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Sound & Fury Part 5

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Nita: It was really wrong for me to meet them. I felt they were smothering me and they thought I was stupid, but I’m just trying to do what’s best for my family. Maybe Shelby’s family feels ashamed of her deafness or embarrassed. Shelby is going to grow up thinking she was implanted because it’s bad to be deaf. Mari: Nita, she’s happy in the hearing world. Leave her alone. Why does she have to have a deaf identity? Nita: Because she doesn’t even know what her deafness is. She has no idea because her parents didn’t tell her she’s deaf. She’d ask, “What is sign language”? Mari, what is that? I felt so bad, I was really hurt, she doesn’t sign at all, not even one word. And she acts like a hearing person. Mari: Why is it so important to be deaf? Yes, deaf people have beautiful language, but you miss out on so many other beautiful things in the world, like music. Nita: I don’t care about music, I can’t hear it. Mari: It’s hearing a baby cry for the first time or being outside and hearing the beautiful rain. You can hear the rain falling on the ground. Nita: Mari, I…you don’t understand. Wait a minute you are hearing, you can hear. I never hear for me this is normal I can see the beautiful rain, I can taste the rain on my lips, it doesn’t matter to me to hear it, it makes no since to me. Mari: But Nita, you never experienced hearing. I know what you’re missing. Nita: I thought about everything everyone said to me and I’ve decided to disregard it and from now on make the decisions for myself. People have been saying “Oh, the cochlear implant is going to make it better for Heather, She’ll be able to be able to communicate better, but I think my husband and I are going to do our best to give her a good education. So she’ll be able to have a good life without the implant. Nita: Do you know why your father and I decided that the cochlear implant is not a good idea for you? It’s because you’re still young, your only five years old and you started understanding your deaf culture. You already have your language, sign language. Heather: Deaf Culture? Nita: Deaf culture means that there is a group of deaf people who sign and live together. Hearing people use speech, that’s their language in their culture. You’re already involved in deaf culture because your parents are deaf and we all sign together. Heather: Is it easy to wear the implant and become hearing? Nita: No honey, it’s not easy. Do you care that you’re not getting the implant now? Heather: I don’t care, I don’t care. (♪ Flute and violin music plays in the background while heather makes noise from her toys ♫) Heather: You know a little bit. You know deaf sign, say nice to meet you, watch… nice to meet you. (Music fades to the sound of a match being light) Everyone: One, two, three! (Everyone sings happy birthday while signing to Christopher) Happy birthday to you... Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday dear Christopher, happy birthday to you. Every one: Blow out the candle, blow. Make a wish. Christopher: (makes a blowing noise to blow out the candle) Everyone: Yeah! (Clapping in the background) Heather: Ba ba ba ah ou ou (makes deaf noise) Marianne: Big what? Heather: Big gah mah (deaf noise) Marianne: Big grandma? Heather: (giggles) (Signing sounds, coughing, kids talking in the background: “My turn”) Marianne: I love you? The book? On the cochlear? The hearing book? Oh, I have it home, I forgot it. Maybe later I’ll go get it, ok? Nita: You know we changed our minds. We don’t want a cochlear implant now, we want her to wait. She’s already confused. If she had an implant their telling me that their not allowed to sign and she has to speak. We’re not ready for that, we decided to put it off and we feel much better about it. Marianne: Suppose when she starts to… when she starts to get older and she see’s other children with cochlear and she’s saying, “Why don’t I have that?” Why make her wait and suffer more? Nita: You don’t understand. She’ll be missing out on deaf life. Marianne: Forget deaf! You are a mother first and you’re a father first. You do what’s right for that child… Peter: Heather said to me, “I’m not ready to have a cochlear implant, I’m too afraid. I said that’s fine, so give her time. Marianne: It should not be her decision. You don’t talk about this in front of the child because it’s not her decision, it’s your decision. Peter: Oh right, come on Ma. Marianne: Wait a minute. She says to me, “Grandma,” she says. “I want to communicate” this is what she said “Communicate. I want” no, no, she says “I want to hear same as you”. What is that? So am I lying? Peter: You’re really pushing, stop pushing me mom! Marianne: I want to push for her, Heather is an exception. She’s extremely bright; she’s a perfect candidate for cochlear. Peter: I’ll decide what’s best for Heather, I’m her father. Marianne: But that’s your daughter, don’t you want the best? Peter: I know what’s best for her! Marianne: No, you don’t. Peter: I know what I’m doing. Marianne: My opinion, you don’t know what’s best for her. Peter: You’re worried about what other people will think. Marianne: I know what you went through growing up! I know the frustrations you had. Peter: No, you don’t. You don’t have any idea what I went through. Marianne: Peter? What?! Peter: You don’t know what it’s like to be deaf. Marianne: Peter? Peter. I walked through the supermarkets with a, you in the basket. The…the people look at you with hearing aid and making fun of you. (Voice is beginning to sound hurt and sad). Peter: I don’t care what hearing people think! Marianne: Peter! You don’t understand! You weren’t there! You didn’t experience it; you did not experience it as a parent. She will suffer more, she’s gonna… Peter: That’s your thinking. Marianne: No, it’s not my thinking! Talk to the educators, go to the conferences. The deaf world is changing. Peter: Look at me Mom! Look at me! Are you telling me I don’t have a successful life?! Look at me now! What do you think?!! Marianne: Look! You’re my son and I raised you from a little boy and I love you! Peter: Oh come on, your changing your whole attitude! Marianne: I’m not changing my attitude! Peter: You are! Marianne: Oh really, if you were born today, tomorrow you would go to the doctor for a cochlear implant. Peter: Thank God! I don’t want an implant! Marianne: Fine you don’t need a cochlear. You don’t want it, don’t take it Peter: Right! Marianne: So what? Peter: Everybody is trying to pressure me! Chris: I could care less what you do, it… Peter: Chris, did I complain to you?! Did I complain to you about your decision?! Did I???! Did I say a word to you? Chris: I’m not going to get angry because it’s your daughter. Did I complain about your decision? Peter: Did I complain to you?! Chris: You want to do it for your daughter, that’s your issue. Peter: Heather is my child! And I’m not being closed minded! Hearing people have their own ways of looking at things. I have a deaf family. That is my life. She’s always giving me a hard time! Marianne: Peter! Peter. All I’m telling you, as a parent and as a grandparent, you are choosing a tough road for Heather. Peter: I’m the parent! You are not the parent! Marianne: I said Grandparent Peter: I’m the one who makes the decisions?! Marianne: I said if you will understand? Peter: I said this is my decision?! Marianne: Peter?! Peter: I never knew that you really didn’t except deafness until now. Marianne: Peter, you only want to see what you want to see. Peter: It’s obvious you don’t except it. Marianne: I would give my life for her. Peter: It’s just a gamble. Marianne: It is not a gamble. Peter: It is! Marianne: Years ago it was a gamble, it is not a gamble now! (Background noise of kids playing and laughing with the wind and trees blowing) Marianne: Breaks my heart because I know what she is going to go through. They don’t realize it; they don’t know what the future holds for her. (Deep breathe noise) The frustrations they went through, they don’t remember cause they were too young. But I saw the isolation; I saw them ya know being ignored because they’re deaf because people can’t communicate with them and I don’t blame the hearing world for that. I mean their minority. The hearing world is not going to learn their sign language. I don’t want to make heather hearing, I want to make her life easier. I can accept her deafness, what bothers me is that it could be easier for her. Peter: Hearing people think the deafness is limiting that we can’t succeed. I say no way. (♪ Xylophone music is playing, city noise of people talking, the wind is blowing in the background ♫) Peter: No way! Look at me, I’m deaf and I’m successful. I work with computers at Salmin Smith Barney down town on Wall Street. I have to face the hearing world every day at work and it’s tough. (Computer noise in background, papers ruffling) Lady: Five, six, four Supervisor: No, it’s the one after that. This is the one he is doing. Right here… Peter: I’m dependant on emails, and interpreters and to be honest yeah, sometimes I do feel limited. But the hearing world can be very, very selfish. There is a lot of discrimination against deaf people. Supervisor: …and Monday morning we’ll have new configurations of cubes and we’ll move back in… Peter: The honest truth is…I probably can’t go that much further up the corporate ladder.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 6 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Roger Weisberg
Director: Josh Aronson
Views: 178
Posted by: aroutly242 on Dec 8, 2008

Two families continue to debate if their child should get a cochlear implant.

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