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Unread 10-28-2011, 11:43 AM   #1
Abby Nicole
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Always the elephant in the room...

Hi alldeaf.com,

Newbie here, I've been a long-time lurker and decided it's time to participate. It's refreshing to relate with others on topics I keep hidden or cannot successfully explain to family, friends, associates and strangers.

Short background: 30-something newlywed, unemployed, congenital severe-profound bilateral deafness. I wear Oticon BTEs, mainstreamed growing up ("won" an AG Bell award in 7th grade for being oral deaf), and have absolutely no exposure to ASL, Deaf culture, and the closest relation I have to others with deafness are my elderly grandparents. My family's response upon discovery of a deaf daughter was to throw money at it; I always have the best equipment on the market.

And oh, I'm an excellent faker. I've faked being a hearing person for so long, I've lost my sense of self and what makes me happy in life. This has been exacerbated by what I experienced as a BWW bride and twice laid-off job hunter these past few years. To add insult to injury, my hearing is worsening.

I want to change several areas of my life (ie, learn ASL), but it's hard to undo audist brainwashing and how I've set up my fake "hearing" life. As an example, embarrassed to admit this, I feel uncomfortable watching strangers sign yet I wish I could join them. There's a sign language school one mile from my home, yet I haven't walked in the door. Messed up, right?

Sidenote: I visited a therapist for a few years in my 20s, and he told me I wasn't actually depressed or needed meds, but that my life was challenging and I had a right to grieve and be angry. Of course, health insurance ran out after that little breakthrough session, so I'm perpetually aware of being an angry person grieving for the hearing I'll never have.

DH is my soul mate, and he tries his best to comfort and help on my bad days or bad experiences. But support and advice from those who share similar experiences is invaluable; I'm interested in making new friends and reading your different views and lifestyles. Hence, hello alldeaf.com, I'm looking forward to being a part of your community - thank you for reading.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Abby Nicole View Post
Hi alldeaf.com
My family's response upon discovery of a deaf daughter was to throw money at it; I always have the best equipment on the market.

. This has been exacerbated by what I experienced as a BWW bride and twice laid-off job hunter these past few years. To add insult to injury, my hearing is worsening.



.
Cool. Maybe your family would like to adopt me. I would love to always have the newest best equipment!

BWW= Big Wacky Woman>>
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Unread 10-28-2011, 02:07 PM   #3
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From one hearing "faker" to another, welcome. I'm new here too and am relieved to find there's the possibility I could find people like me.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 02:16 PM   #4
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Welcome to AD Abby! I joined in July, so I"m still new also.

I'm learning ASL now also. I'm studying at Lifeprint.com (just finished lesson #18) and going to ASL meetups (2 so far). Although I'm not dyslexic, I feel like I'm dyslexic when it comes to sign. So probably learning off the net is best for me -- I can take my time figuring out which direction my hands are supose to be starting off at and moving in. But the main reason I'm bringing up those two options is just to suggest other ways to start off learning ASL. However, I have noticed that most people at this forum think formal classes are best.

Like Botts, I was wondering what BWW stands for also.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Abby Nicole View Post
Hi alldeaf.com,

Newbie here, I've been a long-time lurker and decided it's time to participate. It's refreshing to relate with others on topics I keep hidden or cannot successfully explain to family, friends, associates and strangers.

Short background: 30-something newlywed, unemployed, congenital severe-profound bilateral deafness. I wear Oticon BTEs, mainstreamed growing up ("won" an AG Bell award in 7th grade for being oral deaf), and have absolutely no exposure to ASL, Deaf culture, and the closest relation I have to others with deafness are my elderly grandparents. My family's response upon discovery of a deaf daughter was to throw money at it; I always have the best equipment on the market.

And oh, I'm an excellent faker. I've faked being a hearing person for so long, I've lost my sense of self and what makes me happy in life. This has been exacerbated by what I experienced as a BWW bride and twice laid-off job hunter these past few years. To add insult to injury, my hearing is worsening.

I want to change several areas of my life (ie, learn ASL), but it's hard to undo audist brainwashing and how I've set up my fake "hearing" life. As an example, embarrassed to admit this, I feel uncomfortable watching strangers sign yet I wish I could join them. There's a sign language school one mile from my home, yet I haven't walked in the door. Messed up, right?

Sidenote: I visited a therapist for a few years in my 20s, and he told me I wasn't actually depressed or needed meds, but that my life was challenging and I had a right to grieve and be angry. Of course, health insurance ran out after that little breakthrough session, so I'm perpetually aware of being an angry person grieving for the hearing I'll never have.

DH is my soul mate, and he tries his best to comfort and help on my bad days or bad experiences. But support and advice from those who share similar experiences is invaluable; I'm interested in making new friends and reading your different views and lifestyles. Hence, hello alldeaf.com, I'm looking forward to being a part of your community - thank you for reading.

Hello Abby, yep you made a step in the right direction !we all know.how to fake it and nod our head in agreement to something we didn't understand etc.. welcome to all deaf, its a nice place to chat and learn from others.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 02:41 PM   #6
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BWW= Big Wacky Woman>>
You'll have to pardon me, I've spent the last 18 months posting on wedding forums with all their crazy wedding codes.

"BWW": big, white wedding. The kind of ballroom wedding where hundreds of guests are speaking french to you over the din of DJ dance music and party chatter, and you just repeatedly nod your head and mutter "thank you thank you" (crossing fingers this response works) before making a desperate escape for the bar or powder room - and you're the BRIDE!

I can thank my large Ital-American family for pressuring me into a BWW; they would've held a vendetta against me for years had I not. They couldn't have cared less that I didn't hear a word at my wedding or my wedding vows. That makes me feel like a big wacky woman for sure.

Thank guys, for responding. It's nice to meet you.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 02:47 PM   #7
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Have fun with us, and thanks for the definition!
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Unread 10-28-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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However, I have noticed that most people at this forum think formal classes are best.
Online classes definitely seem attractive because it's private and you control the pace. Can anyone explain why formal classes are believed to be the best?

I also wonder who these in-person ASL classes are geared towards - hearing people wanting to learn or oral deaf people like myself, late bloomers? I use a FM system for classes, so is the instructor going to be wearing 20 different FM microphones?

Since my parents are still chucking guilt money left and right at deaf "cures", is it possible to hire an instructor to teach private classes for my family? This may be the only way I can persuade them to give sign language a try...
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Unread 10-28-2011, 05:55 PM   #9
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By the way, I've been checking out the other "introduce yourself" threads, and there's some blunt and/or brutal responses to the hearing ASL students. Getting first day of class jitters here, so any posting advice or etiquette lessons would be greatly appreciated! Thx
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Unread 10-28-2011, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abby Nicole View Post
By the way, I've been checking out the other "introduce yourself" threads, and there's some blunt and/or brutal responses to the hearing ASL students. Getting first day of class jitters here, so any posting advice or etiquette lessons would be greatly appreciated! Thx
I can't be 100% sure as we are a different culture, but the main thing everyone looks for is respect, tolerance and a willingness to embrace the deaf world. Hearing people "doing" Auslan for work, not really making an effort got a rough ride here. Others learning for themselves, spouses or friends were accepted very easily.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 07:47 PM   #11
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Unread 10-28-2011, 08:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Abby Nicole View Post
Hi alldeaf.com,

Newbie here, I've been a long-time lurker and decided it's time to participate. It's refreshing to relate with others on topics I keep hidden or cannot successfully explain to family, friends, associates and strangers.

Short background: 30-something newlywed, unemployed, congenital severe-profound bilateral deafness. I wear Oticon BTEs, mainstreamed growing up ("won" an AG Bell award in 7th grade for being oral deaf), and have absolutely no exposure to ASL, Deaf culture, and the closest relation I have to others with deafness are my elderly grandparents. My family's response upon discovery of a deaf daughter was to throw money at it; I always have the best equipment on the market.

And oh, I'm an excellent faker. I've faked being a hearing person for so long, I've lost my sense of self and what makes me happy in life. This has been exacerbated by what I experienced as a BWW bride and twice laid-off job hunter these past few years. To add insult to injury, my hearing is worsening.

I want to change several areas of my life (ie, learn ASL), but it's hard to undo audist brainwashing and how I've set up my fake "hearing" life. As an example, embarrassed to admit this, I feel uncomfortable watching strangers sign yet I wish I could join them. There's a sign language school one mile from my home, yet I haven't walked in the door. Messed up, right?

Sidenote: I visited a therapist for a few years in my 20s, and he told me I wasn't actually depressed or needed meds, but that my life was challenging and I had a right to grieve and be angry. Of course, health insurance ran out after that little breakthrough session, so I'm perpetually aware of being an angry person grieving for the hearing I'll never have.

DH is my soul mate, and he tries his best to comfort and help on my bad days or bad experiences. But support and advice from those who share similar experiences is invaluable; I'm interested in making new friends and reading your different views and lifestyles. Hence, hello alldeaf.com, I'm looking forward to being a part of your community - thank you for reading.
No, thank you for sharing. I do hope some of the hearing parents who visit from time to time will read, and be impacted by, what you have had to share.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #13
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By the way, I've been checking out the other "introduce yourself" threads, and there's some blunt and/or brutal responses to the hearing ASL students. Getting first day of class jitters here, so any posting advice or etiquette lessons would be greatly appreciated! Thx
That's because we always get an influx of them wanting us to do their assignments for them right around midterm or the end of the semester.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 08:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Abby Nicole View Post
You'll have to pardon me, I've spent the last 18 months posting on wedding forums with all their crazy wedding codes.

"BWW": big, white wedding. The kind of ballroom wedding where hundreds of guests are speaking french to you over the din of DJ dance music and party chatter, and you just repeatedly nod your head and mutter "thank you thank you" (crossing fingers this response works) before making a desperate escape for the bar or powder room - and you're the BRIDE!

I can thank my large Ital-American family for pressuring me into a BWW; they would've held a vendetta against me for years had I not. They couldn't have cared less that I didn't hear a word at my wedding or my wedding vows. That makes me feel like a big wacky woman for sure.

Thank guys, for responding. It's nice to meet you.
Hi, and greetings from another Italian-American! (Though only on my dad's side.)

Welcome to AllDeaf, and congratulations on your new marriage! May you have a lifetime of creating happy memories together. It's a pity that your family pressured you into having a type of wedding that you didn't really want, if I'm reading your correctly here. But I'm confused - why were you surrounded by people speaking French if you have a big Italian family?

Anyway, glad you got through it, and it's great to hear that your DH is loving and supportive. I take it he is hearing? Is he going to go to ASL classes with you, if you decide to go?

Everyone learns in different ways. You could always try the Lifeprint on-line lessons, and maybe get a feel for it before you start formal classes. Step by step, you'll figure out what makes the most sense for you, I'm sure.
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Unread 10-28-2011, 09:29 PM   #15
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welcome to AD!
I had worn Oticon BTE hearing aids for 7 years now and I'm on my 2nd Oticons which is pretty neat (see my hearing aid in the picture) *my 1st pair of Oticons is crap now due to hearing change*
for me, I ♥ to fool people with my lipreading
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Unread 10-28-2011, 10:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abby Nicole View Post
Hi alldeaf.com,

Newbie here, I've been a long-time lurker and decided it's time to participate. It's refreshing to relate with others on topics I keep hidden or cannot successfully explain to family, friends, associates and strangers.

Short background: 30-something newlywed, unemployed, congenital severe-profound bilateral deafness. I wear Oticon BTEs, mainstreamed growing up ("won" an AG Bell award in 7th grade for being oral deaf), and have absolutely no exposure to ASL, Deaf culture, and the closest relation I have to others with deafness are my elderly grandparents. My family's response upon discovery of a deaf daughter was to throw money at it; I always have the best equipment on the market.

And oh, I'm an excellent faker. I've faked being a hearing person for so long, I've lost my sense of self and what makes me happy in life. This has been exacerbated by what I experienced as a BWW bride and twice laid-off job hunter these past few years. To add insult to injury, my hearing is worsening.

I want to change several areas of my life (ie, learn ASL), but it's hard to undo audist brainwashing and how I've set up my fake "hearing" life. As an example, embarrassed to admit this, I feel uncomfortable watching strangers sign yet I wish I could join them. There's a sign language school one mile from my home, yet I haven't walked in the door. Messed up, right?

Sidenote: I visited a therapist for a few years in my 20s, and he told me I wasn't actually depressed or needed meds, but that my life was challenging and I had a right to grieve and be angry. Of course, health insurance ran out after that little breakthrough session, so I'm perpetually aware of being an angry person grieving for the hearing I'll never have.

DH is my soul mate, and he tries his best to comfort and help on my bad days or bad experiences. But support and advice from those who share similar experiences is invaluable; I'm interested in making new friends and reading your different views and lifestyles. Hence, hello alldeaf.com, I'm looking forward to being a part of your community - thank you for reading.
We have a couple of former AG Bellers here.....damn your post just reinforced yet again, what I see of the downsides of Automatic Inclusion and oral only.....There are a lot of "recovering from the oral world" deafies here....and damn when I think that bajagirl and you were AG Bell High Acheivers and yet you still had tons of problems....makes you think!
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Unread 10-28-2011, 10:14 PM   #17
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Hello Abby and welcome to AD.

I can only say that you will learn a lot from these great folks. Dont take offense but try to understand if someone seems rough. We seem to be a bit blunt. Really, I think we are just being efficient, not blunt. lol

There are so many different people from all areas of the world. You will have fun!
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Unread 10-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #18
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I do hope some of the hearing parents who visit from time to time will read, and be impacted by, what you have had to share.
I agree, and I do wonder from time to time if perhaps my parents would've chosen a different path had the world wide web been available in 1980. To this day, I don't know if they researched and made an informed decision or simply followed one so-called expert's advice.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 10:09 AM   #19
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But I'm confused - why were you surrounded by people speaking French if you have a big Italian family?

Anyway, glad you got through it, and it's great to hear that your DH is loving and supportive. I take it he is hearing? Is he going to go to ASL classes with you, if you decide to go?
Hah! I must've bungled that phrase - a play on "it's all french to me," meaning I couldn't hear a word of what my guests were speaking so they might as well have been speaking in french? Sorry for confusing you.

Yes, DH is hearing. Our plan is to take classes together, he wants us to wait until I find a job. Being a one income family right now is a drain on our finances, so he works late many nights. I'd like to get my parents to learn as well, but my mom just signed up for Italian classes. I think my parents would rather stay in denial than learn ASL. Love them, but they tend to be snobs.

Any opinions or experiences on in-person classes versus online learning?
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Unread 10-29-2011, 10:22 AM   #20
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We have a couple of former AG Bellers here.....damn your post just reinforced yet again, what I see of the downsides of Automatic Inclusion and oral only.....There are a lot of "recovering from the oral world" deafies here....and damn when I think that bajagirl and you were AG Bell High Acheivers and yet you still had tons of problems....makes you think!
Thank you, that brought tears to my eyes. The AG Bell award epitomizes my life, I was praised and congratulated on how well I concealed being deaf. It took years to figure out why that award and organization had an unsettling effect on me.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 10:26 AM   #21
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Hah! I must've bungled that phrase - a play on "it's all french to me," meaning I couldn't hear a word of what my guests were speaking so they might as well have been speaking in french? Sorry for confusing you.

Yes, DH is hearing. Our plan is to take classes together, he wants us to wait until I find a job. Being a one income family right now is a drain on our finances, so he works late many nights. I'd like to get my parents to learn as well, but my mom just signed up for Italian classes. I think my parents would rather stay in denial than learn ASL. Love them, but they tend to be snobs.

Any opinions or experiences on in-person classes versus online learning?
Oh, gotcha! Well, the phrase as I've always heard it is "it's all Greek to me." Never heard the "it's all French to me" version! So I was confused. It's all clear now. Must be all Italian to me. ;-) (Just kidding, I actually don't speak much Italian myself.)

Re: classes or on-line, I have no idea. I haven't done either one, don't use ASL. I've worn hearing aids for 30-some years and get along well with those.

However, my husband and I use a bit of what you could call "home signs" in the a.m. before I have my aids in. Mostly things like making a movement of drinking a cup of coffee, with a questioning look, for "do you want coffee?", or he'll pick up the dogs' leashes and indicate he's going out, things like that.

I asked him if he'd be interested in taking ASL classes with me, and he said he would if possible. So, maybe. But so far we haven't.

I looked at the Lifeprint site and tried to mimic the signs, and learned a few things easily, so I think on-line would work for me ok, at least up to a point.

It would be like learning any other language from a book, though. (IMHO.) You could probably get to a certain point, get the vocabulary, the structure, etc., but to really communicate, you have to do that with people. On-line learning or book learning can only take you so far - but those methods might be excellent for laying a foundation.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 11:04 AM   #22
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Yeah, we do that, too - an informal game of charades in the morning when I don't feel like popping in the HAs yet. We fall over laughing sometimes when I guess some off-the-wall interpretation of what he's wildly pantomiming.

The biggest motivating factor in learning ASL is my concern of being a good mother, I'd like to start our family soon. I cannot, for the life of me, hear children's higher pitched voices.

Thinking maybe we'll dip our toes in ASL lessons online for now, so we're somewhat oriented when we take in-person classes?
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Unread 10-29-2011, 12:31 PM   #23
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Yeah, we do that, too - an informal game of charades in the morning when I don't feel like popping in the HAs yet. We fall over laughing sometimes when I guess some off-the-wall interpretation of what he's wildly pantomiming.

The biggest motivating factor in learning ASL is my concern of being a good mother, I'd like to start our family soon. I cannot, for the life of me, hear children's higher pitched voices.

Thinking maybe we'll dip our toes in ASL lessons online for now, so we're somewhat oriented when we take in-person classes?
Good luck to you Abby! I think it would be great for you to start learning ASL along with your husband. It's probably a good idea to "get your feet wet" with online signing websites, and when you can take a class. In person is really the best way to learn, but starting to familiarize yourself with signing beforehand would be of benefit to you.

Maybe you could get your family to come take a class with you too? Congratulations on your marriage :-)

Enjoy reading and posting here.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 12:33 PM   #24
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P.S. Signing with your children will also be of tremendous benefit not just for you, but your future children too.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 12:52 PM   #25
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I agree, and I do wonder from time to time if perhaps my parents would've chosen a different path had the world wide web been available in 1980. To this day, I don't know if they researched and made an informed decision or simply followed one so-called expert's advice.
Chances are very great that they did not have all of the information they needed to make a fully informed choice. That is a common occurance.

I don't know. Some people pay attention to the information, some don't. There is still enough audism out there that there are those who ignore the information and do what they are most comfortable with as hearing parents rather that doing that which addresses the deaf child's needs. I find that incredibly sad. And, from your story, and that of most others, so does the deaf child when they get old enough to understand.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 12:54 PM   #26
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Yeah, we do that, too - an informal game of charades in the morning when I don't feel like popping in the HAs yet. We fall over laughing sometimes when I guess some off-the-wall interpretation of what he's wildly pantomiming.

The biggest motivating factor in learning ASL is my concern of being a good mother, I'd like to start our family soon. I cannot, for the life of me, hear children's higher pitched voices.

Thinking maybe we'll dip our toes in ASL lessons online for now, so we're somewhat oriented when we take in-person classes?
Nothing at all wrong with getting a bit of a foundation online. It will ease your anxiety of face to face use.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 01:34 PM   #27
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I agree, and I do wonder from time to time if perhaps my parents would've chosen a different path had the world wide web been available in 1980. To this day, I don't know if they researched and made an informed decision or simply followed one so-called expert's advice.
I doubt it if the hearing parents on this site are any examples. Any way welcome to AD.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 01:36 PM   #28
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I doubt it if the hearing parents on this site are any examples. Any way welcome to AD.
Let me rephrase that to the majority of the hearing parents.
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Unread 10-29-2011, 01:54 PM   #29
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Let me rephrase that to the majority of the hearing parents.
I realize that's what people may think, but do we have any cold hard facts about how many parents choose to sign with their children as opposed to those who go the Oral route?

I wonder if the gap is as large as people think...
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Unread 10-29-2011, 02:09 PM   #30
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Chances are very great that they did not have all of the information they needed to make a fully informed choice. That is a common occurance.

I don't know. Some people pay attention to the information, some don't. There is still enough audism out there that there are those who ignore the information and do what they are most comfortable with as hearing parents rather that doing that which addresses the deaf child's needs. I find that incredibly sad. And, from your story, and that of most others, so does the deaf child when they get old enough to understand.
Speculating on their thought process is all I can do, as my parents get tight-lipped and emotional if I ask them out of curiosity. I have a theory on my family, however. My grandparents immigrated (or emigrated?) to Detroit in the 30s/40s, and for the Italians, it was considered a source of pride and sign of success to learn English and assimilate fully into American culture. So perhaps pushing audism on me was repeating the family's pathology of pro-assimilation - on top of the usual audism propaganda?

Getting really deep here for a Saturday afternoon, hah! Anyways, I've really enjoyed meeting all of you - this has been an eye-opening experience.
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