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Unread 01-11-2009, 04:46 AM   #1
Miss-Delectable
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Change the future for a deaf child

Change the future for a deaf child | thespectrum.com | The Spectrum

Today, I want to talk about Hannah, a bright, sociable 7 year old who is the beloved youngest of my friends LeAnn and Rob Wankier's seven children.

My reasons for dedicating my "platform" to Hannah are similar to reasons why Ed Yeates wrote "Insurance Company Won't Cover Girl's Bilateral Cochlear Implant" which was broadcast on Dec. 10 at 10:10 p.m. by KSL-TV.

Hannah, adopted from China as an infant and profoundly deaf, received a cochlear implant in July 2006. Her implant coincided with her starting school and allowed her to learn to read and begin vital socialization. However, her progress is limited because her right-sided implant only goes to her left brain where reasoning takes place. She can't receive information through her left ear which would feed the right hemisphere of her brain where creative, social events are processed.

She desperately needs another implant to become a fully functional adult. With bilateral implants, Hannah's hearing will become much more normal, because she will receive input from two ears, rather than one. Her young brain will process information, switching between hemispheres according to whether she's listening to her teacher explain fractions or giggling with a friend about an upcoming play date.

Unfortunately Hannah lives in Utah where bilateral implants aren't covered by insurance, and her parents are small business owners who have paid tens of thousands in premiums which they - rightly, in my opinion - think should pay the approximately $45,000 tab. If Hannah lived in any other state, she'd, most likely, have already had both implants and be able to hear through both ears.

SelectHealth, the insurance carrier for the Wankiers, is the largest health insurance company in the state, and has arbitrarily proclaimed that bilateral cochlear implants are "experimental" and, thus, have denied Hannah - and every other deaf child in Utah - this life-enhancing surgery.

Rob and LeAnn have been trying to get the second implant for Hannah since they realized how effective the first implant was. They want Hannah to have skills their older six children share, and they want her to have the same chance for successful adulthood.

However, Hannah's brain is growing and changing; its ability to adapt and utilize the cochlear technology is quickly diminishing as she ages. The window of opportunity is starting to close.

When the insurance company denied coverage, they said, "We do intend in the coming months to do a thorough re-assessment of the exclusion of bilateral cochlear implants, and will utilize the extensive information that you provided as part of that review."

Sure, this ponderous, huge company will "review" and "re-assess" for months and years, while Hannah grows up. Those decision makers have ignored the preponderance of research that proves bilateral cochlear implants are as medically necessary as hip replacements, artificial heart valves, and pace makers. Implants allow deaf people to hear and function a world of sound.

That denial hurts vulnerable children, their families, friends and society in general.

You can help by using your voice. Together, we can right this wrong. If you edit a company newsletter, work for a publication, have a blog or Web site, teach a class, or have any sort of audience, add your voice to mine. Additionally, you can flood SelectHealth with letters:

SelectHealth

4646 W. Lake Park Boulevard

P. O. Box 30192

Salt Lake City, UT 84130

You can also send e-mails to their public relations department: Jason Burgess at Jason.burgess@selecthealth.org and Greg Reid at greg.reid@selecthealth.org. You can urge the Utah State Insurance Commission to mandate bilateral cochlear implants, and you can lobby the state legislature as the 2009 session gets under way.

Recruit your friends and acquaintances to join this simple, important crusade, a crusade that will make a huge difference to Hannah and to every other child who cannot hear through both ears.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 05:57 AM   #2
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She desperately needs another implant to become a fully functional adult.

and deaf people without implants are not fully functional adults? What a load of BS!
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Unread 01-11-2009, 07:33 AM   #3
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I think this is just a tad audist. Makes it sound like she'll die if she doesn't get another CI.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 07:59 AM   #4
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I think this is just a tad audist. Makes it sound like she'll die if she doesn't get another CI.
Yeah. The deaf people already have a solution... ASL but too many hearing people think otherwise.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 10:32 AM   #5
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Haha, relax guys. When someone is asking for money/support, they exaggerate greatly in order to give that guilty feeling that if they don't get the money or do something, something bad happens!

Would they be able to get a lot of support if they said "We'd like to do a 2nd cochlear implant. It may or may not help. Please do something."
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Unread 01-11-2009, 10:36 AM   #6
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The second paragraph is completely and totally innccurrate.

The rest of it is completely audist.

I find it hard to "relax" after reading posts like this, as they perpetuate stereotypes of the deaf, no matter what their intent is. These parents, and their friends, would do much better to educate themselves about deafness. They would truly be doing a service for the child they adopted that way.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Daredevel7 View Post
Haha, relax guys. When someone is asking for money/support, they exaggerate greatly in order to give that guilty feeling that if they don't get the money or do something, something bad happens!

Would they be able to get a lot of support if they said "We'd like to do a 2nd cochlear implant. It may or may not help. Please do something."
I will never relax about something like this. As a teacher I deal with this negative view of deaf people and the devastating impacts on the children on a constant basis. Until hearing people adopt the holistic view of deaf children rather as seeing them not being able to function, I will never relax.

If some people don't see the big deal is, think about how many hearing people read this article and are led to believe that deaf people aren't capable of anything without getting implants. To me, I take it personal cuz that means more hearing people will look down on me cuz I don't have implants when I have proved to be successful in achieving my goals in life.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daredevel7 View Post
Haha, relax guys. When someone is asking for money/support, they exaggerate greatly in order to give that guilty feeling that if they don't get the money or do something, something bad happens!

Would they be able to get a lot of support if they said "We'd like to do a 2nd cochlear implant. It may or may not help. Please do something."
The fact that they're so desperate for a second CI and haven't considered all their options is already a tad audist. Let alone the actual format of the article. "...hearing impaired.... hearing impaired...."
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:13 AM   #9
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She desperately needs another implant to become a fully functional adult.
That is simply not true.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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The fact that they're so desperate for a second CI and haven't considered all their options is already a tad audist. Let alone the actual format of the article. "...hearing impaired.... hearing impaired...."
Exactly! That term is audist and puts a negative label on deaf/hoh people.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:21 AM   #11
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first of all, the child in this story isn't the only one to be denied a bilateral ci, so what makes her case so special?

second, insisting that hannah needs a second ci in order to become a "fully functional adult" is insulting.

third, as jillio pointed out, the information expressed in paragraph 2 is entirely false.

thanks to this article, hearing people are going to walk away with even more inaccurate information and negative stereotypes about deafness and ci's.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:21 AM   #12
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Another thing they failed to recognize is that the two brain hemispheres are connected. Their claim that she can only process auditory information with one side of her brain, would be applicable if she had the two hemispheres separated. But she doesn't. So claiming she can only process sound with one side of her brain makes no sense at all, and just sounds like an excuse to help poor Hannah to socialize.

Quote:
Her young brain will process information, switching between hemispheres according to whether she's listening to her teacher explain fractions or giggling with a friend about an upcoming play date.
Her young brain already does that.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:24 AM   #13
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i don't see the parents wanting their child to have a second ci as audist. if a child does not perform well with one ci, it is understandable why parents would want to have another. having said that, it would be nice if the parents could teach hannah asl so she has another form of communication she can use in addition to the auditory input she receives from her ci.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:26 AM   #14
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It didn't say that Deaf people are useless without implants, it said that this girl will be able to function better with 2 implants. Which is true! If she is an oral language user she will hear much more normally (not normal) with two ears than with one.
Who says the parents are uneducated about Deafness? Where does it say that the child doesn't use ASL? Just because they did something different than you did does NOT make it wrong. Geez
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:26 AM   #15
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the only exception to hannah's ability to process what she hears is the fact that she could have auditory neuropathy. some children with AN do not benefit from ci's while others do. it makes me wonder if she has been evaluated for AN to begin with.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:27 AM   #16
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It didn't say that Deaf people are useless without implants, it said that this girl will be able to function better with 2 implants. Which is true! If she is an oral language user she will hear much more normally (not normal) with two ears than with one.
Who says the parents are uneducated about Deafness? Where does it say that the child doesn't use ASL? Just because they did something different than you did does NOT make it wrong. Geez
i have to agree with you there, faire_jour. just because hannah's parents want her to have a second ci does NOT make them audist.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:31 AM   #17
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It didn't say that Deaf people are useless without implants, it said that this girl will be able to function better with 2 implants. Which is true! If she is an oral language user she will hear much more normally (not normal) with two ears than with one.
Who says the parents are uneducated about Deafness? Where does it say that the child doesn't use ASL? Just because they did something different than you did does NOT make it wrong. Geez
In order for the child to be a fully functional adult she needs another implant.....uuuhhh ok

As a deaf person who has to fight against and live with prejudice, discrimination, and disrespect all of my life, this is a very audist view on deafness..
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:32 AM   #18
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I don't think that Hannah's parents are completely audist as much as the article is. The article frames as if it is a largely desperate situation and Hannah just won't be able to make it as a single CI person. I can understand having two CI's helps with locating sound and also lets you gather more auditory information, but she's not going to lack a
Quote:
chance for successful adulthood
with only unilateral CI instead of bilateral.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:34 AM   #19
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Another thing they failed to recognize is that the two brain hemispheres are connected. Their claim that she can only process auditory information with one side of her brain, would be applicable if she had the two hemispheres separated. But she doesn't. So claiming she can only process sound with one side of her brain makes no sense at all, and just sounds like an excuse to help poor Hannah to socialize.

Her young brain already does that.
Exactly. As does anyone whose corpus collusum is intact.

And there is no evidence anywhere that a bilateral helps with socialization.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:36 AM   #20
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In order for the child to be a fully functional adult she needs another implant.....uuuhhh ok

As a deaf person who has to fight against and live with prejudice, discrimination, and disrespect all of my life, this is a very audist view on deafness..
Exactly. The implication is that she will never be fully functioning without a bilateral. How insulting! And I agree. It is an extremely audist statement.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:37 AM   #21
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I don't think that Hannah's parents are completely audist as much as the article is. The article frames as if it is a largely desperate situation and Hannah just won't be able to make it as a single CI person. I can understand having two CI's helps with locating sound and also lets you gather more auditory information, but she's not going to lack a with only unilateral CI instead of bilateral.
Or without any CI at all.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:37 AM   #22
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I don't think that Hannah's parents are completely audist as much as the article is. The article frames as if it is a largely desperate situation and Hannah just won't be able to make it as a single CI person. I can understand having two CI's helps with locating sound and also lets you gather more auditory information, but she's not going to lack a with only unilateral CI instead of bilateral.
<good post>
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:38 AM   #23
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It didn't say that Deaf people are useless without implants, it said that this girl will be able to function better with 2 implants. Which is true! If she is an oral language user she will hear much more normally (not normal) with two ears than with one.Who says the parents are uneducated about Deafness? Where does it say that the child doesn't use ASL? Just because they did something different than you did does NOT make it wrong. Geez
That is not a guarantee.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:39 AM   #24
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I don't think that Hannah's parents are completely audist as much as the article is. The article frames as if it is a largely desperate situation and Hannah just won't be able to make it as a single CI person. I can understand having two CI's helps with locating sound and also lets you gather more auditory information, but she's not going to lack a with only unilateral CI instead of bilateral.
Perhaps her parents aren't, but the author of this plea most certainly is. And, one could assume that her parents approved it.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:40 AM   #25
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Or without any CI at all.
Exactly. Deaf can lead a fulfulling life without CI. Plus there is no mention of what Hannah might want.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:41 AM   #26
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Exactly. Deaf can lead a fulfulling life without CI. Plus there is no mention of what Hannah might want.
Correct.
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:41 AM   #27
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Although I am pretty sure they exaggerated things to manipulate emotions, they shouldn't have said that she needed 2 CIs to be "a fully functional adult." That whole paragraph is freaking retarded. Are we put together in pieces?

I get the feeling that this is more of the journalists' fault than the actual parents' themselves. I mean, read the subtext, and you'll see that the parents are trying to do as much as they can for their child and noticed any slowing down of her progression and thus taking action (even though you may not agree with the action they took). They are willing to fight insurance and so on. The person who is writing the article is trying to make an extreme story out of it. You can even tell by the way it's written.

"The window of opportunity is starting to close."
"they want her to have the same chance for successful adulthood."
"That denial hurts vulnerable children, their families, friends and society in general."
"to every other child who cannot hear through both ears."

I find this quote particularly HILARIOUS:
"research that proves bilateral cochlear implants are as medically necessary as hip replacements, artificial heart valves, and pace makers."

Thank GOD I got the implant a month ago, who knows how much longer I had to live!!!
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:42 AM   #28
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Exactly. The implication is that she will never be fully functioning without a bilateral. How insulting! And I agree. It is an extremely audist statement.
The parents r just as responsible for spreading the misconception as the reporter is because they r using the media to get a 2nd implant for their child and to put audists statements like that can hurt a lot of deaf people who have worked hard to overcome the obstacles put on them by hearing people! Nobody can convince me otherwise...I am disgusted by this!
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:44 AM   #29
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That is not a guarantee.
Can you show me any research that shows that there is any percentage of children who receive a bilateral implant and their fuctionung hearing decreases?
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Unread 01-11-2009, 11:44 AM   #30
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Although I am pretty sure they exaggerated things to manipulate emotions, they shouldn't have said that she needed 2 CIs to be "a fully functional adult." That whole paragraph is freaking retarded. Are we put together in pieces?

I get the feeling that this is more of the journalists' fault than the actual parents' themselves. I mean, read the subtext, and you'll see that the parents are trying to do as much as they can for their child and noticed any slowing down of her progression and thus taking action (even though you may not agree with the action they took). They are willing to fight insurance and so on. The person who is writing the article is trying to make an extreme story out of it. You can even tell by the way it's written.

"The window of opportunity is starting to close."
"they want her to have the same chance for successful adulthood."
"That denial hurts vulnerable children, their families, friends and society in general."
"to every other child who cannot hear through both ears."

I find this quote particularly HILARIOUS:
"research that proves bilateral cochlear implants are as medically necessary as hip replacements, artificial heart valves, and pace makers."

Thank GOD I got the implant a month ago, who knows how much longer I had to live!!!
OMG, yes! You were living on borrowed time, my friend. You could have suffered a fatal "ear attack" at any time!
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