We all sleep in silence

I rode shotgun as Josh Swiller spoke at the California A.G. Bell‘s annual conference in Milpitas last Saturday. Josh had texted me the day before that there’d be protestors there. I’d texted back, “Nobody ever pickets my speeches. Some guys have all the luck.”

A. G. Bell’s a strongly oralist organization, as you can tell from its motto, “Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking.” That doesn’t sit so well with some members of the signing deaf community. Milpitas is close to Fremont, which is home to the California School for the Deaf, which is a strongly signing school. Because of that, the area has many deaf people passionately committed to sign language. The California chapter of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition was there having a peaceful rally in front of the hotel, on the lawn, with picket signs and shirts saying things like,

“English – 5 MPH. SEE – 50 MPH. ASL – 500 MPH.”

(SEE means Signed Exact English, a form of sign language that follows English grammar exactly. ASL, American Sign Language, is more widely used and has its own unique grammar which is very different from English.)

They’d brought a large white wooden block, which served as a miniature stage for people to address the crowd. They weren’t actually protesting Josh, who spent eight months at Gallaudet and knows sign well enough to converse. They were protesting A. G. Bell.

Which didn’t sit so well with A. G. Bell. So: cop cars outside the hotel, overweight cops strolling potbellied in the lobby. A beautiful spring day in the South Bay, pink buds peeking out of treebranches. Not a day on which you’d expect confrontation.

And there wasn’t any. The A. G. Bell folks stayed inside the hotel. The DBC folks stayed outside on the grass. Only a handful of people — as far as I could tell — walked from one to the other.

Including Josh and I. We walked over in the afternoon. I was nervous, because I don’t know sign. I’ve been to Gallaudet three times now and have been warmly welcomed each time, though I’m still a little puzzled as to why. I’m not anti-sign in any way, but I’m still the physical embodiment of much that the signing deaf community fears. (By the way, the paperback subtitle of my book, “My Journey Back to the Hearing World,” was a mistake, proposed by my publisher and accepted by me; I had never meant to imply that it was the only world worth living in.)

I was received this way: “Oh, hi, hello!”

One burly fellow with enormous wrists introduced himself to me as having been in the classroom during a two-hour debate I had at Gallaudet last year with Dirksen Bauman’s students. That debate had the feel of history, of titanic forces clashing: the passion of the deaf community colliding with a technology that penetrates and transforms everything it meets. I’d spoken with candor. I’d said, Look, ninety-six percent of the deaf children born in this country are born to hearing parents. Offered a technology that lets their child hear, what do you think they’re going to choose? But I’d also said that sign language and the community sustained by it are precious, and that their disappearance would be a tragedy. I offered no easy answers, because I had none. Everyone was unsettled. Nothing was settled. At the end of the debate I felt worn out and anxious. Anxious, because I wondered if I had alienated them. I had wanted to build bridges, and I wondered if I had.

Apparently I had. On the grass I was being warmly welcomed once again. People smiled at me. The burly fellow offered to shake hands and we did, my hand disappearing inside his. He explained who I was in rapid-fire sign to a few people nearby, then asked me for my email address. No paper was handy, so I wrote it in spidery handwriting on the back of his placard.

Josh hopped up on the block and made a few remarks — I don’t remember what he said, maybe he’ll post it on his blog. Then I was invited up. I hesitated. What would I say? But the fact of conversation matters above all else. “I’ll need an interpreter,” I said, and and a young fellow with a goatee materialized. We both got up on the block.

I told them of a marvelous line by Abbie Cranmer: “We all sleep in silence.” (Actually, I remembered the line wrong: what Abbie actually wrote is, “We sleep in total silence too.”) It’s true, I said: we have more in common than not. We all struggle with communication.

I told them how much I appreciated the willingness of people in the signing deaf community to welcome me and converse about these issues. Such things are healing, I said. I told them I’d submitted an application for a fellowship at Gallaudet shortly after my last visit.

I kept my remarks short, got down, talked to a few people, and went back into the hotel. There I talked with one woman who had two hearing aids, a clear penetrating voice, a strong jaw, and steely blue eyes. She told me she planned to become a corporate VP. Some people, you just look at them and you know they’re going to get wherever they’re going.

But there were other people who gazed at me in polite confusion when I tried to talk to them, with whom I ended up writing things down on paper. After a conversation with Josh that night back in my living room I thought: Some of the people in the hotel should really have been out there on the grass. A child who has grown up with 110-decibel losses in both ears will never be able to speak and listen to English with the ease and grace of a native language, no matter how well he or she can read and write in it. It is not the better part of wisdom to ask them to forever try.

And some of the people on the grass should have been in the hotel. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, page 8, in 1997 only 48.5% of people with “severe difficulty hearing normal conversation” were employed. A later survey in 2002, pegs the employment rate of people with “severe difficulty hearing normal conversation” at 68.6%, which means an unemployment rate of 31.4%. Either way, those figures are high compared to the national average of 4.8% in February 2008. But those rates say nothing about the intelligence of deaf people. Unfortunately, a person who can’t communicate comfortably in English has limited horizons regardless of how smart he or she is. The technology now exists to let most deaf people grow up using the language of the majority; the language that lets them joke and socialize and network in a larger world. There is no reason why deaf people cannot grow up using both English and ASL.

There must be a way in which the signing deaf community can adapt to cochlear implant technology (and other technologies that are likely to come down the pike) so they can not only survive but thrive in the decades to come. To turn the technology to their advantage.

“The warmth and friendliness out there on the grass was palpable,” Josh said to me that night. Yes, I agreed, it was. Two different worlds were living side by side that day, one in a hotel ballroom, the other in sunlight. But they shared common concerns: communication and the lack of it, and the desire for community. They should have been working together.


  1. A wonderful post! You are right when you say that technology now exists to help the deaf and hard of hearing to grow up and participate in the hearing world. . .therefore creating more opportunities and a chance to make a difference. Those who oppose cochlear implants and other advancements forget this. Just because we can’t hear doesn’t mean we are not smart enough. In fact, it is our determination and will that makes us succeed in life!

    That is great that you two famous authors got to spend some time together! I have both of your books!

  2. Brian Riley says

    You wrote: “A person who can’t speak English has limited horizons.”

    Please keep in mind that there will always be a segment of society that is deaf. The REAL question is not whether or not cochlear implants might be able to be used effectively by SOME deaf people in SOME ways. The real issue is that society needs to realize that deaf people DO indeed have bright futures even if they cannot hear and even if they do not use hearing aids or cochlear implants.

    Deaf people are able to interact quite well on the job through e-mails, pocket pagers and pencil and paper. This is not a big handicap as you might imagine it to be. You are imagining what your life would be without hearing, but that’s not the way to approach the question. The way to approach the question is to try to see things through the eyes of a person who has been deaf all of his or her life and does not feel any remorse at all about not hearing sound and has a rich family life and rewarding and enjoyable life in the Deaf community.

    Work life is only part of one’s life, and it’s not necessary to define one self worth or ability in society solely on the basis of spoken communication. Deaf people ARE able to thrive in the work world, contrary to misconceptions, especially these days with e-mail and pocket pagers, etc. The unemployment problem is not caused by deafness per se, but is caused by the unfortunate effects of oral education in the 20th century.

    This is a classic example of the adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” because it is the people who have been pushing oral communication on deaf people who have been the cause of what they are attempting to prevent (higher unemployment rates, for example.) Cochlear implants do not allow 100% communication. They do not allow deaf people to become hearing people. They provide only a synthetic sense of sound and only partial hearing. Their effectiveness is vastly overrated and exaggerated by the medical industry.

  3. Through the grapevine of the blogosphere, I was made aware that there was going to be a peaceful protest against A.G. Bell convention. It pleases me to see that it was indeed peaceful and the pair of you had a pleasant experience.

    It’s an honor to have you mention that line! This made my day reading this post with my morning cup of joe 🙂 Thank you Mike!

  4. “But they shared common concerns: communication and the lack of it, and the desire for community. They should have been working together.”

    There’s not enough of that out there. The idea of bridging. The idea of moving past the black/white differences and just BRIDGE together… The “you believe that and this but we believe that and this” when really all we need is to come together and build those bridges. Not to be corny or lame but this 20+ years controversy is getting old.

    Thanks for bloggin’ your perspective. Was told about your blog by a friend. Keep writing.

  5. Your comment that “you don’t understand why you’re not shot on site” when you come to Gallaudet shows you still don’t get it. You are no threat to signing deaf people. You have little power or influence (except maybe in your own mind) over anyone that matters to them. You got an implant when you were old enough to decide on your own, which is what Deaf people want. You’re not a parent of a deaf child. You’re not an ENT promoting implants in infants. Those are the people that worry them, not someone like you. Those signing, protesting deafies are a total turn-off to most hearing parents. They make demands that hearing parents of deaf babies learn ASL, yet I see no offers to set up sign language classes, mentor parents, etc. Yes, gathering for a picnic on a sunny day, waving signs, handing out flyers is lots of fun. But when it gets to actually doing any work to make any of these things happen, they are nowhere to be found.
    And let’s face it, parents who have a kid with a CI who is making good progress talking and listening really aren’t interested in that angry deaf community, many of whom can barely string a sentence together in English, even those from Deaf families who went to Deaf schools. And, while having a great job isn’t the only part of life that’s important, not having one certainly limits what you can do with your free time.
    By the way, where did you get the 50% unemployment rate in the deaf community figure?

  6. Dear Maryland, thanks for your comment. The figure of speech “shot on sight” was too strong; I toned it down.

    As for the 50% unemployment figure, the table from which I drew it was here when Rebuilt went to press in 2004 (it’s given in the bibliography on page 221):


    Unfortunately, the link doesn’t work anymore and I’ve been struggling to figure out where the table is now, a formidable task given the complexity of government censuses.

    But I found a different table (click on the words “different table” to follow the link) which pegs the employment rate of people with “severe difficulty hearing normal conversation” at 68.6% in 2002, which means an unemployment rate of 31.4%. That’s not 50%; maybe this document defined hearing loss and employment in different ways. But it’s still pretty high compared to the national average of 4.8% in February 2008.

    I’ve been making various other changes to the entry based on the comments and my own thoughts.

  7. I think you are also confusing the long-dead Illinois senator, Everett Dirksen, with Dirksen Bauman, the Gallaudet faculty member, (who is still alive, as far as I know).

  8. Right-o. Thanks. Sorry, Professor Bauman.

  9. Brian Riley says


    There were no angry speeches or comments made at the rally on Saturday. You are not being helpful with your attempted false portrayal. Not a single person “demanded” anything of any hearing parent, unless you call asking hearing parents to consider logical arguments a “demand.”

    You should be able to rise above the level of prejudice and get to know people in the Deaf community.

  10. Hearing Parent says

    I agree with ‘Maryland’, where is the Deaf community when hearing parents are desperate to learn sign language to communicate with their children? My ASL raised son received his implant at age 5, he still signs and considers himself blessed to be able to move seamlessly between Deaf and hearing cultures. He truly does have the best of both worlds.

  11. Its been a long time coming, but people are finally starting to see the need for an ASL based early intervention and early childhood education program that includes oral and aural habilitation for CI kiddos who want that dual approach of speech and ASL. There are lots of ASL programs nationwide, but very few of them have organized verbal support. What is needed is a good working model that those existing programs can incorporate into what they already have.

    Parents need to be able to tour facilities, see what kind of support they will have, and see how the kids are doing in the program. Simply telling the parents that they need to add ASL to whatever program they are already using just won’t work.

  12. Michael – I’m a new reader who was just forwarded this blogpost. I’ve been thinking about these issues for a long time, as you can see here. I really liked your quote below:

    There must be a way in which the signing deaf community can adapt to cochlear implant technology (and other technologies that are likely to come down the pike) so they can not only survive but thrive in the decades to come. To turn the technology to their advantage.

    but I wonder why deaf people have to adapt to cochlear implant technology. The point of technology, of any tool, is to help adapt the environment to the person. The problem is that CI technologies are, by and large, experimental, and have until now presented as such, despite the literature. As experiments, they have needed to be controlled. Any controlled experiment has limits. In this case, since the item being tested was the development of oral speech, they decided, early on, to limit all other languages. ASL, PSE, Signed English – people still, in some places, sign contracts not to use these with their child, in order for the company to get a cleaner, better statistic for their experiment.

    You really wonder why the Deaf people were out there on the lawn? If A.G. Bell or cochlear implant corporations had the best interests of the person at heart, wouldn’t their thrust have been different? Wouldn’t they have aimed at giving the person every communications tool possible, to help compensate when that person goes into society, so they can be as independent as possible? Do European parents only teach their child one language?

    But no. Someone had to go for the experiment. And they had to tell our hearing parents bullshit about Deaf people, ASL, and the signing community in order to get people to go along with it. They had to use terms of limitation, insulting terms. The terms have become so ingrained, it’s incredible – you yourself, Michael, must have noticed how difficult it is for a newcomer to the issues to write clearly about the delicate layers of ignorance and prejudice that surround Deaf people. There is a reason Deaf people are out there on the lawn. (Of course, I’d rather they be in medical and technical labs inventing their own tools, but then I’m the competetive sort.)

    As to the comments – I agree wholeheartedly. We need more schools following the dual language approach. We have one in New York, but it’s very, very new.

  13. Michael,
    I am so glad you used Abbie’s comment. I agree we sleep in total silent too. Abbie does, you do and I know I do. As an adult, yes I did make my choice with the assistance of my family. I know how difficult the choice is and I believe we as a Community can work together so parents feel intergrated and not isolated. Just the start of communications is important. So thank you and Josh for crossing that lawn and joining others. Instead of ignoring you chose to get to know others. It just takes one person to start and listen before others join in.

    My mom once told me – you may not hear, but there are tools to help you – not just hearing aids, but people who can guide you. You have to be picky on who you allow into your life. Pick the ones who have your best interest at heart. So many of you can write the words that I can’t, so I hope you will find the words to try and show others that we do more than sleep in total silent, we have goals and dreams of peace, happiness, and tranquility.


  14. Eloquent post, Joseph.

    Hearing Parent: there are lots of ASL classes available to the public, especially if you live in an urban environment. Check local community colleges, deaf schools, and community centers. Most signing deaf people would be thrilled by your interest. I’m glad to learn that your son is doing so well — great!

    In fact, your son could be a model for what many deaf people want. What irks us is the frequent emphasis on Auditory Therapy for implanted children, which tends to forbid sign altogether. If cochlear implant doctors, audiologists, and others (including Michael and Josh) advocated the value of sign *in addition* to auditory training, the CI would be much less controversial, and true bridges would be built.

  15. Karen Mayes says

    You could check out: http://aslci.blogspot.com/
    We could see how ASL and CI could work together successfully and how deaf children could be fully bilingual… how ASL could be a helpful aid to AVT and that ASL could be an excellent language next to English here in America. 🙂

  16. “ASL could be an excellent language next to English here in America.

    ASL IS AN EXCELLENT LANGUAGE NEXT TO ENGLISH HERE IN AMERICA. There is no COULD BE OR MIGHT BE. It is all about ATTITUDE AND IGNORNANCE. There are many deaf children without ci already fully BILINGUAL. And there are many deaf children with ci are not fully Bilingual. Whats more, there are millions of hearing people are not BILINGUAL.


  17. “They should have been working together.”

    I absolutely agree with you — what a great experience that must have been — and you quoted our own ‘dear’ Abbie, too!

    I’m one of those hearing moms of a toddler with a CI who gets virtually roughed up by a small, but energetic and prolific few of the online Deaf community every so often for the decision. But in real life, there’s such a difference: I find the Deaf community, the individuals and groups I meet on a daily basis, to be warm and loving and eager to extend a hand and help us walk our path — however we see fit: CI or no, ASL, bi-bi, or AVT.

    My daughter’s primary language is ASL, and now she’s learning spoken English beautifully, too (in fact, we had a glorious impromptu celebration in the middle of the aisle at Whole Foods this weekend when she called aloud for “cheese” for the very first time). I’m a strong believer in bilingualism for my child, in our circumstance, but I’d never presume to know what would work for other families.

    And despite how positive about learning ASL early, I am surprised every time someone suggests that ASL is a natural language that’s accessible to all. It’s just not: my baby won’t pick up ASL on her own, it’s not innate. She will not be bombarded by ASL on TV, the radio, in stores, on the street, in the park, in our home. I’m learning the language, but I’ll bet she’ll soon outstrip my signing. Access to ASL may be possible for adults at many community colleges, but I’ve yet to see how the language is being made accessible to toddlers in hearing families, aside from a few DVDs (and that’s just not interactive enough for a two year old).

    Our toddler is in the car for nearly 3 hours each day just so she can attend a school for the deaf to get the ASL immersion we can’t provide at home. We’re so lucky this school exists, we were slipped into what is technically a staff-only program, and we were able to make this happen around our work schedules. Without this rare convergence of opportunities, my daughter would not be in a position to learn ASL. Learning ASL is very unnatural and inaccessible, but it’s our choice.

    My doctors, hospital, and state advocates DO promote ASL as well as auditory training and other methods. AGBell is out there promoting and offering accessible speech resources to deaf children, as well as scholarships, research, and tools. So, where’s our ASL-equivalent advocacy that offers more than a rap on the knuckles for going with a CI? Developing that type of organization would be a better use of resources than standing in the grass outside an AG Bell convention.

  18. Karen Mayes says

    Ahhh…we have to remember that we all have different learning styles. ASL does NOT come naturally to my son whereas it comes naturally to my daughter. Like math does NOT come naturally to me while it is natural to my husband. So forth.

    We have to look at the future and be able to come up with the resources to meet the needs. So we see that the majority of deaf children would be equipped with CIs and we need to think of the ways to create bridges with them and their parents.

  19. mcconnell says

    Michael, that SIPP articule you referenced can be found here in its enterity.


  20. Over at Hands & Voices (www.handsandvoices.org) we are attempting to do just that– get everyone talking about the issues and working together. When the issues are presented in a manner that fosters respect and openness, we have progress.

    We have to stop losing children in the methodology wars and work to make sure that every deaf and hard of hearing child can reach their full potential.

  21. Dear McConnell, thanks for offering that link. Unfortunately, the article only talks about the number of people in the U.S. with deafness based on SIPP data; it doesn’t say what their employment statistics are.

  22. Li-Li's Mom says

    Oh, Karen, very good point. For a Deaf family, a child would be surrounded by signing. I meant that only in our situation, for us learning ASL is very unnatural and inaccessible. But it’s still our choice 🙂 .

  23. Hearing Parent says

    Hi Chris: Actually, I am pretty fluent in ASL. I learned it to communicate with my son prior to his receiving his implant, but still use it on a daily basis for those times when he takes if off or the environment is too loud for either one of us to hear. I had to fight for the right to have my son continue with sign. The school district implied that it was obvious that I now wanted my son to be oral because he had an implant and therefore they did not want to provide an interpreter any more. I fought and won that battle.

    As for forbidding sign, I had many “teachers” who wanted me to do oral only, but I still found that sign was a big part of our day. I certainly provided oral learning opportunities for my son, but he needed down time too, and sign was perfect for that. I was raised bilingual and saw no reason for my son not to be bilingual too. And now he is.

    Sign is such an integral part of his life, that to deny it to him would be like cutting off an arm, and with my last breath, I was going to prevent that. BUT, each child and each family is different. Not all families can put in the time and energy needed for either an oral or a sign approach. How, then, can they put in the time and energy required to do both?

    I had many friends in the deaf community who welcomed me and taught me sign, and spent time with me and my family, but when I started exploring the CI option, I was shunned. How could I? I understood Deaf, I knew their innermost fears about oralism, how could I do that to my son? He was my son, I wanted him to have access to the both worlds, the hearing and the deaf. He is taking honors English classes, learning sign has not detracted from his language, not in the slightest. In fact, without early language acquisition, (the language just happened to be sign), he would not be the fluent communicator he is today, in both sign and English.

    And, yes, I do believe that my son could be the model that many deaf people want, but still, the first thing many deaf do is see his implants and turn away.

  24. Anonymous says

    Michael Chorost,

    Just ignore Brian Riley’s message to you. What Brian Riley doesn’t tell you is that he has the prestige of being hearing and the capability of vocal speech. He then doesn’t need experience of hearing through a CI, period.

    Your efforts with a CI are admirable.

  25. Hi Michael,
    I was glad to see you at the rally, and I hope that it shows that we are interested in building bridges, just like you are. Just one clarification: it was NOT a CSD protest. It was hosted by the California Chapter of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition, found at dbccalifornia.wordpress.com. There were over 200 people in attendance overall, and less than half work at CSD. Let’s continue to build bridges together, and let’s work to break down AGBell’s fear of healthy, happy, signing Deaf children. 🙂

  26. Hi Michael,

    Thank you so much for reaching out to the Deaf community. The CI is a tough issue for all of us. Not everyone in the Deaf world dismisses it — there are those of us who struggle with the pros and cons (check out my story/ “Evolution of a Cochlear Implant Attitude”, at http://www.deaf-culture-online.com/cochlear-implant.html).

    Also, you’re right on target about the image AG Bell projects. If you go to any large Deaf conference (DeafFest, NAD, Deaf Expo, etc), among the many ASL-oriented booths you’ll also find booths with plenty of information and resources on hearing aids and cochlear implants. You’ll also see people with cochlear implants at these conventions. They are very welcome.

    It doesnt seem that AG Bell is reciprocating that much, if at all. I didn’t see any ASL resources in the exhibit area at the 2007 convention in Virginia. Then again, I only had a few minutes to browse as my two boys and I got thrown out by one of those potbellied security guards you described. The DBC event in Virginia was just as peaceful and we were clearly NOT welcome.

    The next day my family went to a Deaf Timberfest event and my oldest son — Darren, the late-deafened kid who lost his hearing at age 7 and is now 9 — noticed the difference. He felt at home, like he was welcome and accepted for exactly who he is. A kid who loves sign language.

    Darren has an ASL interpreter and itinerant teacher support at his school. His itinerant teacher — whose position is technically called itinerant hearing support teacher — gave him a folder with “Hearing Folder” written on it. It has some of the work they do together that really helps in making sure nothing slips between the cracks.

    Yesterday I picked up the folder to see if there were any new assignements and saw something that really touched my heart. Darren had crossed out “hearing” and scribbled in “Deaf” — so now he has a Deaf Folder. 🙂 I wish I had his self-esteem when I was his age!

    The only other thing I want to add is to caution the general public not to blame ASL or deafness for lack of good education and employment opportunities. I’ve repeated over and over in my blog that there are plenty of d/Deaf professionals doing VERY well in their careers. The ability to hear is not a prerequisite for success. It’s the ability to read and write and get a good postsecondary education. Several Deaf friends and relatives of mine have done so. One of them has a CI. A few wear hearing aids. Most have no form of amplification at all. All communicate primarily via ASL. All are doing very well in their respective careers.

    So we have a common goal: better access to education, better access to language (with an open mind towards which methodology works best for each individual), and, as you demonstrated at the latest DBC rally, an ability to reach out to each other and connect.

    Thanks again, Michael, I really appreciate it.

  27. Jenny, thank you for the clarification. I’ve corrected the posting and added links to the DBC’s website.

  28. Li-Li’s Mom said:

    “AGBell is out there promoting and offering accessible speech resources to deaf children, as well as scholarships, research, and tools. So, where’s our ASL-equivalent advocacy that offers more than a rap on the knuckles for going with a CI? Developing that type of organization would be a better use of resources than standing in the grass outside an AG Bell convention.”

    That says it all. AGBell is well funded, extremely wealthy, and offers free programs and materials and individual support for Deaf babies’ families. They will not support ASL as part of their agenda.

    On the other hand, the various Deaf agencies that support ASL paired with available AVT training are poorly funded and depend largely on small grants, volunteers and vocal Deaf people. They are awakening, but are not able to support parents in what they need most: mentoring, hand-holding, demonstrations of parent involvement and training.

    Well said, Li-Li’s Mom. I’d like to hear more discussion on this particular aspect.

  29. Li-Li’s mom –

    Thank you for putting together facts in a way I hadn’t conceived of before. It’s been bugging me that there aren’t more Deaf-run organizations both to provide services and educate, but the truth is money talks – and A.G. Bell likes talking. I used to work for the NY Society f/t Deaf, now gone because of funding issues; fewer and fewer Deaf schools are available and hiring.. Where’s the money from to support even paying for interpreters to communicate with parents prior to their taking ASL classes? I mean, phew…

  30. “A child who has grown up with 110-decibel losses in both ears will NEVER be able to speak and listen to English with the ease and grace of a native language, no matter how well he or she can read and write in it. It is not the better part of wisdom to ask them to forever try.”

    FYI: Hearing aids amplify sound well into the 120 db range. Speaking as someone with a 110 db bilateral hearing loss since infancy, I speak with no deaf accent at all because hearing aids helped me very much and I could hear myself talk.

    I agree with your point but just found the use of the “never” to be a bit narrow-minded.

  31. Felicity H. says

    (Dianrez: “They will not support ASL as part of their agenda.”)

    It’s doubtful that AG Bell will be able to survive the bad publicity generated by Seth Shulman’s new book which exposes Bell, without much doubt, as having been a patent thief. The only possible way that AG Bell will be able to survive this will be for them to change their name and then also embrace ASL and bilingualism.

  32. Linda Slovick says

    Hi Michael!

    I finally got my video of the DBC Milpitas rally edited. It’s at


    There’s no audio 🙁 but you can see you, Josh, and Abbie’s quote in sign in the middle… …and a bunch of cute kids.

    We are hoping to have a transcript ready sometime later this week, but there is still a lot you can understand now.

    I just tried to show what caught my eye during the afternoon. I hope you, Josh, Abbie, and your readers enjoy it!

    – Linda Slovick

  33. Linda Slovick says

    To Maryland,

    > Yes, gathering for a picnic on a sunny day, waving
    > signs, handing out flyers is lots of fun. But when it
    > gets to actually doing any work to make any of these
    > things happen, they are nowhere to be found.

    I agree that the Deaf Community and parents of newly-discovered deaf kids have a LOT of trouble finding each other.

    It would be helpful if audiologists had more information to share with parents of newly-discovered deaf kids, as audiologist so often shepherd the process of parent’s learning about their options.

    An organization named IMPACT has been trying to address this issue.

    Parents of newly-identified deaf children are now getting together, finding mentoring signing adults, and learning how to get needed support services.

    See http://www.deafkids.org for general info and news of an upcoming conference in Sacramento, CA.

    Hope this helps!

    – Linda Slovick

  34. Linda Slovick said:
    I agree that the Deaf Community and parents of newly-discovered deaf kids have a LOT of trouble finding each other.

    Then let’s do something to help that! Hearing parents need to be told as early as possible about ASL, about language acquisition, how lack of language effects their childs overall development and well being, how having an accessible language as early as possible will only help their child, never hurt them, in the long run!
    My son is now going on 6 years old and has been at CSDF for over a year now. He has an implant that he no longer uses, it didnt do anything for him. If only I knew then what I know now!
    And To Maryland,
    gathering for a friendly picket, waving signs, and handing out flyers is so much fun? It shouldn’t have to be done in the first place! How can you say that when it gets to actually doing any of the work to make any of these things happen, they are nowhere to be found???? They are there, they are more then willing, and it is happening. There are free ASL classes at CSDF, there are plenty of community events that are happening all the time, there’s awesome outreach services at the schools, tours happening on any given day……what are you expecting that you think they are nowhere to be found????
    Try this link….
    and this one…..

    Hope this helps,

  35. Linda Slovick says

    Hello Danielle,

    That first CSDF link for babies seems to have changed. It’s now:


    Parents who have already gone through this grinder must be allowed to tell their stories to the new parents.

    The trick is sorting out stuff that works from the sheer mass of “information” out there to the new parents trying to find their way via naive Google search.

    That still takes human recommendations like yours. Thanks!

    – Linda Slovick
    Linda.Slovick @ gmail.com


  1. Becoming bionic…

    A couple of months ago, the Washington Post ran an article by Michael Chorost, who has written a book about his experience with a cochlear implant. I meant to link it at the time, but got it lost on a different computer. The book is titled, Rebuilt, wi…

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