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Deaf Like Me Book Presentation

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Katie DeCoursey

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Deaf Like Me Book Presentation

Deaf Like Me What is it about? This book is about a family struggling with teaching their Deaf daughter to communicate. What was the plot? Lynn's Language and Education- The arrival of Lynn. Lynn Spradley was born a healthy baby girl, but still her parents worried. There were occasions while Lynn was still a baby, that her parents suspected that she was Deaf. She would not react to loud noises.
Although Lynn's Hearing could not be tested for sure until she was two, her parents decided to get a meeting with an audiologist anyway.
If she was Deaf, they decided that they wanted her to be as normal as possible and learn to lip-read and speak. Revelation- Thomas S. Spradley
James P. Spradley Who were the Characters? Thomas Spradley- Father (Hearing)
Louise Spradley-Mother (Hearing)
Bruce Spradley- Brother (Hearing)
Lynn Spradley-Daughter (Deaf) Tom is a College Math teacher.
He gained acceptance into a
summer program for math
teachers. Louise, his wife, is a stay at home mom with their only son Bruce.They moved to Carleton College dorms for the summer. There was an outbreak of
German measles in the Dorms. Bruce caught them, but quickly recovered. It is easy to recover from, but the Doctor asked Louise if she was pregnant. As the disease can cause birth defects like deformities, Deafness, or blindness. Louise discovers that she is pregnant,
but she had not caught the illness. She
was haunted by possibility of her
catching the illness. One day her fear came to fruition. She recovered from German measles, she was terrified
for her baby. After the test was over, Mrs. Caldwell the audiologist said that Lynn had a severe hearing impairment, but she could be educated to be oral. She told them not to gesture to Lynn or use sign because if they did she would not speak! She told them to treat her like a normal child, but to talk to her about everything. She also told them about something called an auditory trainer. Lynn had to be older before she could be tested with complete accuracy. In the meantime, Louise and Tom worked
with Lynn to help her lip-read words. A short time later, the Auditory Trainer arrived. It was a machine to
help her use her residual hearing. She did not hear anything with it. Her parents were discouraged. Tom and Louise went to a meeting for parents of Deaf children put on by the Chicago Hearing Society. The people leading the meeting told them once again NOT to gesture to Lynn because she would not learn to speak if they did. The older that Lynn got, the more frustrated she became because she could not communicate with her family. She progressed enough to recognize twenty or so Lipread words. Even with that ability, she did not speak, or have any way to communicate. Then, Lynn came down with meningitus. She was very sick. Her parents had to take her to the hospital. They could not communicate with their daughter to tell her that everything would be okay. This is when Tom and Lousie started to think about Sign Language as a possibility. The Audiologist did share some information with Tom and Louise about American Sign Language,
however it was negative. She suggested that they subscribe to an oral type of magazine so that they could read about different oral approaches and success stories. The only option that she really gave the parents was oral method. In an Oral Deaf magazine, they read about a Deaf correspondence course that they could use at home to help teach Lynn better. They had been trying really hard to teach Lynn just as the professionals had told them. They signed up for the course. Recommendations and opinion- This is what the speaker told them:
"Then just before the speaker finished, almost as if she had forgotten to stress enough; she gave two warnings.
'I want to caution you first about discouragement. You may meet people that will try to discourage you, they will tell you that lipreading is extremely difficult, that too many sounds can't be seen on the lips... Don't believe them! I have worked with hundreds of deaf children. It's true, some do not learn to talk clearly or very well, but why not? It is because their parents did not start early, did not work with determination to provide a pure oral environment for their Deaf child.'" The Deaf correspondence course, that Tom and Louise read about in the Oral magazine, came. They worked hard with Lynn. Tom and Louise begin to realize that lip-reading is really hard. Lynn was fitted for Hearing Aids. She hated them. They were uncomfortable and hurt her ears. They cost three hundred dollars. Here is an exerpt from the book describing what the Hearing Aids looked like:
"The single cord from the amplifacation unit had a Y connection where it forked into two cords that ran to the earmolds."
Even though the earmolds were made specifically for Lynn, they hurt her ears. At two and a half, Lynn started attending the Jane Brooks School for the Deaf. This school was a pure oralist school. Tom and Louise were told there that an Oral Education was the most important thing that they could give their daughter. After six months, her lipreading word count was up to 200 words. She finally said her first word! It was her brother's name: Brrrrruuuu! She couldn't say the ending yet, but her parents were encouraged. Even with the advances that she had made, her communication tantrums increased. After Lynn recovered, Tom and Louise attended a meeting about Manualism vs. Oralism. Tom came prepared to defend oralism, but his mind was changed. During the meeting, a man stood up. He was Deaf. He explained to the crowd that the only reason that he could speak that well is because he was Deafened after he had aquired speech. He explained that only about 10% of people that were born Deaf learned to speak coherently. He also explained that ASL is a real language. Tom and Louise were outraged that they were never told anything positive about ASL.
Tom went to talk to the Deaf man after the meeting was over and he invited Lynn and her family over for dinner. Up until that moment Tom realized that he did not actually know any Deaf adults. Lynn's Family went to the Deaf man's house. They finally started to see that ASL is a language. Tom and Louise finally start teaching Lynn ASL. She LOVES it! She can finally communicate. Her first signs were, "I love you." Her tantrums ceased. This is what her father said about the change to ASL:
"In the weeks and months after Lynn began to sign, we noticed that our acceptance of her went through stages. The first step had been to give up the oralist dream of making her like us.
Next, we began to help her to aquire her native language. It meant that we had to learn Lynn's language ourselves. The difficult but enjoyable task of learning Sign Language had been a new level of acceptance. It seemed to tell Lynn: 'We no longer think your Deafness is bad'." "Language resides deep within the mind; it is the rules and symbols for creating sentences, giving life to ideas. Language finds expression in speech; it also can find expression in sign."
-Tom Spradley While reading this book, I was very frustrated. I was frustrated because none of the so-called "professionals" told Lynn's parents about the benefits of ASL. They didn't even give them the option. This is not what I would have done as a professional. I would present Lynn's parents with both sides. I probably would be more inclinded to reccomend ASL, but I would at least present Oralism in a way that they would undertand that it is an option.
After I explained all the options, I would recomend that her parents actually have a converstion with both oral Deaf and ASL Deaf. I would have them get information about both.

Spradley, Thomas S, and James P Spradley. Deaf Like Me. Washington D.C.: Gallaudet University Press, 1985. Ethical implications- Lynn did not start to learn sign language until she was five years old. She was deprived of her native language for the best language learning years because of the information given by professionals. It caused Lynn and her family a great deal of hurt because she could not communicate. She did not understand most situations for that same reason. Communication is the foundation that human interaction is based. Without that, Lynn had nothing for most of her childhood.
As professionals, we must make sure that we painstakingly explain the options that a family has, not just the options that we prefer.
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