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Turn A Deaf Ear

January 4, 2013


Written by Janet Fiore Horger and Linda Fiore Sanders, Turn A Deaf Ear was based on the time period of the 50’s and the 60’s.

It was an interesting love story and capitalized on the relationship between a deaf man and a hearing woman, especially coming from that time period.

The story is based on this character, Linda, who came from a traditional Italian family out of New Jersey whose parent divorced in a time where divorce was considered a taboo.  Linda and her family moved out to California after her mother’s divorce.  Linda’s brother brought home a co-worker, John, who was deaf.  Linda was both infatuated and fascinated with John and sign language, hence, was motivated to learn sign language in order to get close to John. They dated and eventually got married.  Linda eventually became a sign language interpreter.  The book covers, in most parts, the life of Linda and John and how their relationship was nurtured by their love for each other and their love of the deaf world in spite of the prejudices and barriers that deaf people experienced, and I might note, still do – to this day.  It is not uncommon for hearing families to react to their child marrying a deaf person, for example.

I have several friends, both deaf and hearing who are in a deaf/hearing relationship/marriage and have always concluded that theirs were no different from any other relationships/marriage between hearing or deaf couples.  The only difference is that a deaf person has a hearing loss, and it really has no bearing on the matters of the heart.  Matters of the heart – as we all that have loved and lost and loved – knows, it is usually unique in every couple.

The fact that Linda learned sign language, showed that she put communication at a priority, in her relationship with John.  Not every deaf individual uses sign language, but in Linda and John’s case, It was nice that Linda learned sign language so that their relationship would not be muddied by misunderstandings which is oftentimes, but not always, common among the hearing and deaf.  Not every deaf person has the capability to lip read proficiently. Most deaf do not have that skill, but there are some that are very proficient in lipreading.  So, I think for every deaf/hearing relationship, there are several factors that are taken into consideration when it comes to communication.  I have known many deaf/hearing relationship that involves a hearing person knowing at least passable sign language in order to be able to have a conversation with their significant other or other deaf people, which benefits the relationship and also benefits fitting in with deaf culture.  I have also known of couples where one did not want to learn sign language, the relationship wasn’t nurtured and in the end, both couples fell apart, going their own way. yet, the same scenario finds other couples still in love and happy in spite of the other not knowing sign language. In this book, the deaf person is part of a deaf culture, ergo, any guesses that all deaf/hearing relationship are like Linda and John would be a bad assumption.

I did find one incident in the book quite interesting where a female deaf individual approached Linda who was hearing, visibly angry at Linda for marrying a deaf man because there were not enough deaf man for every deaf woman.  This was new to me, and was unheard of in all my years being part of deaf culture.  For all I know, based on my observation, there were plenty of deaf men out there. And definitely enough to offer their hearts to hearing women.  ;)   The fact that it happened in California, made me consider the possibility of different views among the deaf in different parts of the United States.  I grew up in the Midwest and certainly never saw anyone brought up this topic, growing up in deaf culture.

Incidentally, I have seen discussions during my college years where some deaf people feel that if a deaf person ended up marrying a hearing person, it was because they felt that a deaf person would not be able to take care of them like their hearing parents.  That their relationship of the heart was based on the parent they were closest to, such as a mother or a father figure. The same way some girls married men ten-20 years their senior because they have ‘father issues.”

I don’t know if there’s any evidence of such, but the discussions I have seen in the past on this subject was quite intriguing to say the least.  Most of our relationships (Who we are attracted to, who we look for, etc. ) are usually, but not always, based on something such as a relationship experience from our childhood, whether we had good or bad relationship with one of both of our parents or caregiver. In the same way, one person tend to go out with similar personality in every relationship they had in their life, some of which may be based on their father/mother/caregiver figure.

In some parts of the book, one can’t help but feel that Linda sees herself as godsend, in that John is fortunate to have her as an ‘advocate’ or as Linda’s sister Janet calls her a “true champion of the deaf”, it’s as if, without her hearing, John would have had more barriers to deal with.  As someone who has enough hearing to use the phone and speak eloquently, It was an unspoken rule that we don’t interfere with how a deaf person functions in the world at large, unless asked.  I would never have seen myself as a true champion of a deaf person, in fact, I never have.  When I go to a restaurant, I usually let my husband order food for himself, I rarely butt in and interpret for him, or make him feel like a third wheel.  Many deaf individuals are capable of advocating for themselves and needless to say, this helps with their self-esteem. The only time I will interpret for him or speak up for him, is if only and only if he asks that I do.  In certain situations, If I had overheard things said that was offensive, I would share that with a deaf person and then allow them to reach a conclusion on how they would handle it rather than going off the handle and handle the person that made the offensive remarks, myself.

So, all in all, in regards to this book covering John and Linda’s relationship as a deaf/hearing couple, It was an interesting perspective of a certain time period where deaf/hearing relationship wasn’t as common as they are now.  Another thing to note is that back in the 60’s, TTY (Teletype Machine) and Video Phones were not around, thus, many deaf people do rely on hearing person to make and take phone calls.  I remember having to make calls for my parents.  I like it when I didn’t have to do that for my husband, I truly feel that for a deaf person to be able to take or make calls, it helps with their being assertive in many areas of their live.  When a deaf person initiates or take a phone call themselves, they get to see the information first hand where the message is less likely to be twisted and misunderstood as they could easily be if a hearing person made or took a call for them, which happens quite often.

Turn A Deaf Ear points out a need for more true stories (by the way, this was a true story) covering deaf/hearing relationship within the deaf culture. It would also be nice to see how a deaf/hearing relationship works out with those who do not use sign language but other forms of languages such as Cued Speech, those who listen and speak with the assistance of any hearing technology.

Turn A Deaf Ear is not one of the best novel I have read.  There were some interesting off the wall stories that makes one wonder why it was in the book. Grammar was poorly written in many areas of the book.  But, if one were to focus on the relationship between a hearing and deaf person, sans the grammar,  it is an interesting book to read.

I am giving away two Turn A Deaf Ear books (FOR FREE!!), one from those who leave a comment on this blog and those who leave a comment on my Facebook status.  If you have no response to my review on this book, a simple comment or status that states “Put my name in for a free book” will suffice.  :)

So, I will need your real email address (which will not show up in the comment section) so that I can email you for your mailing address IF your name was one that was drawn. I will write the names down and put them in a jar.  I will have my daughter draw the names.

Calico Joe

March 30, 2012

Reading Calico Joe brought back memories.

Memories of the summer of 1973 when I discovered baseball.  Memories of being a softball widow for years after I got married.  They were sweet and bittersweet memories.

Baseball and softball memories – and to me, they’re both the same, except with softball the ball is bigger and softer.  The men in my life have lectured me by get into specifics on why they’re both not the same. For example, in baseball there’s 90 feet between bases and for softball it’s 60 feet.  Softball pitchers can start and finish a game because they use underhand pitching which is more of a natural motion than baseball which explains why baseball pitchers usually do not finish a game and require rest after a game since the pitching motion is not as natural as it is in softball, and so on.

Calico Joe was written by combining fictional story with non-fictional history of Chicago Cubs and baseball.

In 1973, I learned all about baseball and Cubs by a childhood male friend of mine.  He would ride his bike from his place to mine which was about 20 blocks away, give or take.  He would come over to my place almost every day and would join me in whatever I was doing at the time with the exception of hanging out with my friends from my neighborhood.  If I was pulling weed from the garden, he would jump right in and help me out.  It was that summer he would tell me that the Cubs were playing and that we should watch the game on WGN.  Often times, I would oblige and curled up on the sofa reading a book whilst he was watching the game.  I would get interrupted so much by his non-stop relaying the plays of the game and the players stats, so I ended up putting the book down and watch the games.  It did not matter to him that in the beginning I was not interested in baseball.  By the time summer came to an end, I knew all of the players name and their stats.  It was then I became a life long die hard Cubs fan.

I recognized several players name in Calico Joe.  Who could forget Ron Santo and Rick Monday?!  :)

When my husband played for several softball teams over the years, every summer I was a softball widow.  My husband played for numerous deaf softball teams in several states, mostly he played for a couple of teams in Chicago and downstate IL.  They usually play in a league against other non-deaf teams and towards the end of the summer there were regional tournaments and then there was a national tournament.  Back in the day, American Athletic Association of the Deaf was responsible for national softball tournament and now it’s called the National Softball Association of the Deaf.  There were many practices and games that I did not watch and then again, there were many that I did.  I have gone to many regional tournaments and a few national tournaments.  The nice thing about being a softball widow, temporarily, is that I get to have my “me” time.  The times that I actually watched the games or practices, I saw how these players would get beaned.  I was told that beaning is allowed, it’s an unwritten rule.  Yet, it is also an unwritten rule that players do not get beaned above the neck.  I have seen how players would get real pissed if they got beaned and I’ve seen how new players would get beaned because of their cocky attitudes and in baseball there’s a lot of hotdogs too.  I’m not talking Oscar Mayer here nor am I referring to Chicago’s Vienna Beef.

Calico Joe is about that, the beaning, except the pitcher broke an unwritten rule.

Many sons life and the exorbitantly high expectations of their father tend to involve the son being overshadowed by their father. Often times these expectations are pivotal to a son.  This isn’t limited to baseball but in all aspects of a parent/child’s life.  The feeling that one could never be good enough because of the steep expectation that a parent has over their child, whether done intentionally or not.  Even without the expectations of a parent, sometimes it could involve just the achievement a parent has that has that effect.  Many of us have experienced that.  Sometimes overshadowing motivates a child and sometimes it just is too much.

Calico Joe hits home with a poignant story about relationships between fathers and sons.

Calico Joe is a story about pride and forgiveness.  It’s also a story about dreams achieved and dreams lost.

Most of all, it’s a story as American as apple pie.

Reading Calico Joe brought  up lots of memories for me.  Sweet, bittersweet memories.

In the end, when I put the book down, it brought a warm fuzzy feeling.

Calico Joe is for every die-hard Cubs fan and it’s for every baseball fan who loves the misery of Cub’s losing streak.   ;)

I can guarantee you, Calico Joe is a book that will be hard to put down.

Kudos to John Grisham for managing to write a great story line involving America’s favorite pastime.

Who let the SIGNAGE out???!!!!

December 15, 2011



Gallaudet University’s Department of ASL and Deaf Studies is a curriculum department. They provide instruction for the study of ASL, deaf people and deaf community.

The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies provides undergraduate degree programs and graduate degree programs.

The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet serves the students and faculty members of the university.

The Department of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet does not provide services and products to the public. Everyone who has courses within the ASL and Deaf Studies Department knows where it is since they take classes there on a routine basis.

On the other hand….

Gallaudet’s Hearing and Speech Center provides services and products to the students, faculty and members of the mainstream public such as those that live outside of the campus – namely, community members of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

The services they provide are audiology, cochlear implants, hearing aid evaluation and dispensing, assistive devices, speech-language evaluation and therapy, and aural rehabilitation services.

People actually pay for these services or are covered under their health insurance plan.

There is a walk-in service, much like walk-in urgent care services.

There is an appointment one can make for their speech and hearing services.

So then, the differences between Gallaudet’s ASL and Deaf Studies Department and the Speech and Hearing Center is quite clear.

It would explain why there are signs pointing to the Speech and Hearing Center because it serves the public outside of Gallaudet whereas the ASL and Deaf Studies Department serves students and faculty members of the university.

It is as simple as that.

One could ask Gallaudet why, or one can come to a simple conclusion by understanding what each department or center does and whom they serve.

Times a wasting on wasting time.

Happy Holidays to you all!

I’ll be back next year.


You Decide? And more…

October 14, 2011

Well, I am almost back in commission after a hard drive failure, it was partial…but all my files and important stuffs were intact.

And, when one has been out of commission for a while, it takes time to really get back into the fold.

Like, discovering the real world all over again.  (OMG!) ….and things like that…..

I have several things I really want to blog about.

Such as challenging two individuals for the things they said online.    SMH   Should I do it?

Touching on the Envoy Esteem Implant.

Deafhood.   This one has been popping up all over the place and I had some things I wanted to say.

Not to mention some comments which raised eyebrows. I want to touch on that, I want to point out something in hopes that the individual will have a better look at himself.  Although, I suspect the same other individual is working behind the scenes attempting to keep her sheep all in a row, or all circled around her.   Ahh, should I even get into that?

Nothing personal, just pointing out things as it is, in order to help others see it better.  Some people choose to be blind, ya know?

And, then there’s this genocide and eradication crap flying all over the place.   This one is important to really discuss.

And, finally, you decide!  What the heck?   Clearly Mishka Zena is still miffed at the fact that her previous post really isn’t evidence,  she is just fumbling, hoping that her readers will be affected with passion and start a riot.   Or something like that.

Let’s face it, medical community is always looking for a cure, looking for improvement in what isn’t working right.   Come on folks, being deaf/hard of hearing  IS a medical condition.  Really.  So, it makes sense when there’s entities trying to find a cure.  Until there is a cure, a real cure…there’s no such thing as eradication of deafness.  Likewise, if you’re going to be talking about genocide, you better have evidence of deaf people being killed because they’re deaf.  Or, making it mandatory for deaf people to have implants.   To improve or cure deafness isn’t genocide.

I actually almost wrote a real post!!

Anyway, these are the few things I think I want to cover…but time is my enemy.  Give me time, I’ll be back.

Which is better? : Deaf or Deafness?

October 2, 2011

Which is better : Deaf or Deafness?

It’s one of the few things that annoys me to no end. It just drives me nuts.

It’s when people use the word deafness in the wrong way.  It’s when they define that word erroneously.

Did it ever occur to you that Deaf and Deafness are both the same. The only difference is how each is used in a sentence or a title.

We have seen how some claimed deafness is the focus on ‘ears’ and ‘mouths’.

We have seen how some claimed deafness is medical.  Pathological.

Is deaf better than deafness?

No way, no how.

Both mean the same thing.


We have seen how some claimed deafhood is better than deaf or deafness.

Throw in a bit of a common sense here, okay?  Along with learning English structure.

Deaf is an adjective.

Deafness is a noun.

I’m not sure what deafhood is, it’s not even in the dictionary, not the official one anyway.

Definition of DEAF

lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing

unwilling to hear or listen : not to be persuaded <was overwrought and deaf to reason>

deaf·ish   adjective
deaf·ly  adverb
deaf·ness  noun

Merriam-Webster does not have a stand alone definition of deafness, most likely because it is the same definition of deaf except deafness is a noun and its use is dependent on how a sentence or title is worded.

We can say:  I am deaf.

We cannot say:  I am deafness.

We can say:  My deafness does not define me.

We cannot say:  My deaf does not define me.

We can say:  This book is about deaf people.

We cannot say:  This book is about deafness people.

We can say:  I am going to a book signing for “Understanding Deafness.”

We cannot say:  I am going to a book signing for “Understanding Deaf.”

We can say:  share your deafness with me.

We can not say:  Share your deaf with me.

I don’t know where the idea that deafness is defined to mean Oral or ‘ears’ and/or ‘mouth’, because that is not what deafness means.

It seemed that it might have come out during a time where certain people assumed that oral organization with the word deafness in it meant it is oral related, has to do with ears or mouth. I do remember someone saying deaf is better than deafness.

Truth is, It depends on how the title of an organization is named or how a sentence is set up.

There’s no way to compare these two words because they both mean the same thing.

Soooo, which is better?  Deaf or Deafness?

Neither. They’re the same.

Research provides Critical info for parents

September 28, 2011

When I read The Hearing Blog’s latest post, “New Research shows Listening and Hearing is Different for Children with Cochlear Implants”, I knew right away that some of the Pro-ASL advocates would mis-interpret the study.

And, they did.

The study provides critical decision-making information for parents who opt for cochlear implant for their deaf infants.

What we have seen floating around here and there regarding cochlear implant failures are the reason why the Pro-ASL advocates need to understand this research that came out.

There are many reason why a child/infant with CI might not have achieved the desired result that parents expect from a CI.  The critical factors are the age of implantation and the Audio Verbal Therapy (AVT) that follows it, among other factors.

There are parents who think that once an infant or a child is implanted, the rest will take care of itself.  But, that is not true.  This is one of the most common reason why there are failures.

This research says that children who are implanted do not automatically know how to listen when people speak to them.

Infants born deaf are already tuned in to sights, smells, and touch, but, not sounds.  When these infants are implanted, they may not be (at least, from the beginning) responding to sounds since they are more in tuned with sights, smells and touch.

For Pro-ASL folks, this will indicate to them that deaf babies are ‘naturally deaf’ and should be left alone since it might indicate they are predestined to be deaf and should not be ‘fixed.”

However, since technology is available. Parents have had to make decisions about the long-term success of their child. Many parents know they are at a disadvantage since they do not know sign language.  Many know that they will never be fluent – fluent enough to provide their child with complex language environment.  For many parents, they might find the long-term possibility of their deaf child being successful is to work with the language and the family dynamics that are already present in their family.  And for many, that would be listening and speaking as everyone in their family does it.  These are only some of the reasons why parents opt for a CI for their child.

The argument we have seen in the deafosphere regarding combining ASL with AVT tend to be based on the desire of Pro-ASL folk’s goal to preserve deaf culture and deaf way of life rather than respecting many well-informed parents decision for their deaf child.

ASL and AVT cannot be used at the same time.  There is a time period where AVT has to be the main focus in order for CI to be a success.  There is a time period after AVT where sign language can be introduced where it does not affect a child’s ability to listen and speak.  Using ASL and AVT concurrently defeats the purpose of AVT.   It just does not compute.  This is one area where many Pro-ASL folks failed to understand the purpose of AVT.  AVT is nothing like speech therapy many have went through in oral programs/schools, years ago.

This research proves that it is CRITICAL for infants to complete the required time on AVT.   To deviate from this is a wasted time, effort, and money to have a child implanted in the first place.

This research shows why parents SHOULD put AVT at the top of ‘to do’ list after their infant is implanted.  If the parent want to add sign language, they can introduce that after a child ‘graduates’ from AVT (although some professionals have different perspective and would not recommend it).

I contacted a source to get his feedback on the article and this is what was shared with me:

It takes intensive AVT until at least age six. Also, the success of CI’s is high if the child is implanted & switched on by 18 months; at 24 months & up it’s dodgy without much more AVT.

For the first three years of life the areas of the cortex where auditory and visual processing takes place overlap: When ASL (or other manual communication) is present, it “crowds out” the growth of auditory processing capacity. This is why it’s crucial that hearing impaired children be kept as far away as possible from Deafies until they are about six, as this will adversely impact their development. They’ll have a whole life ahead of them to learn ASL and Deaf Culture, if they so choose.

Many parents are currently implanting their child as young as 5-6 months, which is younger than what the FDA recommends.  A recommendation is just that and not a law that mandates.

When reading this research, we need to keep in mind that parents make decisions based on being informed and this research is one of the many out there that helps parents in that regard.

This research will help parents understand why it is extremely critical to ensure their babies get intensive AVT for as long as is required in order to reach the optimal expectation of their child benefiting from CI which is to be able to listen and speak as well as their hearing peers.  That is, if they have made the decision to opt for CI.

I hope this helps the deaf community understand why parents make the decision that they do when it comes to focusing on AVT and not considering sign language until a later period of time or not at all, when and if they choose to implant their child.  When Pro-ASL advocate for all deaf/hh babies to be taught ASL from the start (especially those already implanted), it clashes with the research such as the one linked on this post and encourages more CI failures.

National ‘Think Tank’ on deaf education is on the horizon

September 26, 2011

There is a plan for a large national “Think Tank” to identify challenges in deaf education today, which is scheduled for early Spring of 2012.  The planner hopes for a long-term collaboration to develop and advocate for models and funding to address different educational needs of deaf/hh children in USA where there are variety of educational methodologies.

September 26 2012 is when the top leaders involved in deaf education from around the country will meet and plan this big national ‘Think Tank.’   The International Center on Deafness and the Arts (ICODA) Founder and President, Dr. Patricia Scherer has a vision to bring everyone together (regardless of preferred methodology) to address issues.  The goal is to structure educational and training programs that are based on the individual needs of each child.

Some of the top leaders in deaf education that were mentioned who will be at the planning committee are:

Christine Clark, MA.Ed, CED, Family Center Coordinator for the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Stephen Weiner, Provost of Gallaudet University

Dr. Fletcher-Janzen and Dr. Lukasz Konopka, Professors at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

What caught my eye was this statement in the press release:

The result is that only a small portion of the deaf population of children has the same characteristics of the population twenty years ago. “Unfortunately,” said Scherer, “most teachers are trained to support a child that almost doesn’t exist anymore.”

I am sure we’ll hear more about the details of  this Spring national ‘Think Tank’ on the future of deaf education in America, soon.

I am also sure, that all stakeholders will be involved, considering who is already on the planning committee.

The national think tank on the future of deaf education would probably include many other parents, educators and professionals of all methodologies. I don’t know if collaboration of this magnitude was ever attempted before in the USA.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the outcome would be.

The press release on this can be seen here.



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