Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Court and CI

A Washington state judge in Bellingham ordered a 8-year-old girl to wear her bilateral CIs at all the time at request of her hearing mother while she visits her deaf father who uses ASL.

This is frustrating. What business does a judge have in this type of family affairs? How much does a judge understands about CIs and Deaf Culture? All the information he received came from the representatives of the plaintiff and the defendant. As a hearing person, he is naturally inclined to accept that CI is essential to process language from the word of a representative in his courtroom.

What he failed to realize is that when the deaf girl visits her father, there is silence. ASL is a silent language. CI is useless and worthless when the father and daughter communicates in ASL. This is also what the hearing mother failed to realize as well.

So what is the point in going to court to force the deaf girl to wear her CIs when visiting her deaf father? It is called Audism, folks. The mother is using her power as a hearing parent to force the issue on her daughter. It also may be a classical case of two bitter parents having a private war and the girl has little to do with it. The hearing mother may be using the arsenal as a hearing person to oppress both her ex and her daughter.

None of this belongs in a courtroom. This is a private issue and should be left up to the girl. It appears one CI is painful and she is reluctant to wear that one but is okay with the other one. Couldn't her mother be satisfied with that?

I've seen this a lot. I've seen a mother struggle with stopping speech service for her son who wore CI. The speech therapist tried to explain that his speech hadn't improved in years, and that he didn't process language through spoken language. It took almost an hour of going rounds on this topic before the mother finally gave in and agreed to stopping the speech therapy service.

Another mother was upset her son stopped wearing CI and declared that he is deaf. We the team explained that it sounded like he developed an identity as a deaf person and decided he did not want the CI, and showed her data that his academic progress continued to improve in the year he stopped wearing his CI. It did not impact his learning. She went to say that she was awfully glad her daughter liked her CI and wouldn't stop like her brother did. Guss what? Her daughter was more language delayed than her son was. However, the mother failed to recognize that. All she thought was because her daughter spoke well, she was smarter than her brother because she was able to communicate with her daughter orally and struggled to communicate with her son. You got it - she didn't sign.

This goes on and on. The parents are seriously undereducated about the benefits of CIs. They do have benefits, but not necessarily equal for every child. Children don't necessarily acquire language from CI alone. Most of them don't. They continue to need visual support.

Either this Washington State mother is undereducated about what CI can do (from what I've read, it may be that she is afraid that by not wearing CI 24/7, the girl will lose language acquisition over a weekend with her father which is not true) or is exercising oppression upon her ex and her daughter through audism. Either way, the victim is the girl. She should be given a choice.

The girl speaks well and utilizes her CIs for their intended use at school and at her mother's house. I would think the judge might see that as sufficient to support her language acquisition, so I am left to believe the judge doesn't accept ASL as a language which may be why he failed to recognize that while at her father's house, her CIs are useless. That is why the courts should not be involved.

So, what is a better way to meditate this type of dispute between parents over CIs? This will happen again. There will be another parent suing an ex to force a deaf child to wear CI. How to meditate in such a way where only people involved are experts in CI, ASL, language acquisition, and so forth, and leave judges out of the picture?


CAM said...

Good post, Tea Lady. You brought up some areas I never considered. It is quite true that the implants are rendered useless when the girls visits her father! Now I am seriously wondering why the judge failed to realize that!

RLM said...

Deaf Tea Time,

Real great to see you again.

Please send your article to the presiding judge and local media outlets in Washington state. :)


Deaf Pixie said...

FYI: Actually it was in Idaho. but the newspaper came from Bellingham received a comment from Spokane Newspaper were published in Spokane,WA Not in Bellingham

Read Grandmother Judy's Blog

Deaf Tea Lady said...

Deaf Pixie,

It looks like the paternal grandmother lives in Idaho but the parents live in Bellingham, and the court took place in Bellingham. The grandmother contacted Bellingham paper about the case to alert the deaf community.

She was concerned her son did not have appropriate representation and did not have certified interpreter - she interpreted for her son. She became frustrated and contacted the local paper. Her home state of Idaho also picked up the story.

Anonymous said...

The case is definitely in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I feel bad for the daughter and her father right now. The judge should not be forcing kids to wear hearing aids, glasses, cochlear implants, etc. The girl is wearing them all the time give her break! Let her be herself with her father. If she chooses not to wear her implant(s) and wants to sign with her father, let her. If the courts intervene and make decisions with her life it's only going to cause resentment with Emma later and damage the father-daughter relationship.

Deaf Tea Lady said...


I need to clarify once again that the GRANDMOTHER of the little girl and the MOTHER of Shaun, the father, lives in Idaho. She WENT to Bellingham, Washington, where Shaun and his little girl live, to interpret for Shaun during the trial. The paper from her (grandmother) hometown in Idaho followed her to Washington to COVER and follow the trial. It was published in Idaho's papers as well as in Bellingham. It was the paper from Idaho that sparked the news wildfire on the case thanks to good reporting by the Idaho paper.

If you had watched the videotaped interview with Shaun, the father, with Joel Barish, you may notice in his statement that he is Washingtonian and his mother from Idaho interpreted for him during his trial. The case has to be filed in the person's legal state.

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