Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Mission

The mission of this blog will be to help Deaf children that have been accepted to MSSD, the Model Secondary School in Washington D.C. with transportation costs when their home school district refuses to provide that funding.
Please use to donate button to contribute. You can find it in one of the 2010 posts.
To ask for funds please have MSSD staff contact me via

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fame When You're Deaf

Last Friday night, Nile DiMarco won America's Next Top Model.
Later I read a blog about how no one in the industry of promoting a person to fame - hearing dominated - has done any interviews with Nile. It's only Tuesday so maybe we can hope.

But I want to put out there that the hearing world seems to shun any efforts when it comes to giving the Deaf equal access if they have to hire interpreters.  Here's an example from my own life.

Since I'm a hearing mom of a Deaf son, I had a reporter call me and tell me one time that he'd like to interview my son who is a BASE jumper. I gave the guy my son's number to text and explained that's just what he'd have to do to communicate with Shaun. Did he do it? No! Probably would take too much effort! He wanted to interview me! In the past I would have fallen for this because of my paternalistic nature. Not this time! I told him that would be wrong of me to do! Shaun never heard from him. See this video

Now if Nile doesn't get much attention from the hearing world, it won't surprise me! They want to put their head in the sand about AUDISM. Can you believe that no dictionary has that word in it and it's been around nearly 40 years?!!!!!! You can only find the definition on Wikipedia other than in Deaf publications! That in itself is totally AUDISTIC!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Long time since posting

I've been collecting and researching- at a homemaker's pace however. So a couple years have escaped since posting on here.

What I've learned is Identity, Paternalism, just plain how ignorant I've been, and how vast the need to learn more.

I hope anyone visiting here realizes subjects aren't all black & white, yet many would want them to be that way.

I feel bad that in the past I've been a big part of the problem when it comes to being paternalistic, audistic, and deaf to the opinions of Deaf!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What is AUDISM?

What is audism?
On Ben's blog, he addresses a question that's been flying around the vlogosphere for a while. What is audism? What use is that word? People are saying all sorts of things, and people are disagreeing about things where I think that no disagreement exists, really. It's a matter of semantics.
Basically, I think it's just a matter of using multiple definitions for audism. It seems like Ben is just not willing to use the word to describe the actions of people who might make unwarranted
assumptions, but who are willing to rethink them when examined. In other words, he would consider persistent beliefs in the inferiority of deaf people, even when demonstrated false, to be audism.
He would not use the word to apply to good people willing to learn who simply don't know any better yet. Ben, for want of a better way of putting it, is being very kind and generous with the word, reserving it for entrenched belief in deaf inferiority.
I think I define audism a bit more abstractly, similar to how I define sexism and racism. Ideas are racist, sexist, and audist, and we all possess some of them. We can't avoid it. We're raised to be that way, we're taught to be that way -- what matters isn't whether we are racist or sexist, but how we react to it, and whether we consider it motivation to improve.
Living in a body that hears -- and more importantly, surrounded by billions of others who do -- I'm biased in favor of hearing. I can't help it. And living in a society where spoken language is the
norm, I've learned to equate spoken language with intelligence. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's something I can admit to. If I'm not willing to admit to my own mistakes, I will never be able to improve. I'll never be able to analyze those mistakes and fix them.
That belief I have, programmed in me due to simply not having sufficient early experience to see otherwise, is audist. Period. There is absolutely no other word for it. I am audist. But I will work to relinquish those provably incorrect beliefs, because I acknowledge my own fallibility, and I believe that something that feels right can nonetheless be dead wrong.
I will be honest with you -- I'm being completely honest when I say that for a hearie, I probably am more obsessed with ASL, and more ready to see it as a complete language, than about 99% of
other hearies. I'm obsessed with language of all sorts, and I find it inconceivable that ASL was ever thought to be anything but a fully flowered, fully featured language. I literally cannot fathom people who don't get that. The human brain wants language so badly that, for ASL to not be a language would be like releasing a rock and having it fall up.
Nonetheless, I still do a reflexive blink for the first millisecond or so when a Deaf person speaks and I can tell that English isn't a first language for them. I do. I hate it, but I do it. And I'm entirely, completely, fully convinced that it's an incorrect way to react. But just because you know something is wrong (and more importantly, incorrect) doesn't mean it stops happening. It means that you have to work hard, you have to push, you have to struggle against it constantly. Only the bone-deep assurance that ASL is a language, that Deaf people ARE simply human beings completely capable of the full range of human achievement and expression enables me to keep struggling against that reflexive blink reaction, that one millisecond worth of o_O when a Deaf person for whom English doesn't come naturally uses their voice. It galls me. It disgusts me that that's inside of myself -- especially since I really can't imagine a hearie more utterly convinced of the stupidity of that reaction, excepting CODAs. That is a sheer, animal, reflex emotion, and it's dead goddamned wrong and -- worse -- it's inside my head. And I didn't put it there, and I don't want it there.
But that stupid reaction is there, inside me. And it's audism, pure and simple. The only reason I can possibly keep up the work of rooting that belief out is my absolute bone-deep conviction that it is wrong and hence has no place in my head. The fact that it's there disgusts me, and I am willing to bloody my fingers to gouge it out of my skull and throw it away.
I also believe that working hard against those false beliefs and reflexes is important because letting them sit in my head without challenge causes me to injure people. I'm not willing to permit beliefs and reflexes like that to go unchallenged when they could be interfering with my ability to interact meaningfully with someone. But honestly, this is secondary to me. What bothers me far more is that I know, I know with total conviction, that this is incorrect, and yet it sits there inside my head, screwing with my perceptions even just for that first millisecond, and it makes me sick that it's there.
I've always been of scientific bent, ever since I was a kid. I've had little trouble throwing out ideas and beliefs that made no sense to me; I think that's why I am one of the only ex-catholics I know
who is not your classic guilt-ridden lapsed catholic who fears that the mean daddy-god is actually up there and not happy with me. I've been pleased so far to be able to chuck incorrect nonsense out of my head with very little angst and trouble -- and here is this one stupid belief that I haven't eradicated entirely, that one grotesquely incorrect blink reaction that I have toward people for whom spoken language does not come naturally. The fact that even that one millisecond of o_O exists in my head is revolting to me, personally. Not as a matter of hearie guilt, but as a matter of sheer disgust.
Again, I feel this bears repeating: I don't feel bad or guilty. I feel disgusted that something so provably incorrect, something that I know 150% to be wrong, still sits in my head like a roach under the
kitchen cabinets. I feel revolted that this repulsive little roach is sitting inside my head.
Now this blink doesn't last long. All I have to do is start exchanging ideas with people, and I rapidly fail to care about a Deaf accent. But that first blink still happens. Goddamn it, it still happens.
And I'm not going to be content until I can squash that stinking blink out of existence.
I want to improve. I'm clear-eyed about the fact that it will take work. I'm ready to do the work. Nonetheless, those false beliefs that I have to dig out of my head are audism. There is just no other word for them. That miserable, repulsive little cockroach is audist.
The important question is not whether or not I am audist. I am, of course. What matters is what am I going to do about it?

Audism (from Latin audire, to hear, and -ism, a system of practice, behavior, belief, or attitude) has been variously defined as:
• The notion that one is superior based on one's ability to hear or behave in the manner of one who hears. (Humphries 1977:12)

• ...the belief that life without hearing is futile and miserable, that hearing loss is a tragedy and "the scourge of mankind," and that deaf people should struggle to be as much like hearing people as possible. Deaf activists Heidi Reed and Hartmut Teuber at D.E.A.F. Inc., a community service and advocacy organization in Boston, consider audism to be "a special case of ableism." Audists, hearing or deaf, shun Deaf culture and the use of sign language, and have what Reed and Teuber describe as "an obsession with the use of residual hearing, speech, and lip-reading by deaf people." (Pelka 1997: 33)

• attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear; like racism or sexism, audism judges, labels, and limits individuals on the basis of whether a person hears and speaks. (Humphrey and Alcorn 1995: 85)

• ...the corporate institution for dealing with deaf people, dealing with them by making statements about them, authorizing views of them, describing them, teaching about them, governing where they go to school and, in some cases, where they live; in short, audism is the hearing way of dominating, restructuring, and exercising authority over the deaf community. It includes such professional people as administrators of schools for deaf children and of training programs for deaf adults, interpreters, and some audiologists, speech therapists, otologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, librarians, researchers, social workers, and hearing aid specialists. (Lane 1992: 43)
Persons who practice audism are called audists. Audists may be hearing or deaf.
The term audism was coined by Tom Humphries in Communicating across cultures (deaf-hearing) and language learning (1997: 12). The term lay dormant until Lane revived its use 15 years later. It is increasingly catching on, though not yet in regular dictionaries of the English language. Humphries originally applied audism to individual attitudes and practices, but Lane and others have broadened its scope to include institutional and group attitudes, practices, and oppression of deaf persons.
The first half of Lane's book The mask of benevolence: disabling the deaf community is the most extensive published survey and discussion of audism so far (Lane 1992).
Humphrey, Jan, and Alcorn, Bob (1995). So you want to be an interpreter: an introduction to sign language interpreting, 2nd edition. Amarillo, TX: H&H Publishers.
Humphries, Tom (1977). Communicating across cultures (deaf-/hearing) and language learning. Doctoral dissertation. Cincinnati, OH: Union Institute and University.
Lane, Harlan (1992). The mask of benevolence: disabling the deaf community. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Pelka, Fred (1997). The ABC-Clio companion to the disability rights movement. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio.
* * * * * * * * * *
Prepared by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
October, 2002
Revised April, 2009

Much Deleted

Many of the original posts on this blog have been deleted per compliance with an order from the court in Idaho that read: "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that neither parent shall allow the child to become aware of or participate in the disputes between the parents regarding custody and/or the use of implants. Neither party shall discuss these issues with the child.
"It is further ordered that neither party shall publicize or allow the child to be publicized as being part of a conflict between the parents and/or the conflict regarding the use of Cochlear implants. Neither party shall allow any other persons to publicize or allow the child to be publicized through the Internet and/or any other media as being part of a conflict between the parents and /or the conflict regarding the use of Cochlear implants."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pay Pal contributions

Mark Drolsbaugh's take

As a guidance counselor for deaf and hard of hearing children and as an
author/guest speaker, I have met hundreds of kids who feel like they’re
hiding behind a mask every day. They go to speech therapy, wear their
hearing aids, get their cochlear implants mapped, and dutifully do
everything their parents want. After all, every child wants his or her
parents’ approval.

It’s very stressful. It’s hard work. And “hard work” is something you
should be doing at school or at your job. When you’re at home amongst
family and friends, that’s when you should be able to let go of “hard
work” and just be yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for many
deaf and hard of hearing children.

The long-term impact of this stressful lifestyle has been documented. Dr.
Samuel Trychin, a hard-of-hearing psychologist and author of several
books, has written and presented about the stresses deaf and hard of
hearing children face in the mainstream.

According to Dr. Trychin, the aforementioned stressors can cause
frustration, anger, depression, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment, shame,
muscle tension, fatigue, headaches, increased blood pressure, stomach
problems, decreased self-esteem/confidence, difficulty thinking clearly,
inability to concentrate, and more.

Another excellent resource is Dr. Gina Oliva’s book, "Alone in the
Mainstream", which documents the experiences of numerous deaf and hard of
hearing children in mainstream programs. Even though they may have
assistive devices such as the cochlear implant, many of these children are
under a significant amount of stress as they go through school without any
deaf peers or role models.

Deaf children with deaf parents often feel a sense of freedom to be
themselves in the presence of those who know what it means to be deaf. To
force (a deaf child) to have to wear their cochlear implants during all waking hours
and to threaten their ability to spend quality time with the deaf parent—-on
their own terms—-would be a grave injustice. And I would like to share a
personal story that reflects this:

One day when I was a teenager, I was walking on the boardwalk in Wildwood,
New Jersey. A group of girls looked at me and I smiled back at them. I
figured they were flirting and thought I would respond in kind. It
happened again a few seconds later and once more I smiled.

Eventually a third group cast me some strange looks. At that point I
started thinking maybe those weren’t admiring glances from the other
girls, after all. Instinctively, I turned around and gasped in horror. A
tram car was right behind me, its driver yelling at the top of his lungs.
A pre-recorded “Watch the tram car, please” message blared from the tram
car’s speakers. It was a very embarrassing moment. What else could I do
but laugh?

When I told this story to my hearing relatives, they reacted with despair.
They clearly were not amused and openly wondered if this incident could
have been prevented if I had worn my hearing aids or if I had a cochlear
implant. I made a mental note to never share any Famous Embarrassing Deaf
Moments with them again.

Soon afterwards I told the same story to my deaf relatives (my father’s
side of the family is deaf). They laughed and shared funny anecdotes of
their own, including the one about the deaf driver who had no idea why a
police officer had pulled him off the road (his horn was stuck). In this
environment I felt free to be who I really am. The message was clear that
it’s okay to be deaf. It was a load off my shoulders.

My story is not unique. As the author of three deaf-related books ("Deaf
Again", "Anything But Silent", and "On the Fence: The Hidden World of the
Hard of Hearing") I’ve had countless deaf and hard of hearing people come
up and say they felt validated when they read this material. They wish
they had that validation when they were younger, as opposed to when they
were in their 20’s and up.

In case this may seem trivial to those who are not familiar with the deaf
community, here’s a critical excerpt from an article titled "Deafness: An
Existential Interpretation" by Dr. Stanley Easton and Dr. Harry Krippner:

“If parents are not able to accept the fact that their child is deaf and
continue to deny the implications of the deafness, the resulting effects
on the child are to encourage his own denial and lack of authenticity.
Such a child is thus unable to accept himself and his capacity to emerge
or become a unique person is blocked. He lives an existential lie and
becomes unable to relate to himself and to other deaf individuals and to
the world in a genuine manner.”

The deaf community has often expressed concern that when the mainstream
world tries to do what’s best for deaf and hard of hearing children, it
often focuses on the ears while forgetting about the whole person. It is
my hope that this information has shed light onto Emma the Whole Person as
opposed to Emma the Girl with Two Cochlear Implants, and that you will
find the compassion to rule accordingly. Thank you for your time and

Mark Drolsbaugh

Edited to comply with a gag order