Crystal’s Confused…and More on ECA

I’ve been reading more blogs and commentary about cochlear implants. The one in particular that really had me thinking this week was Barb DiGi’s post at Deaf Progressivism about a kindergarten aged Chinese boy with a cochlear implant, which includes a video of him singing a little song.

Now, I don’t profess to know Chinese sign language, or the spoken Chinese language for that matter, but it appears to me that the little boy is using some signs while he’s singing. Upon his “big finish” and taking a bow, everyone around him clapped. (Well, that’s not so unusual, is it? I always clapped for my little nieces and nephews when they sang me a song or showed off something new they had just learned.)

Then the gentleman sitting next to the boy (I’m guessing it is his father), rubbed the boy’s arm, got his attention and said something directly to the boy that I couldn’t make out. After this, the adults began chatting, but they were not talking TO the little boy, they were talking to each other – for about 30 seconds. So yeah, the boy looked a little bored for a half a minute there. Not unlike most young kids when situated in the middle of a bunch of grownups talking – even hearing kids.

I don’t think that this short video clip provides enough basis for us to judge this boy, or his family, or how his education and development will progress from here (i.e., will he continue to be exposed to the Deaf community and sign language, as he should IMHO and I can only hope he will be.)

I do, however, understand the concern about this video being used as a “cochlear implant success story”, and it could be misleading to many people, including hearing parents of a deaf child who are considering the option of cochlear implants.

This is yet another example of why I support the Equal Communication Access Campaign. This website is in the process of being built to be an educational resource. To raise awareness of the Deaf community’s lack of full and equal communication access. From captioning, to relay services, to interpreters, to language accessibility in education including ASL (American Sign Language) for deaf children in our country….folks, the average hearing person who does not know any Deaf people simply is not exposed to these issues enough (if at all) to understand their importance.

At one time I did not know anything about cochlear implants and how they worked, and what was involved beyond the surgery. Most of my hearing friends are in that same boat now. When my hearing friends/acquaintances learn that I have a close friend who is Deaf and they ask various questions, I take the opportunity to share with them what I have learned about cochlear implants – emphasizing that while they may work very well for some, they may not work as well for others, that they are an option, a tool, but not a “cure” – and that I believe ASL needs to be included in education, with or without cochlear implants.

Awareness and education. That is what we need to get out there folks, especially into the hearing community.

That being said, the Equal Communication Access blogging/vlogging contest was organized to support the efforts of the Equal Communication Access Campaign. The contest announcement and entry info is being hosted at Deaf Pagan Crossroads (as the owner of that site is the contest coordinator) but the entries are posted on the ECA (yes, I’m getting tired of typing out the complete words) website, with links to the blogger/vlogger’s post on their own site.

I feel that including a good collection of links there to blogs and vlogs on the subject, that people can read/watch and learn about all aspects of ECA from various individuals’ personal experiences, will greatly help to raise awareness and bring about better understanding among the general population. And it is our hope that the ECA site will help to gain more support in making Equal Communication Access a reality.

I’m going with the idea that once this website is built up with a good amount of information, we pass it around, get it out there to as many people as possible. A suggestion was made that everyone send the link to three hearing people. That theory of I will tell three friends, and each of them will tell three friends…etc. Hey, it works!

So why is Crystal confused you ask? (Well, maybe you didn’t, but I’m gonna tell ya anyway.)

I am confused as to why we have only received a few entries since the contest was announced about 3 weeks ago, for which the deadline is August 25th.

And quite frankly, I’m a bit disappointed. As a judge in the contest, I was actually looking forward to much of my free time outside of work being swamped with reading blogs and watching vlogs on ECA over a few weeks time. There are certainly other things I could be doing with the end of my summer, but I was really excited about this contest.

On a personal level, being that I have Deaf and Hard of Hearing friends and family, being that I have experienced a hearing loss myself, I want to learn more! And I want to do my share of advocating for ECA. You can help!

I know there were quite a number of v/blogs regarding the Deaf Bilingual Coalition and A.G. Bell conference, and some have suggested to us that this had the Deaf community’s attention resulting in support for the ECA contest having been low, (as the contest was announced just before the protest.) To this I ask you to please check out my dear friend’s blog regarding the contest, touching on DBC and ECA. Also, the protest was at the end of July. Now we’re in mid-August, soooo….what’s up?

It seems to me that DBC and ECA have some common goals. So why don’t we all work together, in a positive and productive way, to support Equal Communication Access for all!

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12 thoughts on “Crystal’s Confused…and More on ECA

  1. Hey Crystal… I really, really want to enter the contest!

    But I’m going through an emotional distress right now that I can’t think clearly. I’m too angry to even do anything right now.

    No one wants to see an angry video, do they? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

    I really hope others will enter – I LOVE contests!!!!!

    Come on, people – do it before your kids go back to school! πŸ˜‰

    Hugs,
    Iam

  2. Perhaps the deadline for the contest should be pushed forward to say, end of October. Right now too many parents are busy with school and college kids going back, vacations, starting plans themselves for work projects, etc. A little more blogging on this should get things underway quicker, too.

  3. I do intend to enter the contest. Other more important things kept popping up unexpectedly that I have to postpone spending some time writing. It’s more likely, I will submit it two hours before the posted deadline. πŸ˜›

  4. I agreed with Dianrez– I think the month of August is busy time with people going through transitions– back to school, back to work (if educators, interpreters, etc), or moving! I fall in the category of the third one.

  5. IamMine – I can understand. As a matter of fact, I had to postpone my first post on the subject, “Why I Support Equal Communication Access” for a few days because, clutzy me, had fallen hard, cut my head open and suffered a concussion. I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly the rest of that week. I can only imagine what I would have come up with trying to write a blog then – you guys probably would have thought I was off my rocker! πŸ˜‰ I hope things work out and you are feeling better soon.

    Dianrez – You bring up a good point. We had originally allowed a month for the contest entries figuring on some people having vacations this time of year. Being that my kids are four-legged, I hadn’t thought of the back to school and off to college stuff. Thanks for your comments – gives us a few things to think about.

    WAD – Though I try really hard not to procrastinate, I often work better in that last-minute-under-pressure state too. πŸ˜‰ We look forward to your entry.

  6. Hmm. One factor could be that not everyone has a blog. I know I’ve heard people say they have something they really want to say about a topic, but they don’t have a blog. Some may be able to find a blogger willing to host their entry, but many may not be able to do so.

    How about allowing people to enter *without* a blog, since entries will be posted on the ECA site anyway?

    My second thought is, yes, postpone the deadline for a while. This is a very crazy time of year for many of us.

    Third, maybe your judges could continue to write posts that get us thinking, keep the momentum going, and all that? (Natch, they wouldn’t actually be entered.) If that’s a concern, then judges could directly contact bloggers/people they personally know and ask them to write something. Emphasize that they can write simply to get more info in a one-stop center (ECA site) and don’t focus on the contest. Personal contact is a great way to get people to do stuff, I find.

  7. Nothing’s personal, perhaps it’s time to call it a day and save face. Just didn’t work out for various reasons, IMO.

  8. Hello-
    I was wondering what exactly is this “blog” suppose to be about?
    Hearing? Deaf/deaf people?

  9. Hi Ronda,
    This post and my last are about why I support the Equal Communication Access campaign, and why I accepted the offer to be a judge in the ECA v/blog contest. So in essence, they are about both Deaf and hearing people…my support of my Deaf friends in advocating for Equal Communication Access, and my desire to help educate my hearing friends (and the hearing population in general) as to what ECA is, and why it is so important. Not to mention exploring issues resulting from my own hearing loss (progressive in one ear, at this point.)

    While there are only a couple of comments on my last post from hearing friends (none on this one), several have read them and commented to me via email or in person, and I have provided them with other resources where they can learn more, and suggested they check out sites like DeafRead.

    As a whole, this blogsite was created at the suggestion of one of my closest friends, who blogs at Deaf Pagan Crossroads. She hosted a couple of my blogs at her site earlier this year, before I had learned how to do this blogging thing on my own. Aside from being my mentor in Deaf culture and ASL, we are both of Pagan spirituality and she is also my High Priestess. So I may share some of my thoughts, rants, life stories etc. from Pagan perspectives here as well. There are many aspects that make up the whole of who I am.

    Thank you for stopping by! I hope you will visit again. πŸ™‚

  10. drmzz, I am guessing you mean just about the contest when you say “it’s time to call it a day” and “it didn’t work out for various reasons” – not the whole ECA project itself. If so, I agree, for whatever reasons, it didn’t seem to work out well at this time.

    But my comments & questions were more so in attempts to find out if there is enough of an interest in the ECA campaign and contest, that maybe it would have better results if the deadline was extended or it was held at a different time of year – or if there just isn’t enough interest in the contest that we will be able to generate the desired results. As Deaf Pundit asked on her blog regarding the fact that there have only been a few entries, “Is it because the ECA contest thing looks boring?” “What can we do to make it more attractive to you guys?”

    On another note, I enjoyed watching the videos of you and Barb practicing your sign interpreting for the concert. I am a music buff myself. So how was the concert?

    Jenny, thank you for your comments. While I am aware that not everyone has a blog of their own – I don’t think we’ve had anyone contact us regarding the fact that they would like to enter the contest but do not have their own blog. (Judges, contest coordinators? Have we had this issue?) If that were to be the case, I’m sure we could accommodate them by hosting a blog entry on one of our own sites.

    I agree that the judges and contest coordinators posting their own v/blogs on the subject help to get the ball rolling and keep the momentum going. Ocean at Deaf Pagan Crossroads, and Deaf Pundit at The Deaf Edge have made several posts on the subject.

    Barb DiGi, one of the judges, posted an excellent video starring her kids and one of their friends, and the video was recently re-posted at Deaf Pagan Crossroads,
    http://deafpagan.com/2007/08/11/kids-share-their-thoughts-on-equal-communication-access/

    Allison Kaftan, another judge, wrote a great post on captioning issues and the ECA contest that can be found at DeafDC,
    http://www.deafdc.com/blog/?p=975

    So, while these are not, for obvious reasons, entered into the contest. We are supporting ECA by blogging about it as well.

  11. ECA contest is a great concept. I think the issue is the timing. August is traditionally a busy month, with many people taking time off from their usual schedules for vacations before their kids go back to school. Then the development of DBC and the AGB social gathering, the very first of its kind, are generating great controversies among the Deaf Community, distracting them from this wonderful project.

    I would strongly recommend that the ECA team consider about extending the deadline to a time when everything is calmer. I would hate to see the ECA contest discarded due to poor timing. πŸ™‚

  12. Thank you mishkazena…and everyone who has provided some feedback. Your input helps us to determine how to proceed on our course of action. The judges and contest coordinators are currently discussing this.

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