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Multiple Avenues for Deaf People
The companion to Signs and Voices: Deaf Culture, Identity, Language, and Arts, this volume presents an accomplished group of contributors who address the major technological, institutional, and societal advances in access for deaf people, as well as the remaining hurdles. Part One: Assistive Technologies begins with Maggie Casteel’s description of the latest innovative hearing assistive technology. Al Sonnenstrahl discusses his career as a deaf engineer who segued into advocating for equal access in telecommunications. Robert C. O’Reilly, Amanda J. Mangiardi, and H. Timothy Bunnell outline the process of cochlear implantation in children.
Performance Culture and American Charity Practices
Acts of Conspicuous Compassion investigates the relationship between performance culture and the cultivation of charitable sentiment in America, exploring the distinctive practices that have evolved to make the plea for charity legible and compelling. From the work of 19th-century melodramas to the televised drama of transformation and redemption in reality TV’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Acts of Conspicuous Compassion charts the sophisticated strategies employed by various charity movements responsible for making organized benevolence alluring, exciting, and seemingly uncomplicated. Sheila C. Moeschen brokers a new way of accounting for the legacy and involvement of disabled people within charity—specifically, the articulation of performance culture as a vital theoretical framework for discussing issues of embodiment and identity dislodges previously held notions of the disabled existing as passive, “objects” of pity. This work gives rise to a more complicated and nuanced discussion of the participation of the disabled community in the charity industry, of the opportunities afforded by performance culture for disabled people to act as critical agents of charity, and of the new ethical and political issues that arise from employing performance methodology in a culture with increased appetites for voyeurism, display, and complex spectacle.
The Story of a Mother and Her Deaf Daughter
When, in 1968, 19-year-old Tressa Bowers took her baby daughter to an expert on deaf children, he pronounced that Alandra was “stone deaf,” she most likely would never be able to talk, and she probably would not get much of an education because of her communication limitations. Tressa refused to accept this stark assessment of Alandra’s prospects. Instead, she began the arduous process of starting her daughter’s education. Economic need forced Tressa to move several times, and as a result, she and Alandra experienced a variety of learning environments: a pure oralist approach, which discouraged signing; Total Communication, in which the teachers spoke and signed simultaneously; a residential school for deaf children, where Signed English was employed; and a mainstream public school that relied upon interpreters. Changes at home added more demands, from Tressa’s divorce to her remarriage, her long work hours, and the ongoing challenge of complete communication within their family. Through it all, Tressa and Alandra never lost sight of their love for each other, and their affection rippled through the entire family. Today, Tressa can triumphantly point to her confident, educated daughter and also speak with pride of her wonderful relationship with her deaf grandchildren. Alandra’s Lilacs is a marvelous story about the resiliency and achievements of determined, loving people no matter what their circumstances might be.
Intellectual Disability and Sexual Agency
Why is the sexuality of people with intellectual disabilities often deemed “risky” or “inappropriate” by teachers, parents, support staff, medical professionals, judges, and the media? Should sexual citizenship depend on IQ? Confronting such questions head-on, Already Doing It exposes the “sexual ableism” that denies the reality of individuals who, despite the restrictions they face, actively make decisions about their sexual lives.
Tracing the history of efforts in the United States to limit the sexual freedoms of such persons⎯using methods such as forced sterilization, invasive birth control, and gender-segregated living arrangements—Michael Gill demonstrates that these widespread practices stemmed from dominant views of disabled sexuality, not least the notion that intellectually disabled women are excessively sexual and fertile while their male counterparts are sexually predatory. Analyzing legal discourses, sex education materials, and news stories going back to the 1970s, he shows, for example, that the intense focus on “stranger danger” in sex education for intellectually disabled individuals disregards their ability to independently choose activities and sexual partners—including nonheterosexual ones, who are frequently treated with heightened suspicion. He also examines ethical issues surrounding masturbation training that aims to regulate individuals’ sexual lives, challenges the perception that those whose sexuality is controlled (or rejected) should not reproduce, and proposes recognition of the right to become parents for adults with intellectual disabilities.
A powerfully argued call for sexual and reproductive justice for people with intellectual disabilities, Already Doing It urges a shift away from the compulsion to manage “deviance” (better known today as harm reduction) because the right to pleasure and intellectual disability are not mutually exclusive. In so doing, it represents a vital new contribution to the ongoing debate over who, in the United States, should be allowed to have sex, reproduce, marry, and raise children.
Vol. 125 (1980) through current issue
For 150 years, the American Annals of the Deaf, has been a professional journal dedicated to quality in education and in related services for children and adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Annals publishes articles about deaf education and recent research into trends and issues in the field of deafness.
A Model Parent-Child Program
The usual definition of the term “literacy”generally corresponds with mastering the reading and writing of a spoken language. This narrow scope often engenders unsubstantiated claims that print literacy alone leads to, among other so-called higher-order thinking skills, logical and rational thinking and the abstract use of language. Thus, the importance of literacy for deaf children in American Sign Language (ASL) is marginalized, asserts author Kristin Snoddon in her new book American Sign Language and Early Literacy: A Model Parent-Child Program. As a contrast, Snoddon describes conducting an ethnographic, action study of the ASL Parent-Child Mother Goose program, provided by a Deaf service agency in Ontario, Canada to teach ASL literacy to deaf children. According to current scholarship, literacy is achieved through primary discourse shared with parents and other intimates, which establishes a child’s initial sense of identity, culture, and vernacular language. Secondary discourse derives from outside agents and interaction, such as expanding an individual’s literacy to other languages. Snoddon writes that the focus of the ASL Parent-Child Mother Goose program is on teaching ASL through rhymes and stories and some facets of the culture of Deaf ASL users. This focus enabled hearing parents to impart first-language acquisition and socialization to their deaf children in a more natural primary discourse as if the parents were Deaf themselves. At the same time, hearing parents experienced secondary discourses through their exposure to ASL and Deaf culture. Snoddon also comments on current infant hearing screening and early intervention and the gaps in these services. She discusses gatekeeper individuals and institutions that restrict access to ASL for young Deaf children and their families. Finally, she reports on public resources for supporting ASL literacy and the implications of her findings regarding the benefits of early ASL literacy programming for Deaf children and their families.
A Mother, Her Daughter, and their Stories
“Thirty-seven years ago, I vowed to write a truthful book about raising a deaf child.” Rebecca Willman Gernon followed through on her promise with her deaf daughter Amy Willman in this extraordinary new narrative. Many stories have been told about a parent’s struggle to help her deaf child succeed in a mostly hearing world. Amy Signs marks a signature departure in that both Rebecca and Amy relate their perspectives on their journey together. When she learns of 11-month-old Amy’s deafness in 1969, Rebecca fully expresses her anguish, and traces all of the difficulties she endured in trying to find the right educational environment for Amy. The sacrifices of the rest of her family weighed heavily on her, also. When she resolved to place four-year-old Amy in Nebraska’s residential school for deaf students, the emotional toll seemed too much to bear. Amy’s view acts as the perfect counterpoint. Interwoven with her mother’s story, Amy’s account confirms that signing served her best. She summarizes life in boarding school as “laughter and homesickness.” She laughed with all of her deaf friends, though felt homesick at times. Amy thanks her mother for the gift of sign, asserting that a mainstream education would never have led her to earn a master’s degree and later teach ASL at the University of Nebraska. Amy Signs is a positive albeit cautionary tale for parents of deaf children today whose only choice is a mainstreamed education.
An Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature
Dickens, Welty, and Turgenev are only three of the master storytellers in Angels and Outcasts. This remarkable collection of 14 short stories offers insights into what it means to be deaf in a hearing world. The book is divided into three parts: the first section explores works by nineteenth-century authors; the second section concentrates on stories by twentieth-century authors; and the final section focuses on stories by authors who are themselves deaf. Each section begins with an introduction by the editors, and each story is preceded by a preface. Angels and Outcasts concludes with an annotated bibliography of other prose works about the deaf experience. In addition to fascinating reading, it provides valuable insights into the world of the deaf.