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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Dear Abby, Once Again... 

Read this particular entry from Dear Abby (I believe for today) that I read from Meryl's blog.

DEAR ABBY: A professional nanny in Ohio agonized over whether to tell the mother of twins in her care that one of them might be hearing-impaired. You advised her to notify the mother immediately, and that the children’s pediatrician should be told during their next scheduled visit.

I am a pediatrician and a trustee at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Massachusetts. Although I agree with your advice to speak to the infant’s mother, please let your readers know that there is some urgency involved. Infants should be screened at birth. If deaf infants receive hearing aids and appropriate therapy before 6 months of age, they have a good chance at normal speech and language development.

After 1 year of age, the chances for normal development begin to diminish. If any caregiver suspects hearing loss in an infant, that child’s hearing should be tested as soon as possible.

Concerned Pediatrician, Northampton, Mass.

DEAR CONCERNED: Thank you for your informative letter. I was not aware that the timing was critical. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of two hearing-impaired children. I have struggled to get our government representatives to understand the value of early detection and push to make it a law for all newborns to be tested. Hearing impairment can be detected while the child is still in the womb, and Crib-o-Grams can detect the impairment before the child leaves the hospital. - Been There, Done That in Michigan

DEAR B.T.D.T.: I’m sure many parents will be interested to know that prenatal testing can be done. Thank you.

I'm all in favor of early detection but hey, let's not forget the other side. Why is it that we must be concerned for the child's ability to have normal speech? Why not look at Plan A and Plan B? Plan A for early detection to put the child in speech therapy and fit the child with a hearing aid. (At this point, I cannot support cochlear implants in children. I believe that option should be reserved for adolescents and onward.) Plan B for encouraging the parents learn signs so that the child will normal language acquisition and not be left out in conversations and such. Because you know, not EVERY deaf child will have some hearing senses.

There are some Deaf people, who truly hate speech therapy and "helping aids" because they do NOT WORK at all for them. They have no feelings in the ear, even if they're standing next to the blaring speakers. If they cannot hear that, even with a "helping aid", then what's the friggin' point of making them learn to pronounce sounds or utter words?!?! No wonder they hate it!

Now for those that have little or some hearing, then that is a different story. I understand that the parents do not want the deaf child to be marginalized and be a part of the majority. However, that just doesn't really work that way. Ella Mae Lentz, a well-known Deaf poet, said it best in a poem of hers, which I cannot remember the title. (KT? Help!) Simply that the deaf child is the parents' and all that but really that deaf child will eventually grow up and be a member of our people.

"Hearing-impaired"...ugh, don't get me started on that! People think that this is the P.C. word for Deaf people but it's really an insult. Just call us Deaf!

Keep in mind that this is all in a nutshell. I know there are bigger issues than presented here.