What would you do? #4 – ASL or Choices??

When discussing the decision-making process of Deaf children’s parents (ASL or Oralism, and so forth), the word “CHOICES” is often tossed around. Nowadays, this particular word has spilled over to the Deaf community- we are told that we must respect “choices”, not principles. Should we sit down and accept our current situation? What would you do if you were told to respect “choices” rather than principles?


  • Jenn 17 years ago

    That is so unfortunate of the parents objecting the title of the conference. Are they the group associated with the AGBell? I wonder. I would recommend that your group remain strong and not to give in as this is one of the choices that we should promote- the value of ASL for all deaf kids.

  • Phillip Easterling 17 years ago

    It hard for me to understand what really going on in our country? Something is not right.

  • Deafchipmunk 17 years ago

    My goodness!

    The Impact’s objection to “ASL” is beyond my apprehension. It appears that members of The Impact are actually turning against their own children who, in the future , will fight against what their parents blindly fought for. That is very sad.

    Well, we live in DOGS EAT DOGS WORLD!


  • John F. Egbert 17 years ago

    I agree with Carl Schroeder,

    Let the media pump “the hot air balloon.”

    These people that control the Deaf Education do give us a choice,

    “Do it our way or the highway.

    I will take the highway to Milwaukee on June 27, 2008.


  • Tom 17 years ago

    WOW That’s sad to hear about the IMPACT. WE need to do something to encourage them to have thier open mind about the conference. Good luck.

  • Laurie 17 years ago

    It’s ignorance, Brian, just simple ignorance. I as one of those parents…not at the conference, but who listened to the medical doctors and their pathological viewpoint of deafness. It took their methods not working for me to really dig dig dig to find out more about ASL and Deaf Culture. We made lots of mistakes with our daughter, who, thank God, is very resilient, but are actively involved with the Deaf community now, taking every ASL class offered and searching for a solid bi-bi program for her. The main problem is simply lack of exposure for hearing parents. There needs to be a liaison team consisting of an interpreter, a deaf child or two, a hearing parent of a deaf child and a deaf adult or two, who meet with, answer questions for and build a connection with parents of newly diagnosed children. Parent need to see this to comfort them and alleviate their fears, to encourage that there is indeed a very bright future ahead that need not be terrifying or isolating. Every hospital needs such a team in place! And the earlier parent meet these folks, the better!
    Goodness, I could go on forever about this, so I guess I better quit now before I put you to sleep! Sorry!

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    Joey’s assertion that he accepted other choices in attending the conferences is a sign of humility, even if he felt that their choices of topics veered off from the important topic of language. IMPACT who oppose our choice of the topic “Ripples of ASL” in backing out of the 2008 Cal-Ed Conference aren’t being humble at all. When can we have “our day in court” when everybody else gets the choices but us? I honestly believe that both parents and educators should explore all options and choices in the best interest of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing children who vary greatly in hearing loss levels, their ability to lip read, ability to develop visual reception skills, and to communicate, so forth…not every Deaf child or any child with hearing loss can function exactly the same way. Oralism is not the answer for everybody, while ASL is more Deaf friendly and anybody can learn how to sign. ASL has the upper hand in Deaf education, clearly. But like Joey said, he accepted the choices (topics) of the past cal-ed conferences, and the educators and especially parents should accept our (the Deaf community-at-large and Deaf schools) choices, too. There is so much to be learned instead of snubbing us in ignorance. Ripples of ASL will be FELT, and soon those parent’s children will sign and the parents won’t understand what their children are saying. That is when they will be sorry. The parents should explore learning ASL (at the earliest stage) to discover a very mutual understanding between themselves and their children. In any such topic involving the ripples of ASL I am very sure we can offer workshops on educating parents about Deaf culture/Deafhood, and offer information on where they can learn ASL, and explain to the parents how long it usually takes to become really fluent in ASL providing they don’t miss classes and mingle with the Deaf community. INFORMATION attracts parents and brings people together, and even brings a closer relationship between the Deaf child/children and their families. MISINFORMATION only leads to the Deaf child feeling neglected because their parents thought they made the right choice. In the “Ripples of ASL,” we only can bring more information available to all parents in offering infinite possibilities for Deaf children, not limited. Ignorance is just arrogance, purely. When I was a baby, my parents visited CSDB and our family stayed at the family house on campus. My parents explored both ASL and Oralism. It doesn’t matter what they chose eventually, at least they explored all options and listened to all choices, investigating with all the information available to them. Do away with pride and let’s start seeing some humility and openness, the parents owe it to themselves and their children.

  • Nick Vera 17 years ago

    WOW! Thank you for bringing the great topic to discuss on our round table. From what I listened you through my own eyes, I found its very disturbing about IMPACT group. By the end of your discussion, my mind was like volcano. UNBELIEVABLE!
    For my personal perspective, we were taught by our parents to use the principles. For example, brothers or sisters fight over something like watching their favorite tv programs or video games, or anything. Their parents stop us from being greedy to fight each other and ask us to take turns to share with. BUT NOW, WHAT A IRONY about IMPACT group!
    I agreed with other comments that hearing parents should explore their journey of educational paths in range of opportunities to open their minds about their deaf children by the choices. Please give Cal-ED opportunity to host their conference with different approaches for hearing parents to explore any possiblities.
    Pray that they will change their mind and are willing to attend your host conference to learn about the ripple of ASL.
    Language is the essential of our living well and the beauty of expressions in our lives. Thanks.

    Nick Vera

  • JohnABC 17 years ago

    IMPACT folks: You have to be DEAF to understand!

  • CynthiaK 17 years ago

    Joey, Love the logo and the title of the “08 conference! Interesting how the parents / IMPACTers complained about the ASL focus. It seems that ASL has been lost as the focus it should be as people try to “fix” the Deaf. :-/

    The parents are so busy focusing on ‘their’ choices they seem to be forgetting who they are representing. The focus has been in the wrong place. My family is going through a situation involving court and it is conceptually the same. The victim (my family member) has no particular rights, but the defendant has all of the rights [fair and ‘speedy’ trial, lawyer, trial by jury of peers, change lawyers, appeals, {blah blah blah}]. The focus is in the wrong place and something has to be done. Way to go!!!!

  • Kim 17 years ago

    It’s a fear of theirs, when they see the word ASL – they reacted with fear. Wondering if the word was ‘Sign Language’, would they react differently?
    Hope we can reduce their fear/ignorance in the ASL itself asap!
    Thanks for doing this Vlog. So glad that your school allows you doing the Vlog & FB! Cannot imagine that you’re forbidden doing this – no one would know what’s happening in our Deaf community.

  • Mishkazena 17 years ago

    Where did the parents get the fear from? Medical doctors and oral educators.

    The parents were told that sign language will hurt the linguistic development of their deaf kids. We need to make the medical doctor, audiologists and oral educators accountable for spreading misinformation, using scare tactics. This violates the code of ethics, especially for the doctors and audiologists.

    We need to find a way to educate the parents the benefits of ASL and that it is not the evil proclaimed by the medical professionals and oral educators.

  • MikeS 17 years ago


  • todos la vie 17 years ago

    I always found those conferences un-enlightening and never bothered to register. Now with ASL in the forefront, those parents could use a little education, but instead are being narrow minded. Hope CAL-ED takes the lead in inviting parents who need it most and maybe we can have our own parent committee, the hell with IMPACT.

  • debby 17 years ago

    The Deaf communities still always suffer by the hearing world’s decisions and choices over them many years since ABG and the Milan Congress. Keep steering clear of them from Deaf’s wrong way to Deaf’s right way and hope your organization will pah IMPACT them and teach them to respect Deaf’s right of their choices. Good Luck on your (first?) Step AND DO SOMETHING!

  • John Savva 17 years ago

    Important information about British Deaf Association, GOD and Genetics and Tomato



    I am happy USA and other world support UK for this but you need to know this information … some audism are involved.

  • Dawn Rood 17 years ago

    We, the Deaf Educators are often told to respect the choices that the parents make for their children. I could not disagree with that, BUT the parents make decisions based on what they learn from the professionals that they encounter with their children. We, the Deaf Educators MUST push the issues about ASL, language acquisition, Deaf Education, Deaf Culture and especially, RESPECT. We are professionals, too – so let’s present our choices to them. The key word here is: PUSH THE ISSUES. For so long, we have been passive about presenting our choices. It is high time to stand up and say that our choices are as good as theirs! Let parents see that we are equally productive and intelligent. Joey, thank you for the wake-up call and we need to stay united. The group, IMPACT is clearly close-minded and selfish. They are AFRAID of our choices that MAKE MORE SENSES than the other choices they learn. PUSH THE ISSUES!!

  • Sallie Mae 17 years ago

    WOW! That not fair! It sound to me like they have an issue of “power struggle”. Bec they think it is ok for them to have a conference and do what they want without us complain about it. But when we have our own they become like “Cried wolf”. I agreed with Carl, to use media and spread it out to the world. Joey, Go Ahead and do it! I’m back u 360 degree!

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    In response to few commenters above that we probably should use the word \”Sign Language\” instead of ASL. I humble disagree because it is like degrading ourselves and our language. You see, ASL, is already a proven language and why should we walk away from it. It is becoming tiresome that ASL is a dirty word and we are encouraged or told to use the word Sign Language!

    In fact, any kind of sign language is called ASL and it is the only recognized sign language in America anyway and why should we avoid using it??

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    C (#8),

    You are correct. That what I have been telling some people that we NEED more Deaf parents to be involved with IMPACT in order to make some changes there. They are our walking of life and will have stronger influence on for hearing people to learn from them.

    Yes, we will go ahead with the conference and we already feel good about it. Nothing will stop us and it is clear that we must MOVE on to make ourselves SEEN/HEARD!

  • Sandra Goldstein 17 years ago

    Boy, I am boiling mad to learn that IMPACT refuses to support CAL-ED. You must go ahead to use the Ripples of ASL. IMPACT —I have a question..Are the parents who happen to be deaf members of IMPACT? If so, why don’t they raise their voices???

    It is okay for IMPACT to make a choice and it is not okay for CAL-ED to make a choice. It is ironic, isn’t it?

    Stick to this awesome theme!!!! I wish I could fly over California to observe the awesome conference.

    It is so obvious that IMPACT members do not accept the fact that their children are DEAf. They are trying too hard to fix them by implanting the CI, using cued speech, nonASL communication. They want to see them act like normal hearing people. It is a fact. Another fact is that we, the deaf people, is the minority group.

    Media is very powerful. You can expose IMPACT in the newspaper, TV, etc. I am sure many reporters would like to write up the articles especially the controversies or hot potato issues. Go for it!!!

    If IMPACT won;t support, find another open-minded organization to support CAL-ED!!!

    Another option is to have IMPACT officers to sit down with CAL_ED to make a dialogue to listen their objections. The situation may be worthwhile. You have to try to convince them what Ripples of ASL are all about.

    We can say to IMPACT,,, Ho Heave!! Move on and find other organizations to support!!!

  • Deb Ann 17 years ago

    Oh my, it’s so sad about the end of the story.

    We need to do something about it. Why don’t we show how beautiful ASL is ….like on PBS or something on the Media…to share with everyone. It needs to do more often…in the public, so if people know more about ASL, before they learn that their own baby is Deaf, they would choose ASL.

  • Shane 17 years ago

    I agree with Joey (#28 and 29.)

    We must keep the ball rolling and rolling on a bumps road no matter what.

    Similar with the Civil Rights movements for Africia-Americans. It took them many many years to success and even today, they are still rolling.

    Stay stronger and stay at peace

  • Darline 17 years ago

    STICK with ASL! ASL is ALREADY proven as our true language over 30 years! I am truly proud of our beautiful language! This term “Sign Language” is too broad and often they use different communication methods to be labeled as sign lanuage.

    An idea is to offer a workshop at Cal-ED on ASL and its linugstic – maybe a basic rules with grammatical and non manual behaviors? Maybe that would help parents to learn or understand more about ASL and how that applies to visual learning with reading, etc?

  • Jean Boutcher 17 years ago

    Medical professionals brainwash parents by telling them that their deaf babies have no language.
    They would tell them that “no language” means
    “communciation disorder”. They would not inform them that there does exist a signed language.
    MP can be evil and greedy capitalists.

    The only way would be to contact the media.

  • George Adams 17 years ago

    I suggest the Deaf educators to ask the media or TV station to ask the Impact to sit down to do interview why cannot Impact participate with the Deaf Educator about Ripple. This is a strong exposure. I hope National TV will expose it as well. We need more voices to be heard. We have been pushed around the hearing world for too long, it is time to sit down and try to be unity.

  • deafkathy 17 years ago

    Sheesh! Joey, dont give up and i know you wont.

    Too bad the IMPACT arent willing to be open minded about ASL.
    Your VLOG about “Choices” was a great one, not only to share your frustration/experience but to allow us realize it is happening.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Jac 17 years ago


    Do not GIVE UP! Keep it planned for 2008. Try to get some reporter from your local news paper like Carl said, get a media. Your state is a such big headache. It is rough one. You have to roll your selvees up to work so hard. Good luck.

  • deafmutearthur 17 years ago

    Joey, Puzzled… Thought that you would discuss difference between choice and principle… So I stick to my view of our rights about choice following
    US Bill of Rights… Your ASL logo is nice looking for only deaf community, not to public( hearing) because logo impact negative too strongly and lack compromising attitude…
    Where are NAD and CAD watchdog? I often saw news about “oralism” topics in newspaper… Often waited for editoral page rebuttal or voice by deaf community… Sorry to inform that I never see one by deaf community voice in editorial page…

  • Nancy/Herman Fletcher 17 years ago

    It is sad that parents of deaf children won’t recognize ASL and that means they are not proud of their own deaf children

  • Don Grushkin 17 years ago


    I’ve been thinking about this very word, “CHOICE” for a long time now, but haven’t figured out how to deconstruct it.

    We’ve often seen magicians tell someone to “pick a card, any card”, but what we don’t see is that they have ways of arranging it so that you actually end up picking only the card that they want you to pick. This is what is called a “forced CHOICE”. The PAM professionals do this same thing by hiding ASL or burying it or mentioning it but in the same breath telling the parents that ASL is bad or oralism is better. So in reality, the parents haven’t been able to make a true CHOICE.

    Or, in those cases when the parents are given ALL the information about ALL the options, but they fall into their fears about the unknown (what their child will be like as a Deaf person), and end up “choosing” an oralist approach. In this case, have the parents truly made a CHOICE?

    And then, what about the child? Don’t the children have rights? When can we say that the child’s rights supersede the CHOICEs of the parents? The State can intervene and tell parents that they do not have a CHOICE to do what they want when it comes to a child’s health. Parents who have certain religious beliefs against forms of medical care can be forced to allow their child to receive that care. Parents who believe that certain forms of physical punishment are good for the child’s learning to control their behavior can be told that they cannot punish a child that way. Parents who engage in extreme psychological and physical abuse can be told they are not fit to be parents anymore, and the child can be removed from the home. There was a case in the 1970s of a (hearing) girl named “Genie” whose father kept her locked up in a dark room and never talked to her. She was not found until she was 15 and never really learned how to communicate or socially interact with people in appropriate ways.

    Genie’s case is extreme, but it does parallel those of a Deaf child being raised orally, especially in those (too common) cases where the child is not “succeeding” with the oral approach, but the parents are too stubborn/blind/obedient to the PAM professionals to give up and try “sign language”. Why can’t we declare this to be just as equivalent to abuse, even if it may be unintentional? We can say a person who shakes a child (causing a concussion and even death) is abusing the child, even if they didn’t realize that this is abusive.

    So, I have a big problem with this little word “CHOICE”, but I haven’t figured out how we can get around this in our “democratic” society.

  • Harmon Menkis 17 years ago

    The first thing that came to my mind after watching your vlog is the word “appeasement”. Those who oppose “Ripples of ASL” and anyone else who opposes ASL are appeasers of anyone and all who oppose ASL, especially without really knowing the beauty, the power and deeply divine nature of ASL and those of us who use it. The term “Choices” is a coward’s way out of a situation, period.

  • Orkid @ Deaf Library 17 years ago

    WOW! I am so surprised! I don’t get it. Historically, CAL-ED & CAID began at CSD-Berkeley in 1960. Why would the parents object? Ripples of ASL is a good metaphor for including diversity of deaf education. WOW!
    All I can say is that Deaf folks should continue to teach people who are especially ignorant about it.
    : ((( I will never forgot the advice from a deaf professor who kicked me out of Gallaudet U. to teach the world out there. I realized that person was right. We all have the responsibilities to TEACH people our ways of life, with big patience.

  • John Schumacher 17 years ago

    I agree with you Joey. As a Deaf pastor I can see a lot of similarities between people who preach with convictions and those who preach inclusion. Ive learned that inclusionist can be the worst kind of double talk and just as oppressive with their doctrine of “choice” when there is actually no choice at all. They expect us to support them but when it comes to the bottom line they will not support OUR choice for ASL. People who want ASL should just go ahead and teach what we believe and reach out to as many people as we can the hard way. I know its hard because the inclusionist are so well financed. We need to be like pioneers and start from scratch and develop our own ideas and own way of getting our ASL message out to the world just like the early Christians did.

    Grace and peace,

    Rev. John Schumacher
    St Louis Park, MN

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    I was thinking about Don Grushkin’s comment, which is powerful and direct. Do Deaf children have rights?

    Back to IMPACT’s refusal to recognize the upcoming 2008 Cal-Ed conference titled “Ripples of ASL” one way to fight this is to successfully distribute information to parents in order to ward off misinformation.

    But above all, look at the civil rights movements of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s…resulted in more equality and rights for blacks, ADA laws, etc…I firmly believe if we start a Deaf Children’s Rights movement, we can challenge the misinformation CI companies and the collaborating schools give to parents, and counter that with the correct information and ALL the information that is available and readily at hand. Lately, in regards to civil rights and to treasure our mecca of the Deaf community, Gallaudet University (JKF exhausted all of our attention on her while she moved ahead with her advocating CIs for young Deaf children and seeing money put into that cause), we need to now focus on Deaf Children’s rights and start a big movement for Deaf Children’s Rights. In regards to any movement of Civil Rights, it will gain national attention, the attention of the congressmen and all lawmakers, and very importantly, to the parents themselves. I like NAD’s movement under Dr. Beth Scoggins, the direction they are taking. Vlogs are expressing issues in ASL and in typed comments. I like the shape and form things are taking. Nobody is going to be muzzled and be shut down. But a Civil Rights Movement? Nobody can deny civil rights, especially if America has been known for chatising other countries for their lack of civil rights of their own citizens and refugees. CI Implant companies invest a lot of money into promoting the technique for Deaf children, and due to that investment, public relations, “success stories,” misinformation winds up into the hands of the parents. But a Civil Rights Movement will shake things up. That, I really believe. I’m glad we protested JKF’s appointment as Gally’s President, we shaked things up, now it’s time for a new movement to shake things up even more, that it reaches the parents. The parents are the ones who will decide what kind of education their children should receive, and how their child will be equipped (hearing aids, CIs, etc). I believe the parents are the KEY.

    Let’s quote Grushkin here: “The State can intervene and tell parents that they do not have a CHOICE to do what they want when it comes to a child’s health. Parents who have certain religious beliefs against forms of medical care can be forced to allow their child to receive that care.”

    A civil rights movement can cause states to help intervene against those parents that violate Deaf Children’s Rights. Don’t you think so?

  • Tiffany 17 years ago

    Choices are made with given information. The parents were only given oral or cochlear implant information as the ASL was left out. To make a choice for a child’s upbringing and future…the doctors/ audiologists are only giving them one packet…baised.

    As for Barb Digi’s comment. I completely relate with that as that happened 30 years ago. My mom had to work hard by digging for information on how to communicate with me. The doctors back then didn’t know or wouldn’t tell her.

    I can’t believe that it’s STILL happening today.

    It’s been going on for too long…

    if it’s the doctors and audiologists who are the culprits in this, why don’t we reach out to them? Educate them. They know how to research, and look at facts. Just provide them the facts and research results and hopefully they’ll start with providing the parents what they need to know.

  • kg 17 years ago

    Stay tough and they will yield with you all the way. I am with you all the way!
    Go ASL go!

  • John Critser 17 years ago


    If young hearing parents are not ignorant, then why IMPACT won’t recognize the conference? Not all parents are computer oriented or internet savvy, lest we assume them to be. ASL benefits are already on the same internet search engines, but it’s the doctors and the audiologists that don’t know, or won’t tell them. If the parents are not checking the internet, they are talking to those biased doctors and audiologists. It’s true we can add more information to the internet search engines to coincide with the AGBell indoctrination, yes, I’ll concede to that. AGBell criticize us successfully, why not us. Yes, we can counter with statistics, and at the same time, we’re not going to praise AGBell. If we were birds, we are flapping our wings, and many feathers are falling…that’s part of the territory, part of the battle.

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    Thanks to all who left comments above. It was really good to see the large number of support and suggestions.

    I liked how Don (#40) call it as “Forced Choice”. It happen too often with Deaf people that we were forced to make some choices THEY want. It is time for us to speak up and make our choices .

    The best thing we can do is to continue this kind of discussion. We also need to do more vlogs and blogs to present our argument. It will then show up in Google search that we are exist with our argument. Then more parents will realize that we are in this for real thing.

    Upward we go!

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    I suggest to have those vlogs captioned so the parents that do not know ASL can understand our arguments or what the arguments are. Just a suggestion! We learn more of the happenings of this world because of closed captioning. Let’s provide the same for those hearing parents.

  • Joey Baer 17 years ago

    Ann C,

    Thanks for your invaluable input and I wold like to clarify one thing – we are NOT protesters but a simply STRONG advocate of ASL. We need to reframe ourselves not to use the word protest because it is not about that. And at the same time, we should feel good about where we are heading. I can see that we are learning to use appropriate words, phrases and others. Thank god for vlogs and blogs that are empowering more Deaf people to take a stronger stand!

  • Sheri Farinha Mutti 17 years ago


    Hi there…first of all thanks for showing the new cool logo for the next Cal Ed Conference! I LOVE IT! Way to go committee!!

    Secondly, I have been involved with both Cal Ed and IMPACT through the years, in fact I was one of the people who helped to get IMPACT started eons ago. The Teacher organization used to be called, CATHI, and later years changed it to Cal Ed. IMPACT was NOT founded to become a part of a teacher/administrator organization. It was established with the goal to reach out to other parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. A membership organization, not political, to support parents. As we all know, we have witnessed parents being in the middle of a tug –war between medical profession and the education system for many many years. I believe it was primarily due to cost reasons, as well as to keep the parents involved with new trends in education is the reason why Cal Ed and IMPACT decided about 10yrs ago to have joint conferences. I strongly objected to this because of the tug-o-war, and also keep in mind, not as many Deaf people attended Cathi/Cal Ed at that time because not enough were hired as teachers, administrators, etc. I have always felt if IMPACT needed to join up with anyone it should be with deaf adults as role models for the children and their parents, ie., CAD. Many parents agree with this idea. So, who knows what good things will come out of this?

    As you know, there are always two sides to every story. I hope someday you can talk with IMPACT President to get his view but most importantly, to learn that IMPACT does not oppose the Cal Ed conference. Many who are on the board are planning to attend this conference.
    What happened between the two organizations is unfortunate yes. The good news is, based on my discussions with a few people is that they are learning from this experience. I intend to get back involved after so many years of being absent, and encourage you and others to get involved. We can’t give up on the parents! This fiasco should teach us we have to be there at every meeting, at every conference in order for parents to really understand, they have to also overcome the fear factor of never being able to sign good enough that would be acceptable in your eyes.
    Cal Ed has made its point with the new theme, and for your info, this is an incredibly BIG STEP for Cal Ed as an organization! Five years ago, you would never have seen it. But now that many deaf teachers from CSDF and CSDR are involved, finally we see good changes happening. So whats this say about IMPACT? We need parents who are Deaf who do not work for a school, who are simply parents supporting their deaf children and want the best education system we can possibly create! Parents everywhere want change now. So many are fed up with the current system here in California. As you know, regionalizing deaf kids for critical mass is a movement happening here in California and we are hosting our next meeting on January 12th in Sacramento, come join us!

    So to answer your question, what would I do? Get back nvolved and work with these parents. That’s exactly what I am going to do. They need us more than you realize.


  • CynthiaK 17 years ago

    I don’t understand why Deaf still means there is something missing or wrong to so many people. How can people still be so ignorant? Doctors are called to serve the whole person, then they need to tell parents ALL of their options — not scare them into thinking their Deaf babies need to be fixed!

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    I agree 100% with CynthiaK. It’s outrageous and real sad. Seeing more Deaf become movie stars, doctors, nurses, dentists, and professional athletes is one way to change the perception of this world. That is why I dream of becoming a professional writer, not just for my own benefit but to change the perception of the hearing world. We have to send out all of the information and options to all parents, starting with doctors. We should find a way to create a liasion to the doctors and express our concerns to them, and get feedback from them so we can share ours.

  • Jrae 17 years ago

    I am a hearing woman learning ASL so that I can communicate with a deaf co-worker, however I was surprised how many young hearing mothers are in my ASL class so that they can teach their hearing babies to sign. Hearing people are learning the benefits of teaching their hearing children ASL, so it’s hopeful that younger hearing parents of deaf children are getting that same message. The mothers in my class are all excited about the “Signing Time” videos and show that is on PBS-TV. It’s host is Rachel Coleman, a hearing mother of a deaf child and a second daughter that is hearing but has communication problems due to health issues. When I checked out her website — http://www.signingtime.com/ — it seems to me that Rachel is a strong advocate of ASL for all babies — hearing, deaf, and those with communication problems. Maybe she could be contacted for help with how to promote the benefits of ASL to other parents of deaf children who aren’t getting the message from doctor’s, etc. … or perhaps she could be a speaker at your conference. Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight. It’s so important that all babies are exposed to language early! Just an idea from someone who supports your cause. Thanks for listening.

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    Parents want to make the best decisions for their Deaf/HOH children with the information available to them. In order for parents to act accordingly, we have to top off the misinformation with the correct information. We can present arguments as long we have a panel of doctors available to tell the parents the truth that, NO, Cochlear Implants does not help to hear normally like hearing people. I believe we are in the midst of CI hype which parents buy into. I would not permit surgical invasion to my skull unless doctors proclaimed it equivalent in performance to a bionic ear, with hearing reception ability compared to normal hearing, not artifical hearing. SOUNDS do not replace language. CI implantation is not going to replace the language, whether it be ASL, or spoken, or any kind of language. CI is for hearing sounds. ASL is a LANGUAGE. English is a language, yes. Are parents being misinformed that CI will bring an improved language comprehension for Deaf/HOH children? That is the question. The answer is NO. ASL will definitely bring about an improved language comprehension for all Deaf/HOH children, I say resoundingly! Amen?

  • John Critser 17 years ago


    Are the parents in contact with the Deaf Community in respect to their ponderings about what decision to make, or are they only strictly in contact with audiologists, doctors, cochlear implant company representatives, speech therapists, and other audist influence?

    Let’s take a minute and think about who the parents are talking with. We need to reunite the parents with the Deaf Community.

    If I was moving to China, I would blend in with Chinatown first before making daily visits to the Chinese embassy! I’d take some Chinese language courses (see! the issue should be language development)..and pick up on some Mandarin or Cantonese. Same here, if I was a hearing parent, I would blend in with the Deaf Community first, to get an idea of how language comprehension and development occurs using ASL (with great results!)

    So..if I was preparing my child to develop great language comprehension skills, I would offer Deaf Education with a Bilingual emphasis.

    Doctors and CI companies have one thing in common: money, and loads of it!

    Oh, one more thing, too. It’s just one word: GENOCIDE. It’s a crime against humanity, and deafness is part of humanity. We are still whole as a person even if we are clinically Deaf.

  • Thinker in Austin 17 years ago

    OK, WHO made the decision to disconnect from the CA Ed? All parents of IMPACT or the boards of the IMPACT ?!

  • LuLu Long 17 years ago

    Of course! I really do cherish my ASL as my first language because I can really always understand in ASL myself afterwards these public schools forced me to learn english as my secondary language. ASL is a very beautiful langauge to use in how Deaf people can communication. English is the way how Hearing people can communication.

    I know there are several different sign languages as they are ASL, SEE, MSL, ISL, and many more that I could not name them all myself. These sign languages that I know some as I been using some different sign language as depending on how I be able to communication with some Deaf people. For the same thing with some Hearing people do have their own different languages then why should we complaint all about their (Hearing) languages?

    I cherish ASL continually!!!! After I started to read and been studying in some legal books and in the very first chapter of legal books that I noticed it repeatly about “Communication” to make sure everybody understand in what’s going on. “Communication is the key.”

    Here again, I really cherish ASL as my communication!

    Did I make any senses in this point?

    Thanks…. Please (continually) keep yell out into this whole world….


    Our ASL is our communication and our education, too.

    Should we Deaf people be on the strike and removed “Speak English”?

    Thanks again….

  • Ella Lentz 17 years ago

    wow! great vlog and great comments too. Loved Don Grushkin’s and John Critser’s and many others’.
    What I understand is that the IMPACT board made the decision with help of another parent (maybe two) NOT on the board…
    And what’s worse…I understand that the two Deaf coordinators of the Conference, Ginny Malzkuhn and Brenda Call, ARE on the IMPACT board who got elected at the last conference to lead this conference. Despite their being on the IMPACT board, the board made the decision BEHIND their backs! And they were practically the only Deaf members of the IMPACT board. I think there are one or two other Deaf members and I bet they were excluded too. Gotta find out for sure.
    Sheri said the people are learning their mistakes. I need to know more specifics please. Like what kind of “learning” did they have with this bad decision? The best way to resolve this is for the IMPACT board to publicly declare they apologize and join forces with Deaf people at that Conference for the best education possible for their children AS THEY ARE…DEAF! and in a language that is the most accessible, not in a quasl-language communication mode.
    Or AFTER that conference with some time there to discourse the pros and cons of having joint conferences like Sheri mentioned, then part ways with good feelings.
    I AM a member of IMPACT…and to date, I have not seen any announcement from the board about the split, only that they are going to announce they will have a Conference. When I have more time, I will try to talk to the IMPACT people and see what they are willing to share with me and if they are willing to discourse with me.

  • Michael 17 years ago

    Just wondering if those IMPACT parents have kids in public schools only or/and at the Fremont and Riverside deaf schools? Maybe go another way, have the local impact groups visit the local deaf groups, having deaf adults meet with them, etc.

  • John Critser 17 years ago

    Ella Lentz:

    Your comment gave a lot of insight- I want to quote you on this:

    “What I understand is that the IMPACT board made the decision with help of another parent (maybe two) NOT on the board.”

    That is exactly how parents advocating oralism OPERATES! I have seen that again, and again..and this won’t be the last time. They go around us. It just seems like they need a parent outside of the board to spoonfeed them.

  • Keri 17 years ago

    Wow. I am so sad to hear that IMPACT refuses to be a part of this conference. I can see that Cal-Ed worked very hard to include topics that IMPACT members value, such as speech and cochlear implants. After reading and commenting the blogs of parents with deaf children, I realize that their attitudes are very hostile towards the Deaf community. They keep blaming the Deaf community that *we* are hostile towards them. Maybe in the past we were but I feel that we are getting better at accepting that children will receive CIs and including them in the community. Our focus has changed; we now focus on language acquisition. Deaf children’s natural language is a visual language, therefore in the USA, it’s ASL. It really does *not* make any sense to me why hearing parents are so resistant to using ASL with their deaf children while other hearing parents use it with their hearing children. No wonder oral children are so hostile to the Deaf community because they learned it from their parents. I’m glad that Cal-Ed is taking a stand and going forth with the conference with or without IMPACT. Best of luck to everyone involved with the conference!

  • Clare Cassidy 17 years ago

    I loved your vlog Joey, it hit home as I’m sure it has for many of us.

    When I was at my graduate program focusing solely on becoming an educator of the Deaf, I encountered an experience that had me dumbfounded. Most of our teachers at NTID (for the graduate program only) were unable to fluently sign in ASL and sad to say, most of them relied heavily on SimCom.

    There was a class where the majority of us were Deaf and 100% ASL users. The teacher decided to have the class vote to see if she should continue using SimCom or to “turn off her voice”.

    We gladly voted and the outcome? 16 voted no voice, two were neutral and 2 said with voice.

    Take a wild guess what the teacher decided to do? Yup and her reason to remain using her voice as she signed was, “But how will those two understand me?”

    It was a class for teachers who were on the path to teach DEAF kids.

    Her decision to have us vote then side with the minority says a lot about what the Hearing people who think they know what’s better for our Deaf Education.

    Basically, the Deaf, in history and even now, have no say and this has to break ASAP.


  • John Critser 17 years ago

    I would like to quote Clare Cassidy:

    “Take a wild guess what the teacher decided to do? Yup and her reason to remain using her voice as she signed was, “But how will those two understand me?”

    My response:

    I have three takes on this kind of circumstances.

    First, the teacher wanted everyone to understand. Every vote counted, whether, for voice, neutral, or without voice. She respected the opinion of every student in the class. If I was a Deaf instructor, I would not use my voice in teaching the class. That would be the voice interpreter’s job. I would use only ASL, without voice. Also, Hearing students should be challenged to learn to read ASL signs in a lecture, since they chose to take this class. I wouldn’t join a French language course if I knew I couldn’t read their lips or write in French in all impossibility.

    My other take, you already quoted:

    “Her decision to have us vote then side with the minority says a lot about what the Hearing people who think they know what’s better for our Deaf Education.”

    We as instructors have to set examples to ASL students that using ASL with no voice should be a standard. I am not against using voice interpreters, because the terps are not the prime examples. Instructors are the ones who set the standards for students to follow later on in life, when they become teachers themselves.

    I want to add there are fantastic, highly qualified ASL instructors who did use their voice while signing in instructing the students in class, I don’t want to take that away fromt them. They have not violated anything mutually. There is always a good reason to maintain the flexibility for instructors to both sign and use their voice at the same time, as long we use and exercise our judgement.

    All in all, in my preference, if I am wearing hearing aids, that is IF, I prefer the teacher not to use voice at all. I rather to sit in the silence but clarity of ASL. I personally don’t like having to listen to a teacher using both ASL and voice at the same time.

    My last take on this, the majority should win the vote, why vote at all? It’s like telling us to vote for Presidential candidate Al Gore, and he wouldn’t win anyway because the vote was rigged anyway and Bush won the vote. It’s as if our votes don’t count. The minority needs to suck it up and learn how to read signs with improved ASL reception skills).

    (don’t be swayed by my comment- go to the polls and vote for who you want as President)

  • Edward Kowalski 17 years ago

    Just keep going and run the show. Hopefully that it will be a blast one so those who wouldn’t attend will feel stupid for being close minded person. Focus on those who support you and encourage them to spread word and bring more people to the conference!!! Best of Luck!!

  • Priscilla 17 years ago

    I agree with you Laurie,
    As an interpreter, I chose this profession after meeting a very impressionable Deaf girl, who was being raised on the oral method. One which was encouraged by the ‘American educators’ who never gave half a thought that this little girls parents were Spanish… this forced her into a world of …being shouted at and constant feeling of failure on her part.
    I agree that educators, health providers and all involved need to realize the inherit need a Deaf child has… to clearly communicate!… to be a person who is accepted for who they are, Deaf.
    so bring on the idea where their needs are met with a liaison team consisting of an interpreter, a deaf child or two, a hearing parent of a deaf child and a deaf adult or two, who meet with, answer questions for and build a connection with parents of newly diagnosed children. Parent need to see this to comfort them and alleviate their fears, to encourage that there is indeed a very bright future ahead that need not be terrifying or isolating. Every hospital needs such a team in place!

  • Deafgun 16 years ago

    “What choices do we have?” When u eliminate ‘undesireable’ options, u narrow down the choices to what u like or believe in. That is what IMPACT did. They didnt like ASL so they took it out of their list of choices. By narrowing it down, it reflects thier mindsets. The remaining items on their list were what they wanted in the first place. That is Oralism and all its accessories. I agree with the media concept….lets make IMPACT go on the defensive and explain why they eliminated our choice when they propagate the idea of “parents must have choices”. Are they really open to choices, or just what they wanted on their list, and nothing else.

  • Ron 16 years ago

    “Ripples of ASL” banner is very good choice for the conference. The IMPACT members will attend the conference no matter what thier organization leaders decided to walk out. Stick to your choices.

  • debannmow5@yaho.com 16 years ago

    I agree with Ron #72

    Do Not give up. Stick to your choices and win their hearts!
    Sorry that I am late for your vlog and wish you the best for 2008 conference.

  • Jim Kelly 16 years ago

    I am laughing because I can see obviously that it is audism. They, hearing, think they know better than Deaf…their thirsty to close Deaf’s right to have choice. They are worldly thoughts not like what God thought. God creates us as mankind like God’s images. God let us to have choice to do evil or good. We must not be fear of hearing who try to destroy our Deaf rights. God can kill both body and soul. Be joyful! Keep fighting our rights…not fear. God is with us.

  • Dan Dillard 16 years ago


    You and I have known each other for years. This is the first time I have felt compelled to respond to one of your postings.

    I was surprised at your one sided version of what transpired between Impact and Cal Ed. I am curious as to how much background work you did before presenting this. For your readers, I am Deaf, my family is Deaf, and my children are Deaf, so my comments are not that of a Hearing person. It is my understanding that Impact is an organization that represents parents from various backgrounds. Impact does not push for one method of communication over another. In other words, they have parents that use a variety of communication tools, including ASL. For Cal Ed to use “Ripples in ASL” as a topic and also to provide a forum for “deafhood” shows a preference for one form of communication. Impact is an impartial orgnization that should not show preference. There were, as I understand it, other factors as to why Impact pulled out. This is not about Impact not liking ASL. This is about the fact Impact works with parents that use other forms of communication and that should be respected. ASL is not the only way some Deaf choose to communicate. This is a fact.

    Impact is a place where a variety of parents from a variety of backgrounds can come togther and utilize tools, information, and support in an effort to make the best possible choices for their Deaf child.

    I encourage your readers/viewers to learn more about Impact, and have an open mind as many seem to be suggesting. http://www.impactfamilies.org

  • Serena 16 years ago

    I think the reason people are opposed to ASL and opt for oral is because they are too lazy to learn a new language. It is easier to make the child oral. Give me a break! I have a 4 yr old profoundly deaf son that I adopted thru cps a yr ago. The child was on 2 different pyschotropic meds. He had no form of communication. He need not need meds, he needed ASL, which he is learning more every day and is a very happy, normal little boy.


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