I find I'm not alone when I read back on the protest blogs, old emotional feelings like anger and sadness come up. I was going to put this in my Growing Up Deaf serial, but I felt it may be of interest to others out there. This was after reading Jamie Berke's Deaf Protestors at Alexander Graham Bell Convention on Deafness and The Deaf Sherlock's Protest 2007: Against A.G. Bell post.
Back when I was in first grade or a little after that when living in northern Florida, I was going through some testing of my hearing as well as, if I remember right, my English and reading skills. They told my parents not to learn sign, but to keep me talking as they were afraid that if I was to learn sign, I would quit talking. It seems no one thought of total communications long ago. It was either oral or sign. I didn't learn sign til starting around 5th grade.
Mom and I can't seem to talk much about it or go into it too much without us breaking down. It's still an emotional issue with us even today seeing how much I missed while being mainstreamed and not gone to a deaf school. Even though I did have deaf classes, it was only in the first and fifth grades, and even then, they were oral classes and didn't allow any sign to be used. It was also around 6th and 7th when I was in a deaf class with total communications, despite my other classes being with hearing classmates. My last two years of high school had a homeroom with other deaf.
At one point, MSSD was considered and I had the printed information. I do not remember why I never went. It's possible I would have met Sherlock there. Would I have gone on to Gallaudet or NTID?
I wrote something about the Gallaudet protests earlier, namely about the "not deaf enough" issue that Jane Fernandes brought up multiple times. At the moment, this four-part essay titled Whaddayamean not deaf enough?! applies to the protest, though the first three are relevant to this. Rather than repost it, I'm linking it due to its length.
It's the future of the deaf community at stake, I have to agree this much. One has to change the methodology first in at least some way, but not at the expense of their growing up. Forcing a deaf kid into the hearing world isn't the way to do it. The hearing world has to learn to accept things rather than force them where they may harm more than help.
How much did I miss way back then? A bit too much, but the damage is done. However, it's time for us to move forward and educate/inform parents that there are other ways.