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!