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Letters to Helen Keller
As a young blind girl, Georgina Kleege repeatedly heard the refrain, “Why can’t you be more like Helen Keller?” Kleege’s resentment culminates in her book Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, an ingenious examination of the life of this renowned international figure using 21st-century sensibilities. Kleege’s absorption with Keller originated as an angry response to the ideal of a secular saint, which no real blind or deaf person could ever emulate. However, her investigation into the genuine person revealed that a much more complex set of characters and circumstances shaped Keller’s life. Blind Rage employs an adroit form of creative nonfiction to review the critical junctures in Keller’s life. The simple facts about Helen Keller are well-known: how Anne Sullivan taught her deaf-blind pupil to communicate and learn; her impressive career as a Radcliffe graduate and author; her countless public appearances in various venues, from cinema to vaudeville, to campaigns for the American Foundation for the Blind. But Kleege delves below the surface to question the perfection of this image. Through the device of her letters, she challenges Keller to reveal her actual emotions, the real nature of her long relationship with Sullivan, with Sullivan’s husband, and her brief engagement to Peter Fagan. Kleege’s imaginative dramatization, distinguished by her depiction of Keller’s command of abstract sensations, gradually shifts in perspective from anger to admiration. Blind Rage criticizes the Helen Keller myth for prolonging an unrealistic model for blind people, yet it appreciates the individual who found a practical way to live despite the restrictions of her myth.
Deaf Identity and Internal Revolution
Christopher Jon Heuer lost his hearing early, but not before “being able to hear a lot as a kid.” He also received a good education, both in a speech-oriented setting and a signing environment. These varied experiences provided him with the perfect background to write about biases he faced, not only those of a mostly oblivious hearing society, but also those of ideologically restrictive members of the Deaf community. BUG: Deaf Identity and Internal Revolution combines new work of Heuer’s with his best columns from The Tactile Mind Weekly and the National Association of the Deaf’s Mind Over Matter. He addresses all topics – exit interviews, baldness, faith healing, marriage, cats, Christmas trips, backyard campfires in boxer shorts – with a withering wit that spares no aspect of life and deafness. Being “bugged” for Heuer began early: “When I was growing up, my mother’s response to every problem I had was: ‘Well, he just needs to adjust to his deafness.’ Bloody nose? ‘Chris, you need to adjust to your deafness.’ Homework not done? ‘I know it’s hard adjusting to your deafness, honey, but ....’ Acne scarring? ‘Lots of teenagers get zits, Chris. I know it’s hard for you, dealing with this while trying to adjust to your ....’” He rebelled then, and continues through his even-handed irreverence in BUG, a bomb that should go off in everyone’s consciousness about being deaf and Deaf.
Kyler Daniels was born in 1988 with a profound bilateral hearing loss. Her deafness went undetected for a year since newborn screening for hearing loss was not yet available. Kyler benefited, however, from the great support of her family and a string of excellent professionals in deaf education, including Ann Darby Getty, the author of this shared, experiental story. As soon as they realized that their daughter was deaf, Kyler’s parents, who were hearing, immediately began to learn sign language. They also engaged Darby, a parent/infant educator employed by the state school for the deaf, to work with Kyler. From the age of 13 months until Kyler’s college graduation 22 years later, Darby was involved in her education and development. Despite living in a rural area, Kyler enjoyed an array of services, including parent/infant education, sign language interaction/modeling, speech and language therapy, and also a cochlear implant. At the same time that she developed her speech skills, sign language continued to be a critically important facet of her communication. In grade school, she learned with other deaf students, while in high school, she worked successfully in mainstream classrooms with interpreters and notetakers. As a college graduate, gifted artist, and veterinarian’s assistant today, Kyler exemplifies how a balanced approach to deaf education, using all resources at hand, can achieve remarkable results. Her story serves as a model for parents of other deaf children and professionals working with deaf children.
The cochlear implant debate has changed, as evidenced in this cogent collection that presents 13 chapters by 20 experts, including several who communicate through sign language but also utilize cochlear implants. The impetus for this change stems from recognition that both visual and aural input can enhance the education of deaf children. Divided into four sections, Cochlear Implants: Evolving Perspectives first focuses on the impact of implants in the Deaf community. Chapters in this section examine the issues driving the cochlear implant debate, the ethics of genetic engineering, experiences of implanted adult deaf signers, reflections of deaf mothers who have had their children implanted, and the effects of implants on deaf identity. The second section delves into the mechanics of bimodal processing, including listening strategies that can benefit signing children with cochlear implants. The third section surveys combined aural/visual educational approaches, such as teaching implanted children in an ASL/English bilingual classroom, and applying auditory rehabilitation to a signed communication context. The final section challenges readers to reframe the debate first by exploring sensory politics, then by envisioning an emerging world that requires the Deaf community to connect with it to secure its future. With this information, readers will reach their own conclusions about cochlear implants and auditory and visual approaches to the mastery of both spoken and signed languages.
Ethics and Choices
Cochlear Implants in Children: Ethics and Choices addresses every facet of the ongoing controversy about implanting cochlear hearing devices in children as young as 12 months old and in some cases, younger. Authors John B. Christiansen and Irene W. Leigh and contributors Jay Lucker and Patricia Elizabeth Spencer analyzed the sensitive issues connected with the procedure by reviewing 439 responses to a survey of parents with children who have cochlear implants. They followed up with interviews of the parents of children who have had a year's experience using their implants, and also the children themselves. Their findings shape the core of this useful and telling study. Cochlear Implants begins with a history of their development and an explanation of how implants convert sound into electric impulses that stimulate the brain. The second section focuses on pediatric implants, starting with the ways parents coped with the discovery that their child was deaf. Parents share how they learned about cochlear implants and how they chose an implant center. They also detail their children's experiences with the implants after surgery, and their progress with language acquisition and in school. The final part treats the controversy associated with cochlear implants, particularly the reaction of the Deaf community and the ethics of implanting young children without their consent. Cochlear Implants concludes with sage observations and recommendations for parents and professionals that complete it as the essential book on the pros and cons of this burgeoning technology.
Directions for Research and Instruction
This groundbreaking book integrates the work of 54 contributors to the 1984 symposium on cognition, education, and deafness. It focuses on cognition and deaf students’ growth and development, problem-solving strategies, thinking processes, language development, reading methodology, measurement of potential, and intervention programs. The synthesis of these discoveries establishes directions for new research and outlines implications for all professionals working with hearing-impaired learners.
This unequaled collection of international programs will enable educators worldwide to investigate special education practice within its social context to enhance their own initiatives with new ideas. Comparative Studies divides into five sections, each with an introduction to the chapters within. This thorough text begins with limited special education in such venues as South Africa and Senegal. Section Two addresses emerging special education in Nigeria, Brazil, and several other locales. Segregated special education in Japan, Russia, and other countries makes up Section Three, and Section Four explores countries that are approaching integration, such as Poland and Australia. Integrated special education is described in Scandinavia, New Zealand and other nations in the final section. More than 50 noted scholars have contributed to this important work, offering an indispensable, detailed frame of reference for assessing education programs worldwide for all special populations -- blind, deaf, physically and mentally disabled, and all others.
In past studies of the effect of environment and social settings upon the cognitive development of deaf children, results frequently were confounded by conflicting conclusions related to the particpants’ varying degrees of hearing loss. Context, Cognition, and Deafness: An Introduction takes an interdisciplinary approach that clarifies these disparate findings by analyzing many methodologies. Editors M. Diane Clark, Marc Marschark, and Michael Karchmer, widely respected scholars in their own right, have assembled work by a varying cast of renowned researchers to elucidate the effects of family, peers, and schools on deaf children. To integrate the often contrasting approaches of clinical and cultural researchers, this sharply focused volume has called upon experts in anthropology, psychology, linguistics, basic visual sensory processes, education, cognition, and neurophysiology to share complementary observations. One of William C. Stokoe’s last contributions, “Deafness, Cognition, and Language” leads fluidly into Jeffrey P. Praden’s analysis of clinical assessments of deaf people’s cognitive abilities. Margaret Wilson expands on the impace of sign language expertise on visual perception. Context, Cognition, and Deafness also shows that theory can intersect practice, as displayed by editor Marschark and Jennifer Lukomski in their research on literacy, cognition, and education. Amy R. Lederberg and Patricia E. Spencer have combined sequential designs in their study of vocabulary learning. Ethan Remmel, Jeffrey G. Bettger, and Amy M. Weinberg explore the theory of mind development. The emotional development of deaf children also received detailed consideration by Colin D. Gray, Judith A. Hosie, Phil A. Russell, and Ellen A. Ormel. Kathryn P. Meadow-Orlans delineates her perspective on the coming of age of deaf children in relation to their education and development. Marschark concludes with insightful impressions on the future of theory and application, an appropriate close to this exceptional, coherent volume.
Representations of Deafness in Biography
This remarkable volume examines the process by which three deaf, French biographers from the 19th and 20th centuries attempted to cross the cultural divide between deaf and hearing worlds through their work. The very different approach taken by each writer sheds light on determining at what point an individual’s assimilation into society endangers his or her sense of personal identity. Author Hartig begins by assessing the publications of Jean-Ferdinand Berthier (1803–1886). Berthier wrote about Auguste Bébian, Abbé de l’Epée, and Abbé Sicard, all of whom taught at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris. Although Berthier presented compelling portraits of their entire lives, he paid special attention to their political and social activism, his main interest. Yvonne Pitrois (1880-1937) pursued her particular interest in the lives of deaf-blind people. Her biography of Helen Keller focused on her subject’s destiny in conjunction with her unique relationship with Anne Sullivan. Corinne Rocheleau-Rouleau (1881-1963) recounted the historical circumstances that led French-Canadian pioneer women to leave France. The true value of her work resides in her portraits of these pioneer women: maternal women, warriors, religious women, with an emphasis on their lives and the choices they made. Crossing the Divide reveals clearly the passion these biographers shared for narrating the lives of those they viewed as heroes of an emerging French deaf community. All three used the genre of biography not only as a means of external exploration but also as a way to plumb their innermost selves and to resolve ambivalence about their own deafness.
Eugenics and Deaf People in Nazi Germany
Horst Biesold’s Crying Hands treats a neglected aspect of the Holocaust: the fate of the deaf in Nazi Germany. His book covers a story that has remained almost unknown. In the United States, even in Germany, few are aware that during the Nazi era human beings–men, women, and children–with impaired hearing were sterilized against their will, and even fewer know that many of the deaf were also murdered. --From the Foreword by Henry Friedlander When the Nazis assumed power in Germany in 1933, they wasted no time in implementing their radical policies, first by securing passage of the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases. Among those designated by this law as “congenitally disabled” were deaf people. Horst Biesold’s newly translated book examines this neglected aspect of Nazi “racial hygiene” through interviews with more than 1,000 deaf survivors of this brutal law that authorized forced sterilizations, abortions, and eventually murder. Crying Hands meticulously delineates the antecedents of Nazi eugenics, beginning with Social Darwinism (postulated in the mid-nineteenth century) and tracing the various sterilization laws later initiated throughout the world, including many passed and practiced in the United States. This exceptional scholarship is movingly paralleled by the human faces fixed to the numbing statistics, as in story after story those affected recount their irretrievable loss, pain, and misplaced shame imposed upon them by the Nazi regime. Through their stories, told to Biesold in German Sign Language, they have given voice to the countless others who died from the specious science practiced by the Third Reich. And now their own trials finally have been acknowledged.