Monday, November 3, 2008


i'll just get this post out of the way for once and for all...

someone anonymously commented on my earlier post about our insurance company denying little m surgery at this point, saying "hooray insurance company!" he or she added that little m was too young for surgery, that we should wait and let little m decide if and when she wanted to get cochlear implants. i'm not going to really debate on this blog, but i thought i should explain where we were coming from in the decisions we are making right now about her hearing loss. then i'll get back to yes, figuring out how i can convince the insurance company to approve her surgery.

deaf, hard of hearing, and typical hearing people can (and will) have their own opinions on what direction to go in with hearing loss. not all deaf children and adults are implant candidates; aside from deciding to get or not get cochlear implants, there are also multiple camps in terms of what type of education or therapy, and which form(s) of communication to pursue. since m is only 6 1/2 months old, and both matt and i are hearing, we are relatively new to the diversity of perspectives within the deaf community. some within the community would be very critical of the decisions matt and i are making for little m. (but isn't that always true for parents? someone was probably critical about the way that we swaddled her or when we decided to let her cry it out to go to sleep, so these criticisms are not exclusive to her hearing loss)

all i will say is this: matt and i are not entering into the decision for her to get implants lightly. we are not trying to "fix" our daughter, and we hope to raise her to have a strong sense of self as a deaf child. would i have chosen for her to be deaf? no. it wasn't even on my radar. there is so much we have to learn as hearing parents about what it means to be deaf. but the idea that we should let her wait and decide for herself whether she gets implants just doesn't make sense for me. 

first of all, parents are always making decisions that affect their children down the road. the hope is, that we are making the best decisions we can. matt and i want to believe that we are entering into this thoughtfully, and i think we have. we have often discussed what if little m later decides that she doesn't want them. what if she later resents that we made this decision for her? she will, of course, have the freedom to not wear her ci's... to sign only... to communicate in whatever way she wants. but with cochlear implants and auditory verbal language acquisition, the window is small. if we want to make verbal language as easy as possible for her, then the earlier the better. if we let her wait to decide, her ability and ease in learning language will be really limited and difficult.  the ci's just won't work as well.

and since i am a hearing person, i know the joys of sound, and i want our daughter to experience and access as much sound as she can. it will never be the same way that i experience sound because she is deaf and i am hearing.

i guess i hope there would be a spirit of diversity, support and inclusion within the deaf and hard of hearing community, especially as we make difficult decisions about little m's future and how to communicate as a family.


  1. well said. clearly anonymous has no idea the amount of blood, sweat and tears have gone into the process of getting you and matt to this decision. you have made a good decision. little m's best interests are well cared for. love you!

  2. People suck. They get a small insight into your life via what they read on your blog and then feel that they know enough to pass judgment.

    Your posting was poignant and from your heart, as usual. Don't let others get you too down. (Refer to previous statement: People suck.)

    The decisions you and Matt are making for M are right for your family. That is all it needs to be.

  3. Woo-hoo for YOU!! That is such a great attitude and sounds very much like the way we made our decision to go with bilateral implants for Landry. Either way, it's a choice: to not pursue the implants is to make the choice on her behalf that she will never speak and listen normally. How is that any better than making the choice to allow her to hear? I can definitely see where people are coming from, but the way we see it, by giving her the CIs and AV therapy in addition to teaching her ASL, we are giving her absolutely every possible choice once she is old enough to make it on her behalf.

    Hang in there!!!

    Let's get the girls together sometime soon!!


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