Research for the CI had begun in the 1950’s with the FDA approving them for adults, in the US by 1985. In 1990, the FDA approved them for children and in 2000 one CI was approved for children, as young as, 12 months of age. Today more than 220,000 people have received CI surgery world-wide. In the US alone, more than 43,000 adults and more than 30,000 children have received CI surgery.
1) The CI success is not always fully experienced by all CI recipients; often success– or the ability to function normally in a hearing world-is based on each unique individual.
The CI is not a perfect replacement for natural hearing. It does not duplicate the sound of God’s own creation nor does it provide clear communication in speech and hearing for all recipients.
4) Those we associate with most will greatly impact our perspective of the CI and its controversy. If we associate with those who are in the Deaf Community or have Deaf family members our perspective will be influenced by that more intimate association. But if someone (hearing or deaf) is never exposed to the Deaf Community they will obviously be influenced by them very little, if at all. And if we only associate with those in the medical community we tend to hold only to their view.
For those of you who do not know, many times when a child receives a CI their parents are told not to allow them to sign for fear they will not learn to speak. Research proves otherwise. Some parents are deciding on their own to go ahead with both.
I am fully aware of the many reasons given for why hearing parents-and yes, some deaf parents-want their deaf children to learn to speak and to hear. I know they want them to be like them and to be able to communicate with them freely. I know they live in a hearing world and they must therefore function in a hearing world. I know hearing and speaking will give them a better chance at a better job. I know they would have unlimited access to everything out there. I know. I know. I know. But, what if….?
We have so much to gain from knowing and getting to know each other better. We need the Deaf and they need us.
Do you know that the US percentages fall grossly behind the rest of the world in bilingualism? Most countries utilize an educational system of bilingualism, but not the US? The majority of the world’s population speak at least two languages and some three or more.
What if it wasn’t the ASL team against the CI team? What if we all became the Bilingual and Bicultural team? All of us fluent in English and ASL simultaneously! I can’t begin to comprehend the impact this would have on our world, can you?
If God had wanted hearing people and deaf people to be totally separated from each other He would have allowed a much greater percent of Deaf parents to give birth to deaf children. He has not done that. 95% of all deaf children are born to hearing parents.
Obviously, God’s plan allows for some deaf people to remain deaf since no technology has been developed to eradicate all deafness in the world and since He has never chosen to heal all people who are deaf and since there those deaf people whose CI success is limited and since there are those Deaf people who like being deaf just fine.
The Deaf are an unreached people group, meaning less than 2% know about and follow Christ, here in America and world-wide. Who’s going to tell them if we don’t allow our deaf children to learn sign language? If none of the CI children ever learn sign language nor their parents or siblings, will there be anyone God can call to those fields that are ripe unto harvest?
We jump at the opportunity to teach our hearing babies sign language; why is it that we forbid our deaf babies to sign?
Maybe, just maybe, God has a plan to use some of the deaf children born to hearing parents or adopted by hearing parents to reach the more than 2 million Deaf people (those who identify with the Deaf Culture) living in America who do not know Jesus. Maybe He plans to call them overseas to share the gospel in sign with millions of other Deaf peoples around the world.
Please don’t limit God’s plan for these deaf children or for yourselves; His plan for reaching the Deaf with the love of Christ is much greater than any of us can ever imagine.