaf person in school. I attended regular classes with other hearing kids. Got CI late in my 20’s. I never was taught ASL and I can see clearly how important ASL is. My mother’s attitude was learn speech now, ASL later. She is dead now, and we never had effective communication. just alot of barriers.

  40. Ann_C Says:

    DeafA,

    I understand that you were raised oral, wore HA’s but now wear a CI since your 20’s? You don’t mention speech. Do you speak or only use ASL, or do you code-switch between speech and ASL, depending on whether you’re at work or at home? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    It is true that it’s a lot harder to learn speech without hearing, and I can understand that ASL as a visual aid can help to understand some English words. Deaf ppl who don’t wear hearing technology most often use ASL, PSE, or SEE anyway.

    There are many varying degrees of hearing loss (mild, moderate, severe and profound), different types of hearing loss (ski slope, upside down bell-curve, uni-lateral, bi-lateral, etc), and different ages at which hearing loss occurs (born deaf or late-deafened in childhood, young adult, or later age), as well as a host of causes of hearing loss, known or unknown. For those born profound deaf, age of the child at discovery of loss affects how the child will learn language. The toddler’s plastic brain can absorb language faster and more easily than a young child’s after age 5 or an adult’s. The diversity of deafness even within the born deaf population actually calls for a variety of communication options. That’s why a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work for every deaf child.

  41. DeafA Says:

    I’m profoundly Sensorineural deaf since birth (so is my older sister, and few other family members — it’s genetic… I’ve always been silently deaf without my hearing aids. I can’t remember when I could hear without my hearing aids) according to my CI audiogram. I already wrote that I was never taught ASL. Mom slap on my hearing aids and sent me to public school. Therefore, I use spoken English. I wore FM system in school, though. I wore hearing aids long before I went to preschool (with other hearing kids — one of the public school offered preschool in my area in the early 80’s) because my mom tested our hearing due to genetically deaf in the family. I don’t work, I tried working, it didn’t work out.

  42. DeafA Says:

    I should mention I’m Bilateral deaf too… both ears.

  43. Candy Says:

    DeafA is a good example of what works for someone will not work for another. Advocates of CI/AVT will say that ASL cannot be used if parent wants to see success, however, there are currently several children implanted and using ASL. Someone like me who wears hearing aids, never lost the ability to speak well, in fact, my speech and word discrimination have improved over the years. Like wise, there isn’t a logical rule where one says AVT has to go with CI and ASL has to go with deaf, SEE has to go with hard of hearing who wear hearing aid. Although there are advocates, surgeons and manufacturers that will say that in order to get the best out of CI, AVT and no ASL should be the plan. I think that is where choice comes into the picture. Parents that are well informed can make that decision by not only reading the materials but also by contacting resources and speak with a variety of people to get a better idea of what they want for their child.

    The proponents of ASL first can use their platform by setting up a clearing house for those that choose ASL as a language. That’s ok. But, to be put in a bill that dictates to the parents that ASL is the natural language for the deaf, ergo, it has to BE the language. What if a parent already did their research and found CI/AVT to be a better choice? They have every right to say no to ASL and opt for what they want. It’s like telling a deaf parent that their deaf child MUST be implanted after the hearing screening. Most of the time parents do make informed decision. Gone are the days where deaf children are forced to speak when they cannot hear a thing! At least that is my take. It is a lot easier to be able to speak well and listen well if you can hear. It is hard to do that when you’re completely deaf which is why we see a lot of failed oral children/adults back in the day.

  44. White Ghost Says:

    I am sure that DeafA’s time is much different than the 21st century kids’ CIs and AVT. For my understanding is that DeafA’s Audiogram technology and its equipments were ineffective. I met several CI toddler-age boys and I find them real unbelievable. They have spoken exceptionally. Their moms wore the “remote control” microphones. They explained the “remote control” microphones that have helped them to monitor and keeping balance the CI’s amphier (spell?) and its volumes. The CI boys cannot take care of themselves and kept under control with sounds/volumes in the CIs until they get older.

    That’s true, Candy, that it is hard to do when we see many deaf people that have failed in many areas, relating to the audiology’s equipments in the 20th century.

  45. Tousi Says:

    Ann_C, I agree but nothing in this life is absolute; I would have thought that you knew that I meant oralism is generally a failure and I’m glad it worked for you. Had I been in the right place, I know it would have worked for me and again, I don’t believe it worked/works for most. Anyway, it was just an example…asking the question: what is the criteria/standard, etc for an option to be accepted?

  46. DeafA Says:

    They thought I was exceptionally well too. How do you think I got accepted in PUBLIC SCHOOL with other hearing kids as the only deaf child there from preschool-12th grade. I wore a bodyworn FM where the teacher wear a micrphone. I’m sorry, but children who can speak well can be decieving. They just can’t hear natually like a hearing person. There’s all kinds of problems that goes with it. When I see CI children in mainstreamed school with no ASL, I see a history of myself being repeated again. Especially when school have to provide all these accomodation just to get the child where he suppose to be. But honestly, I really can’t understand why anyone want to make deaf people hearing in the first place. It makes me wonder, if they went for a deaf gene screening during pregnancy, would they abort and try again to have a hearing child? Truly, it’s a stab in the heart for many deaf people when people reject ASL, saying that they don’t need it and such. We need it so we can communicate effective with our loved ones and friends.

  47. Blunt to Ann C who whines about Deafhood and AB 2072 « Welcome to Asl Rocks Says:

    […] that post link:  https://ireflections09.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/ab-2072-parental-anger-and-deafhood-redux/ […]

  48. DeafA Says:

    That’s true, Candy, that it is hard to do when we see many deaf people that have failed in many areas, relating to the audiology’s equipments in the 20th century.>>>>> and you think today modern technology won’t? You do realize that the same thing have been said in the 80’s about hearing aids. people are constantly gambling for exchange to make their deaf child’s hearing so they don’t have to use ASL. Shouldn’t you see the result first with other deaf adults with CI (rather they know ASL or not) who were implanted when they were babies first before you decide ASL is not needed?

    Anyway, I think the parents should be reminded how important ASL is… The emotional and socialization part of deaf, and the myths of ASL . It’s still their choice, but I really, really don’t think ASL should be treated as neutral option as it doesn’t matter when it does.

  49. Candy Says:

    DeafA, I have done well with hearing aids, I am one of the lucky ones. Not everyone does well. Factors includes, but are not limited to, various things such as how much hearing one has, frequencies involved, availability of speech therapy, motivational level, etc. We cannot, and I emphasize..CANNOT use our failure as a reason to assume that others will fail. When I read or hear about adults like me (similar loss) who have gotten implants and describe the results, it is clear that CI is much more advanced than HAs. This makes me want to get a CI becaause as much as I LOVE who I am and have respect for deaf culture, I LOVE that I can hear…and I want MORE!! Tousi, u cannot compare CI with hearing aids. Period. . Yet, many of u are missing the point!!!! Its not about what approach is the best. It is about Parental right to choose. Parents are upset to find they have been denied All information about what is available for their children. It is that simple. Keep your opinions of what is best within another forum. the question is: do parents have every right to demand that all language, method, approaches be available for them to review; list of people, Resources, etc for them to do their own homework in order to make their own informed decision? A no brainer answer would be, hell yea! They have that right.

  50. DeafA Says:

    Parents do not have the rights to choice to do NOTHING for their deaf child. no early invention or any sort of thing (but I guess they been doing that for years because deaf being undiagnosed – but once they go to school, then parents have no rights to ignore the problem) . My aunt met a deaf homeless guy. He was severely neglected by his parents growing up. Never went to school or anything. He couldn’t talk, read, or sign. It was really sad. My aunt tried to teach him signs but it was very hard.

    Yes, the parents can decide what’s best, but we need to make sure the information they are getting is well informed. That includes the affect on their deaf children if they decide not to use ASL. Also, parents do not need people telling them not to use ASL on their children, even in school. If you withhold ASL, their ASL vocabulary will behind by the time they get to school if they decide oral is not working out for them. School is no place to play catch up for young deaf children. Why would you want your children go through that? And why would you want deaf school to be dumbed down because some deaf children were not taught ASL due to spoken language?

  51. Candy Says:

    DeafA, examples u have given was during a different time period where All information was not shared with parents. Back in the day, many professionals tend to only share what they think is best. Times have changed. Your argument is moot.

  52. DeafA Says:

    which reminds me, I had an option of going to school with other deaf students (a different public school that have a deaf program) because public middle school was a mess for me, but there was one problem. I did not know ASL and I was in my teen. If I go, I would be like being in kindergarten all over again because I would be starting to learn ASL. So mother told me no. So they put me in LD class for English, and regular class with the hearing students for all other subject. I didn’t always pick up what the teacher said, but they provided notes for me. That’s one of the conquences of withholding ASL.

  53. DeafA Says:

    DeafA, examples u have given was during a different time period where All information was not shared with parents. Back in the day, many professionals tend to only share what they think is best. Times have changed. Your argument is moot. >>> no it isn’t. professionals (especially AVT professionals) who work with CI still tell parents that it is best not to use ASL. Teachers in oral school will not use ASL, even for some subjects like math.

  54. Candy Says:

    Show me one CI kid with AVT, that also has no other multiple disability that are not doing well. Show me examples. Why is it that we have not seen any parents come online to say that they tried CI, intensive AVT and are dedicated, yet their child still fails!! where are they???

  55. DeafA Says:

    on the internet, there were few that said CI didn’t work for them. Some have transferred to a deaf school. Some keep using ASL instead of spoken language despite they have CI since they were babies. I would think they would be like hearing people and use their voice more often.

    in the 80’s parents like your and mine thought we were success. None of our parents would admit we needed ASL. They made sure we use spoken language all through our school life.

  56. Candy Says:

    DeafA, you along with others who keep on bringing up what works and what doesn’t work for deaf babies/people, etc. appear to not really understand what AB2072 is about. We can go on and on about what works and what doesn’t. It is a known fact that what works does not work for everyone and what does not work for some does not mean it will not work for others.

    That is not the purpose of that bill. What is the purpose of the bill?

    To make sure that parents get every single information on what might work for their child. The bill is not telling parents that CI works. The bill is not telling parents that ASL works. The bill is not telling parents anything about what works or what doesn’t! Get it?

    The bill makes sure that every parent receives every available information out there on what MIGHT work. Parents are usually intelligent enough to figure out for themselves after reading all the information about ASL/Bi-Bi, who to contact etc. About CI/AVT, who to contact. Cued speech, and so on. That is what the bill is about. DBC, one of the opponents of this bill does not want to allow parents to think and make decision.

    If you can’t understand that, then I’m wasting my time talking to a brick wall.

  57. Ann_C Says:

    The bill addresses the LACK of information about ALL available options which is currently the situation in California, so that parents don’t wonder later after finding out that there were other options out there and end up suing the state. That has happened already, and the state of California certainly can’t afford to ignore this lack (California is already bankrupt, lol).

    AB 2072 is not about what options work or don’t work, it’s about getting information about all communication options to the parents of infants just recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

  58. Tousi Says:

    I am not wanting to address which options do not work, per se; just pick an option that has historically, failed, then, if it makes you feel any better, and wonder out loud a bit about how easy it would be for any “professional” to insert something down the road they’d consider a new option. Point is, there’s already a lot of options that have their foot in the door now as it is and pity the poor parents when they get them all thrown at them….bound to hurt the kids.

  59. Ann_C Says:

    Tousi, I know that a number of options can seem confusing or overwhelming for the parents, but I think the bill is trying cover all bases.

    You wouldn’t want only one or two options presented to the parents at the expense of all the others, because some parents will later discover those omitted options and ask, “Why did we not learn of the other options which were omitted from the presentation when our child’s hearing loss was first diagnosed?” The state certainly doesn’t want to end up facing lawsuits from wronged parents with questions about fairness and the withholding of information.

    Currently, obstetricians, audiologists, ENT doctors, other hearing professionals, and state early intervention program agencies can dispense whatever information that they are more personally inclined or trained in med school to give to parents, so there is no guarantee that all options will be presented.

    This bill OTOH will require that all options be presented and takes out the personal bias or the hearing bias or the Deaf bias of whoever presents the information.

    As for “new options”, the bill could use better wording (per Joseph Pietro Riolo’s comment above) to cover newer options, but legislators are notoriously short-sighted when it comes to future applications, such as the internet captioning bill that is still winding its way through Congress, simply because the older CC bill for TV sets didn’t cover future video/audio technologies.

  60. Hysteria Propaganda Twists Sane AB2072 « Candy Says:

    […] Opposition of this bill claims that “All communication options” is misleading.  Misleading because the opposition does not believe that other options at the onset will help deaf and hard of hearing kids succeed.  Thus, they are the ones challenging other options but ASL at the onset.  As a result, we are seeing many people arguing what works and what doesn’t. […]

  61. Deaf Village Says:

    […] Opposition of this bill claims that “All communication options” is misleading.  Misleading because the opposition does not believe that other options at the onset will help deaf and hard of hearing kids succeed.  Thus, they are the ones challenging other options but ASL at the onset.  As a result, we are seeing many people arguing what works and what doesn’t. […]

  62. Concerned Citizen Says:

    Hi all,

    With all due respect, I think there is a huge factor at stake that most of us have neglected to mention, which is the identity of the deaf child. Identity is closely related to self-esteem, motivation and perseverance. A child that is reared under pressure to accept what their parents, and doctors, audiologists, speech therapists and all those who are “helping for a fee”, to meet their expectancies, will hardly ever find the time to enjoy his/her childhood or develop a sense of self. How can he/she, If she lives to meet the expectations of those aforementioned.
    I can understand that it’s in human nature to steer our children towards being like us, but in doing so, we may be preventing children from being themselves. When your child is born deaf, s/he is born into a community and culture that may be distant to you as a hearing person. Nonetheless, it is an act of selfishness to prevent that child from blossoming in his/her natural environment.
    Personally, I am not opposed to any of the options and I support what is best for the child, his/her self-esteem, identity, and development in the least restrictive environment. What I have seen with disdain over the years, is that those “professionals” (that help for a fee) will stop “helping” when they hit the insurance cap, or after years of hiding the truth, that their “services” will not help the child. This usually happens when the child in his/her teens, which can and will be a devastating blow to his/her self-esteem, a blow that few will overcome.
    Parents need to be informed about all the options they have without bias or pressure so that they can make an informed decision.
    This bill should have included parental counseling. And by that, I mean counseling for the parents to accept they children for who they are and to deal with their guiltiness feelings, which often propelled parents to do “whatever it takes” to fix what they have done wrong while the mother was pregnant. It is natural for the mother to lament what she may feel like a mistake. “Was that glass of wine I had while pregnant?” ” Was that flight I took while pregnant?” “What did I do wrong?” “I should not have stressed too much?”
    Give ALL options and equal chance, but above all, give the child to blossom in his natural-born environment.
    Respectfully,
    A concerned citizen

  63. ireflections09 Says:

    Concerned Citizen,

    “When your child is born deaf, s/he is born into a community and culture that may be distant to you as a hearing person. Nonetheless, it is an act of selfishness to prevent that child from blossoming in his/her natural environment.”

    First of all, a deaf child is born to his family first and foremost, not into a Deaf culture or deaf community.

    It is not an act of selfishness if the parents want to give their deaf child the opportunity to hear via HA’s or CI’s and to speak. Just as it is not an act of selfishness if the parents give their deaf child the opportunity of sign language. Parents have enough to deal with and have to consider their overall family circumstances, the availability of resources in their area, and what communication modality they are willing to commit to in order to communicate with their child.

    The parents themselves don’t need yet another guilt trip by being told that they’re selfish for not allowing their deaf child to flourish in Deaf culture. If Deaf culture would stop stigmatizing and blaming the parents for their decisions, the HA and CI technology, oralism, AGBell, etc and focus instead on the positive aspects of sign language and the deaf community, both parents and deaf children will embrace the deaf community far more readily.

    It is not a good policy to demonize the parents as “the enemy”, as they are their children’s caretakers first and foremost as well. I am well aware that many d/Deaf adults carry immense baggage regarding their parents’ decisions for them when they were children. However, to impose one’s past onto the present sets the stage for pointing fingers at new parents, and this really is the last thing that parents today need. It’s my hope that AB 2072 will be the equalizer in giving parents info on ALL options, each described with its benefits and risks, and a strong emphasis on “the earlier, the better” for language acquisition, be it sign language or listening/ speaking.

    Ann_C

  64. Tina Jo Says:

    I’ll try to be short: we SUPPORT parents getting ALL information they need to make both educated and informed decisions. Choices and decisions to ensure language acquisition for Deaf babies should emphasize considering long-term results. CDNIAS requested the right of all parents to be well informed of the pros n cons of medical considerations as well. We all know no parent (DHH children or not) would choose a path with reduced chances of success for their children. Human right to accessible language is the whole crux of the issue. If parents do not see “ASL and English” together, they will keep on confusing language with communication modalities. Standing firm on our amendments originally submitted, we want English instead of spoken aural language. The medical and audiological professionals disregard the damaging lack of ASL benefits considered the necessity in a Deaf baby’s life. They do not see early and natural brain cognition and language acquisition is of great significance. To enact a law “empowering” audiologists to counsel on a language option (ASL) in which they do not have training makes a bad policy! Degree programs and California State licensing for audiologists does NOT require, and rarely includes, any training on ASL. We have parents who confirmed that audiologists have discouraged them from using this option, learning ASL, that is. When you quoted, “…be it sign language or listening/speaking” that you are referring as if there is a choice. No, it is BOTH, not either one of them.

    Assemblymember Mendoza kept coming back with a slew of amendments that did not even come close to addressing concerns and/or modifies other areas to represent the special interest groups of the medical profession. Mendoza has been stringing us along thru this process – making promises and then not keeping them. We are tired of him treating the Deaf Stakeholders as second-class citizens. Parent choice has everything to do with Deaf Stakeholders and the knowledge they have. Supporters of this bill completely discount our expertise and experiences!

    Simply put, the AB2072 process has NOT been democratic, open, inclusive, transparent and kind-hearted. I liked how one quoted: [AB2072] represents ethical morasses, audism, paternalism, and financial rewards. It’s my hope that AB2072 will get killed.

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