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BOOK REVIEWS What's That Pig Outdoors? A Memoir of Deafness. Henry Kisor. Hill and Wang, New York. Hardcover, $18.95. It has been said that no man is a hero to his valet. Henry Kisor, the biographer of Henry Kisor the deaf man, certainly did not gloss over the most unflattering aspects of his man, especially in naming the book after an episode of acoustic flatulence. What's That Pig Outdoors: A Memoir of Deafness acquired its title from the vagaries of lip-reading, or speech-reading as Kisor would prefer to call it, when Kisor, in a moment of respite from a bout with intestinal flu, broke wind. His five-year old son inquired as to the source of "that big loud noise," whereupon Kisor replied, "What pig outdoors?" This sardonic bit of self-abasement illustrates for those of us who have experienced similarly embarrassing moments the precarious nature of living by the spoken word. Kisor tells of a lifetime of deafness with humorous courage, often with unavoidably inflicted pain. His humorous jibes are not always directed at deafness and the deaf. The book is also a history of a vanishing breed of deaf Americans: those who became deaf in childhood after acquiring the rudiments of speech. Known as the postlingual deaf this group was large and prevalent in educational programs across America up until the early 1960s. Today, this type of deafness among school-age children is extremely rare, but back in the days when Kisor and I were attending school (I am a product of an oral education in a large residential school for the deaf), the standards of teaching effectiveness were based largely on this group of linguistically competent deaf children. The population is different today, and methods of teaching are different, even in the oral schools. Kisor has preserved in print the unique history of a group of deaf students and a time when "the success of education" was attributable largely to the students in spite of whatever system was used. Bits of history about the sign vs. oral controversy and the early development of assistive communication devices, which brought Kisor out of the grinding loneliness of deafness, will provide those new to a world sans hearing with awareness, if not insight, into the powerful pull for independence and equality by deaf people. The dominant theme throughout the book is the struggle for independence, with Kisor choosing as his model a mythical hero whose stature is not dependent on the ability to hear, yet subscribes to tenets that attempt to abolish an affliction of deafness; a Herculean task, indeed. Whether or not he succeeds in his labors, I leave to the judgement of the reader. As Walker Percy, in his foreword to the book, put it, "the splendid writing" makes it highly recommended. Howard R. Busby, Ph.D. Dean of Students Gallaudet University Washington, DC Educational and Developmental Aspects ofDeafness, Donald F. Moores and Kathryn P. Meadow-Orlans, Editors. Gallaudet University Press, Washington, DC, 1990. Hardcover , 451 pp., ISBN # 0-930323-52-1 Moores and Meadow-Orlans have made a valuable contribution to the field of research and education for children and youth who are deaf. Their book provides a comprehensive review of current research conducted through The Center for Studies in Education and Human Development at Gallaudet University. Perhaps the most significant feature of the book is the commitment of all the contributors to responsible investigation of the issues concerning the development and education of infants, children, and youth who are deaf. The wide range of issues addressed in the text, such as school administration, models of placement, academic achievement, socialization, and the development of parent-deaf child relationships are addressed by authors committed to and knowledgeable in the field of education for deaf persons. Each author introduces his or her topic with a comprehensive literature review that provides the rationale and foundation for the research paradigms presented and discussed in the second half of each chapter. The chapter addressing the topic of "School Placement and Least Restrictive Environment," by Moores, Cerney, and Garcia, presents a particularly interesting historical review of the educational system's patterns of inclusion and exclusion of deaf children...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0375
Print ISSN
0002-726X
Pages
p. 311
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-22
Open Access
No
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