Death to Deafness: Part 2

(Continuation from Part 1)

Today’s and the Future’s Realities on Educating the Deaf

This now leads us into the matter of the accusations made against us Deaf Community members of being in denial about today’s and the future realities of Deaf Education.

So, let’s look at some statistics regarding today’s reality in Deaf Education. It’s reported that as of April 2009, approximately 25,500 children in the country have cochlear implants.

Now, there is a specific claim regarding cochlear implants, where it is said that “profoundly deaf kids can hear and discriminate all the sounds of spoken language.” It is true for some – it is undeniable that for some profoundly deaf children, the cochlear implant does succeed in this regard.

However, if this claim was universally true, then the CI surgeons wouldn’t have a problem guaranteeing this for all who receive it. But that does not happen. Why? Because just like any other surgery, there are going to be variables in the results. This Medical Today News article indirectly acknowledges that reality. And if the CI was universally successful in this regard, then the majority of the implanted children would not be receiving special education services under IDEA. But the majority still are today.

Onwards to deaf education itself, it is reported that 52% of the deaf and hard of hearing children are taught via the speech only method. This conversely means that 46% of the deaf and hard of hearing children use signed languages and/or sign systems.

Interestingly enough, the educational environment statistic conflicts with LSL proponents’ claim that 89% of the deaf and hard of hearing children do not use signed languages or sign systems. This claim has been one method, out of several methods, in convincing naïve parents that it isn’t worth using signed languages with their deaf children.

Another method in convincing the naïve parents to favor the LSL doctrine is the argument that the State Schools of the Deaf do not perform very well on testing scores, therefore ASL must not be very good in educating deaf and hard of hearing children.

They ignore experts in the Deaf Education field, such as the superintendent of ISD’s letter to the Indy Star, citing the reason for the drag on testing scores as the result of “parents who chose only a spoken-English approach and then waited until their child failed to show progress before introducing a visual language forces a school like ISD to play catch-up.”

That is today’s reality in Deaf Education and has been for the last several decades. Same song, different verse. Why would it change anytime soon? And still, even in the face of these facts, they want us to believe their claims that technological feats will conquer all, that they accept ASL and do not actively oppose the language?

An Ideological & Pedagogical War Today – Yes or No?

Given all of this, it stands to reason that yes, indeed, the ideological & pedagogical war is still raging on today in Deaf Education. Just because the war is fought differently today, does not mean it no longer exists.

However, I must confess that I did not fully appreciate just how differently, until all of this happened. As I read up on the recent events in Deaf Education, more and more disturbing questions arose.

Such as why did the Hear Indiana executive director make this statement to the media, “… Hear Indiana does not want to eliminate sign language, she said. But ISD receives an inordinate amount of state support, Horton said, noting that it receives $18 million from the state to teach sign language to almost 350 students.”? (Source:

This statement at first puzzled me. If I were in the shoes of the Hear Indiana executive director, my response to the media would have been: “We have had no hand in the new appointments to the ISD board. Our focus is on informing and advocating for our educational philosophy. We only involve ourselves very superficially with other entities that do not share our views.”

It is highly probable that this response would’ve been well received in the media, and it has the additional bonus of not really giving the Deaf Community anything to pounce upon. It was only when I went back and looked at a PDF by Hear USA that was written several years ago, that the pieces clicked together for me.

Hear Indiana did have a hand in the selection of the new ISD board appointees. The organization knows, from witnessing the recent entanglements of the Deaf Community with like-minded organizations, to only deny when they can get away with it.

And when Hear Indiana says they do not want to eliminate sign language, they mean they aren’t going to enter the schools and outright throw out signed languages.

After all, the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf formally rejected the resolutions of the 1880 Milan Conference. And then, there’s the sticky matter of the high probability of successful lawsuits being brought against them. Parental choices reign in the matter of education, and they have the legal right to use signed language in the instruction of their deaf children.

No, they aren’t going to outright eliminate ASL. You see, in the Hear USA PDF that was passed onto me, the last page had a list of questions that they wanted to explore. “What would it mean to conquer deafness?”

“What would businesses and institutions have to do?”

“What would be the costs?”

“Who will pay for it?”

“How would the market for implants, hearing aids, and audiology and otology services grow?”

“What and how rapid would be the impact on Gallaudet University and schools and centers for the deaf?”

“What would happen to American Sign Language and Deaf Culture?” …

And in a side box, they hypothesize that in 2010 this would happen:

Gallaudet University receives Congressional approval to expand enrollment of non-US students to 80 percent, in stages, between 2010 and 2020, so that Gallaudet can serve students from countries where hearing aids and cochlear implants are not available to the bulk of the population. This shift compensates for the declining enrollment of US students due to newborn screenings and intervention via hearing aids or implants. The legislation expands the Washington campus and deploys faculty and graduates to create campuses in Africa, Latin America, China, India and Eastern Europe; and funds Gallaudet through the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development.

Obviously, this hasn’t happened yet. But it does hint extremely well at their plans for the State Schools of the Deaf and elsewhere. We only need to look at the Utah School of the Deaf for what they will attempt nationally. In the name of budget woes, they will attempt, and already successfully did at USDB, to put ALL deaf children in one school, even with differing educational doctrines.

One administrator leading a school where you have a set of parents who want their children to be immersed in a bilingual environment, and another set of parents who want their children to only use English. Only in Deaf Education would this be acceptable.

This is a war of attrition, in where the majority surrounds the minority, and leads to fighting over resources and money, until the minority is ultimately defeated through sheer numbers.

Indeed… the Hear USA PDF names their plan very aptly. And that plan is called

Death of Deafness

About A Deaf Pundit

A Deaf Pundit holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public & Nonprofit Administration. In her spare time, she enjoys fantasy novels, gaming and wandering the vast Deaf social media world. View all posts by A Deaf Pundit

40 responses to “Death to Deafness: Part 2

  • Don G.

    Very good analysis of the Oralist/CI agenda! I am sharing this!

  • RLM

    Great article! Keep up the good work!

    Robert (RLMDEAF)

  • Shel

    Very good analysis! I would like to direct you to one or two of my posts re: Newfoundland School for the Deaf closure.

    NSD is a casualty of the war of pedagogies and ideologies. I’d also like to bring your attention to a chart that would open people’s eyes even more:. Scroll down and click on the link (Akamatsu, Musselman and Zweibel, 2000) which shows what happens to children who begin in mainstreamed oral programs. I made the chart based on research written by Akamatsu et al.

    Here is an article that indicates that there is DEFINITE agenda to “eradicate Deafness” and a clear premeditated attrition and closure of NSD.

    So much for claims that there is no war against Deafness or ASL.

  • browneyedgirl65

    Note also the “in spite of” terminology (in the quote in part 1) — also negative to ASL.
    Also, the reasoning ignores the many deaf w/HA & CI who still SIGN.

    Also this: “Today, there is no need for our children to be deaf. Today, with all the hearing technology available to us, implementing the Auditory Verbal Approach should be the first option for our children.” makes it sound like any deaf child with a CI (or even HA) should be “cured” — but the reality is that the vast majority of such children STILL SIGN. THEY ARE DEAF. You do not “cure” it. At the very, very best, you add additional tools to a child’s toolkit (and that’s assuming you don’t also load the child down with plenty of self loathing an issues around being a “hearing person with a problem” rather than acknowledging and supporting the fact that they are deaf (just as you are blond or you are male or you are tall, etc).

  • BigBenFactor

    Interesting. In Part 2, 5th paragraph: you said 52%…46%… I am wondering what of the rest of the 2%? If I miss it, kindly point them out to me please. Thanks.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I have not seen AG Bell’s arguments and their statements like that. I do not follow them. Come to think of it, where are the Oralist’s Vlog? Why don’t they make vlogs? I use spoken language and sign. I vlog using sign language.

    Where are those Oralist’s, the ones who do not use sign language by choice, vlog?
    Would I be able to read their lips? Do they not socialize with us signers? Aren’t we, “One and Many”?

    I will always support parent’s choice of how they want to raise their deaf kids. At the same time, I will always support those that want to educate parents of newborn deaf babies about Sign Language, as long as their attitude is good. I support Freedom of Choice.


  • redfire53

    Well detailed!!! Keep up the good work!!!

  • A Deaf Pundit


    The other 2% uses Cued Speech and “other methods”. That’s found on page 9 of the GAO report.

    There are quite a few Oralist vlogs on YouTube, extolling the virtues of cochlear implants, listening and speaking, etc. They just don’t post it on DeafRead or

    I would daresay that the signing Deaf Community is “One and Many”. And I also fully support parental choices. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I’m so outraged at these tactics by the LSL proponents.

    A parent cannot make a REAL choice if they do not get all of the accurate and relevant information. I strongly believe that does not happen in the majority of the cases with deaf children today.

  • patti

    Deaf Pundit

    Thank YOU!



  • Dianrez

    I’ve linked you in my Facebook, too. The last link here is a shocking expose of the oralist agenda…nothing screams “smoking gun” like that article.

    The days are coming to an end when we try to recognize the “well-meaning” people who want to “take away the pain of deafness” and “restore function” where they see it as lacking. Giving them leeway to practice their nonsense and preach blind acceptance of dogma is not going to benefit the majority of d/Deaf people.

    We need a paradigm shift in the people who make decisions.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    No doubt, Dianrez. No doubt about that.

  • Ricky Taylor

    This piece that you did, DeafPundit, has ultimately squashed others’ claims that they are not killing ASL or Deaf schools.

    This piece is the one that I shall refer to whenever people ask or argue about the blighting of Deaf Schools & ASL by these pro-AGB advocates.



  • Deafhood Discussions » Death of deafness Part 2

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  • John F. Egbert

    Good article!

    Your post should be in the PRWeb and other PR distribution.

    John Egbert

  • Marla Hatrak

    “What they call paranoia, I call paying attention.”
    -an anonymous blogger

    Goes without saying we need to pay attention to those issues outlined here and some other blogsites.

  • Charles Harper

    I glad that you found these information – thank you! I rolled my eyes when seeing “Death of Deafness” in their PDF. I am sharing your articles at my facebook!

  • Toby Welch

    Good articles! The Bible would called some hearings the false prophets. George Vedtiz would agree with me because he said it in past.

  • guest

    good blog. The gov’t picked them and tell the deaf to give them a chance. A chance to do what? They have nothing to offer as they don’t specialize deaf education based on ASL and visual learning and/or people who don’t use hearing devices. It’s going to be a real mess. The govt and the three member do not know ASL and I doubt they cared as they probably see ASL nothing more than just a communication tool.

    yes, I do think they want deafness to go away, no doubt about that. But I also think want ASL to go away along with it. they keep hiring bad quality interpreters(you know, the one who are still learning and all that) and teachers who barely know ASL or teachers/interpreters who think SEE is better for the deaf.

    people complain how the test score is so low, but deaf people do think differently. the low score represents a huge cultural differences in my opinion.which is why it stubbornly stay the same for over 100 years, even with oral deaf like myself and even with child with CI. no way it represents “failure” when a deaf fail a test designed for hearing, they should be tested again using a modified testing designed for the deaf to make sure they are getting what they need to learning.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Hi guest,

    I agree with everything you said, except for us deaf thinking differently and that the deaf should use different tests. I disagree with that, because there isn’t enough research to justify that us deaf think differently. Those deaf who use ASL *do* read English differently than the hearing, but that doesn’t mean we *overall* think differently than the hearing. And ultimately, having different tests won’t hold the schools accountable in their failure to educate the deaf.

    Aside from the CI problem, like you said, we’re also plagued with incompetent interpreters and teachers who don’t truly know ASL. I honestly believe that if that were to change, we would see an increase in these students’ test scores.

    And also, family does play a big role. If the parents doesn’t know ASL, that will have an adverse impact on the child. That shouldn’t be happening, because if the schools were genuine in providing full access to language, and not being obsessed with speech, they would provide the families ASL tutoring and so on.

    It is possible for that to happen, but so few parents know about that opportunity. The educational system overall, does NOT want the parents to know about that opportunity. I say this based on my experiences, research and conversations with top advocates in this field.

  • patti

    heye Deaf pundit –
    not sure if u r aware of some of the research coming out of CERP but they draw this conclusion: “Deaf students do not always learn, think, or know in the same ways as hearing children.” See the last bullet.

    Also others have examined a Deaf pedagogy – if Deaf teachers instinctively have a different way of teaching Deaf students that is more in tune with and capitalizes on what the Deaf child / learner brings to the table rather than the constant thrush to mesh the Deaf child into the Hearing paradigm of learning etc.

    Dr. Humphries mentioned a student re: fingerspelling where it was found that Deaf teachers at Deaf schools fingerspelled more often with young children than they would do in mainstream setting and the conclusion was NOT because of the different abilities of the child but rather because of the different expectations of the climate. Hearing teachers are less prone to use fingerspelling assuming that i Deaf child can not pick it up and perhaps because of their own short comings whereas a Deaf teacher in a Deaf setting would fingerspell and incorporate it organically into the teaching and experience but when transported to a mainstream setting would do as was done in that “Rome” and fingerspell less despite KNOWING that they children could and would pick it up just fine.

    that is just a quick example of CULTURAL and LINGUISTIC differences

    these studies dont mean that Deaf childrens brains are inferior or need to be fixed etc it simply means because the RESEARCH has been forever focused on what Deaf children can NOT do “normally” we really have little understanding of what they can do DIFFERENTLY and once we start to examine that – how they “see” and “think” differently we will be able to teach and reach them.

    of course some will spin it to say “see therefore we must take the “Deaf” out of them as soon as we can so their brains develop Hearing etc – HA. geez just look at those studies of when they tried to change boys into girls or vice versa etc.

    Rivers gotta flow naturally – u can dam ’em up all u like but sooner or later the levees will yield.

    again thanks for all u wrote. RE: Candy’s latest – no worries about it. its all yawn, a slight of hand, cherry picking, selective reading and writing and if and when folks corner her with the truth she will always pull out the “well, that is debatable” card.
    No point in arguing with folks who say ASL is not a language, stokoes made it all up as part of the ASL mafia and spread a Deafhood phobia and paranoia. Its all projection, deflection, and rejection over at Candyland.

    ya done good. and i’s thank ya



  • A Deaf Pundit

    Hi Patti,

    No, I wasn’t aware of that paper. Thank you for sharing that with me! I appreciate it.

    I still think that though, we shouldn’t have different tests for deaf children. Perhaps a more culturally sensitive test, that EVERYONE can take. But I am against the idea that we should generally hold deaf children to different standards than hearing children.

    There is absolutely no reason why deaf children can’t perform on the same level as their hearing peers academically wise. Mind you, as most of us know, that is not to say that we should educate them all in the same way.

    I saw Candy’s post, and I assure you, I’m not worried about it. I do think that however, due to the *intense* attention on this blog series and subsequently, people’s responses to this, I should in the very near future, address their points.

    This blog series has educated quite a few out there, and for that, I am glad. That is one of the main reasons why I did this series. And I think these responses only gives me another opportunity to educate and clarify matters. *smiles*

  • patti

    re: culturally sensitive – yep. agreed

    also id be curious about testing that was specifically designed to tap into what Deaf folks do well or exceptionally. Not in lieu of the other standards but just cuz there is stuff to learn there. I know there have been such re: visual acuity and discrimination. Just seems that kinda stuff could be better tapped into as teaching strategies etc Gallaudet’s Visual Language lab is finding out real interesting stuff – see for research briefs etc

    also i have long wanted to see studies done to understand how it is Deaf folks LEARN despite or inspite of so many obstacles

    Re: your series and the opportunities it presents – all i can say is: big smile back at ya and THANK YOU again



  • John F. Egbert

    What’s the difference between Deaf children and Hearing children in schools is like asking this question,
    What’s the difference between a Mac computer and a PC computer? They both function the same in every way but their operating software system is different.
    This is what is going on….You can’t insert a PC software disc onto a Mac Computer unless the Mac Computer is already programmed to read/understand the PC software program…..auditory based English.
    We all know the Mac computer is bilingual and is able to read both Mac and PC software but the Mac must be programmed with the Mac operating software system first before understanding the jargon of the PC operating software system.

    Therefore all Deaf babies should start off ASL first to become bilingual with English.

    Bilingualism: ASL/English Education is the Solution.

  • guest

    thats fine, I know some people are against it. But some people do want to know if their child can add and substract and the ability to solve problems without word problems in the way

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Patti, *smiles* you’re welcome.

    Guest: nobody’s disputing that. Everyone WANTS to know whether their child can do math, read and write, and so on. Don’t confuse testing standards with educational methods.

    John, I agree that in general, deaf children should have a bilingual education. However, parents have the constitutional right to decide how they want to raise and educate their children. And I respect that constitutional right.

    I think the best way to approach this is to tell the parents, we fully and 100% support your right to make choices. Here is the information to help you make a real decision.

    Because that isn’t happening right now. Parents do not have true choices, because as I’ve shown here, the information about ASL and differing philosophies than LSL is distorted and suppressed.

    Once that stops, then parents will have real choices, and I believe more and more parents will choose the bilingual philosophy for their deaf children.

  • BEG

    One major point that many parents (and hearing educators too, for that matter) seem to miss quite a bit regarding teaching deaf children oral methods: the sheer amount of time spent on this means that you can’t spend as much time on other things as you would with a hearing child. A deaf child who spends several hours a day in some type of oral therapy is not spending those same hours learning like a hearing child is, so by default, by spending that much time on something with uncertain end results, the deaf child literally is not getting as much education as a hearing child, regardless of how you are teaching that child.

    Then on top of that pile on the general issues of either being educated in what time remains in a language you (the deaf child) are not good in (English) or with teachers who have low expectations of you because you’ve been relegated to ASL.

    We need early ASL for deaf children, we need deaf instructors for deaf children, and we need to put in safeguards that ensure *education* (and not speech therapy, AVT, etc_) are prioritized, if we want to bring up educational standards for deaf children.

    But it’s more important we deafies can fake looking like hearing people as much as possible, I guess, so the education isn’t as important. Making other hearing people more comfortable is more important.

    You (hearing or deaf adult) don’t even have to be a die hard Oralist to wind up with this result. All you have to do is think that ASL isn’t quite good enough. All you have to do is think that being able to speak is a marker for intelligence. All you have to do is assume that communication is verbal. All you have to do is be ignorant of basic issues to deaf people. That will poison everything else.

    BBF: I don’t generally vlog, because I am not fluent in ASL. I choose to blog online with the written medium, to be as accessible as possible within my abilities. I spend more of my time poking at hearing people to raise general awareness as best as I can.

  • (e

    This interesting post and the discussions inspired me to write a post about educating deaf and hoh children, and how language impacts academics.

  • deafa

    according to ci parents, ci make it easier to access to speaking and hearing than hearing aids so they don’t spend hours on speech, all they have to do is listen like a hearing child(and maybe some speech therapy). but I can’t figure why the ” they don’t need ASL” and the increase attack on shows that show deaf kids signing and going to deaf school when plenty kids with CI do those things. Even if the deaf child is speaking , it is not good enough unless they have ci and function like a hearing kid…and hate being deaf.

    I don’t understand their fear of ASL if deaf with ci “naturally” drop ASL and speak. if they drop it, then they just need to be in another replacement. if the parents don’t want ASL then so be it but I do wonder whats up about deaf all over the states (and not just the state school) doing poorly???does that mean mainstreamed oral deaf with ci’s? I do know they need fm as the classroom is very noisy and fast paced for the deaf (from my own experience in public school) its hard to learn just my listening only with limited visual needz they will need alot of accomadations

  • A Deaf Pundit


    I think my blog series answers many of your questions. That’s all I can really say.

  • deafa

    yeah, its obvious . it is still blew my mind.

  • A Deaf Pundit

    Yeah, it is mind-blowing for me too.

  • BEG

    I don’t think that concept of CI (that it lets them naturally listen and learn like hearing children) is at all correct otherwise why would they even need AVT?? (A lot of hearing people do seem to think CI is a “cure”, but this shouldn’t be a misconception among hearing people who actually interact/work with deaf people, such as these professional people.)

    Also I have noticed that AVT is not always given only in the years prior to going into school — for one thing, children are still implanted after school age as well as before, and other children just seem to “need” more AVT than others. So as far as I can see, CI also has a variability of success like HA. Maybe the rate is better than HA, maybe the rate is the same, but the consequences for the children who do not adapt as well to CI are the same as those who didn’t to HA. I would tend to believe these arguments more if it seemed like the majority of CI kids never learned to sign, but that’s clearly not the case.


  • John F. Egbert

    The success of any Deaf child depends on having a language(visual) first from 0 to 5 years old and at the same time become bilingual learning English(auditory based)-reading and writing – plus spoken if desired. And over 90% of the Deaf child in the society started off the oral method by listening only.
    The biggest concern that many have about ci is using it for auditory method only(monolingual) and all they do is listen but doesn’t educate the child the language to learn how to learn.

    A parrot can learn to talk but have no critical thinking.

    Deaf people are born to be bilingual and to deny that is the reason why we have so much problems with Deaf education in most cases.

  • deafa

    They need AVT to just used to CI (even late deafened need to get used to the new sounds)? it require to listen (probably why they change it to LSL) but they will tell you it take less time than traditional HAs. but I do agree about the mixed results between HAs and CIs. one person told me a true sucess result is when a person is happy how they turned out. therefore, all thoss who speak and write (and speechread ) very well and still unhappy are not consider a success. go figures o.O .

  • A Deaf Pundit


    I agree with most of what you said except for one thing. The success of a deaf child depends on full access to a language. It can be either auditory or visual. The key here is FULL ACCESS to a language.

    The logical question then arises – does the CI provide FULL access to a language for ALL deaf children? That is the real question. And I don’t think that’s something that the Oralists can honestly affirm due to the limitations of the CI, and so many other things.

    ASL on the other hand, can be a fully accessible language for all deaf children, if the schools did their job and gave enough resources to support full access to it. Right now, obviously, there is significantly more resources for the CI than there is for ASL.

  • patti

    Mishka Zena has connected some important dots re: AG Bell Associations role and complicity in the quest for the Death of Deaf

    the truth campaign is really rolling now. Thank u Deaf Pundit and Mishka Zena

    re: CI and the truths – we will eventually need more whistle blowers like the woman who revealed Cochlear Americas kick back practices and insurance fraud so that the dept of Justice had enough evidence to fine them

    or we will need more recalls but with them come physical damages and harm and i truly hope no more of that

    i know some lawyers are pursuing cases that may show language delay due to depraving Deaf children of a fully natural and accessible language in the quest for the magic bullet CI to kick in and see a voc. leap for the kids which for many never fully or equally manifests itself

    with mishka zena’s latest revelation we might see more talk of reparation for all the damages that have been inflicted upon Deaf individuals, families and the community at large due to AG Bell association’s irrational and unjust push for “independence” through listening and speaking

    oy – that jealous mistress

    deceit aint sweet

    groundswell is a rumbling and truths be tumbling forth



  • Jean Boutcher

    Deaf Pundit,

    Outstanding blogpost! Extremely well-researched! Deaf America must read this (!) and must not sleep thereafter!

  • Ali


    Thank you for taking the time to do this article. Sad… however, its always about marketing, business, money, effectiveness, etc.

    The PDF of the article of death of deafness by John Wheeler is haunting. I tried to find some more information on John Wheeler… It seems that he died in Jan? Correct me if I am wrong. Here’s the link,

    I also could not find Hear US online – not sure if it is still in use? If you know the link please do let me know.



  • A Deaf Pundit

    Hi Ali,

    Yes, he died last January.

    That PDF was shared via a dropbox link on Twitter – I didn’t get to the original source of where it was published. So I don’t know if the Hear US newsletter’s still in use.

  • Ali

    Okay – wanted to make sure he was the same person.
    The Deafness Research Foundation is still in operation – so probably is still in use.

    Thank you for responding

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