The Alumni of Alexander Graham Association for the Deaf Speak Out
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Raised according to Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and its affiliated programs, we repudiate their deceptive practices. Its narrow focus on speaking and listening only leaves behind a large number of permanently damaged deaf children, adults, and their families.
Though AGBell and its affiliated programs claim they respect ASL as an option, they have a long history of maligning American Sign Language and culturally Deaf people and still continue to this day. As students of this system, we are taught to feel superior because we can talk and hear or lipread. In other words, we are encouraged to discriminate against Deaf using ASL. Furthermore, forcing us to live in a lie by impersonating hearing people invalidates us.
The windows for both spoken English and American Sign Language are equally short (Mayberry et al in 2011). The parents of deaf children aren't informed of this. If the children fail to master a spoken language during the critical period of language development, they are linguistically deprived with permanent brain and cognitive damages. They can't learn ASL or any other language. Many deaf children of the oral/aural methods continue to show up in schools with minimal or no language, unprepared academically. The incidence of linguistic deprivation among oral deaf children continues to be an epidemic.
The parents are fed false information about how ASL would harm the development of the oral skills of their children. Current research indicates otherwise. Knowing ASL enables the deaf children to acquire speech and listening better and quicker (Hassanzadeh 2012).
AGBell continues to deny the failure rate of its program, sweeping the students under the rug. The majority of the deaf children start orally. Many end in deaf schools, deaf programs, or submerged in the mainstreamed programs. AGBell portrays the top-performing students as the norm when, in reality, they aren't. Children with cochlear implants, even those implanted early, likely do not enter school with comparable vocabulary knowledge to their peers and often do not “catch up” in vocabulary knowledge quickly (Lund,2015). The trend demonstrated by this analysis indicates that receptive vocabulary knowledge may be more delayed for children with cochlear implants relative to children with normal hearing than expressive vocabulary knowledge (Lund, 2015).
Cochlear implants and hearing aids don't make us hearing. AGBell claims oralism is fully accessible and promises independence in society while it fights for support services as FM, CART, closed captioning, and, for some, oral interpreters for its members (AGBell) (AGBell).
AGBell may deceive the parents. However, we know the truth. After all, we are the alumni of this system.
(Hassanzadeh 2012) Outcomes of Cochlear Implantation in Deaf Children of Deaf Parents: Comparative Study
(Mayberry et al in 2011) Age of Acquisition Effects on the Functional Organization of Language in the Adult Brain
(Lund, 2015) Vocabulary Knowledge of Children with Cochlear Implants: A Meta-Analysis with Cochlear Implants: A Meta-Analysis
(AGBell) Sony, Disney, Netflix Among Eight Major Motion Picture and Television Studios Named in AG Bell Members' Lawsuit
(AGBell) AG Bell Files Amicus Brief Supporting CART Interpreting for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
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