As some of you may have read, I went to the audiologist for a routine checkup and ended up asking many, many questions. Because I asked, I ended up hearing some surprising stuff. Most of the revelations were detailed in last month’s blog.
But there is one little bit of information that I almost forgot about, despite it’s revealing nature. I’ve spent the last few months immersing myself amongst the deaf community on Twitter, reading articles, blogs and features from different people. I’ve come across some excellent work, particularly from this site – Limping Chicken. (to see my writing for the site click here).
As I was leaving the office, I asked the two audiologists in the room whether they’d heard of Limping Chicken and other such sites. The answer was no. They’d never heard of it. They asked about the curious name. Many of you will know how the term came about (If you don’t, click here for an explanation). I asked them if they’d seen the documentary that launched the meme. Again, the answer was no.
That’s very revealing. I’ve always had contact with audiologists over my life, constantly checking and fixing my cochlear implant. I’ve never quite realised that all the support I’ve had from them were purely technical. They’re scientists after all. They don’t bother themselves, it seems, with how CI users are coping with the world. Apart from a few pleasantries, my checkup was exactly that.
The questions they asked were pretty much as follows:
- Have you had any problems with the implant since we last saw you?
- Do you need any supplies or anything replacing?
- We’re going to run some tests now, if that’s ok?
- Is there anything else you need to tell us?
That’s it. That was pretty much the course of the conversation aside from pleasantries. It occurs to me that they probably don’t know very much about my life and how I coped with my deafness, And I have to wonder, is that true for every patient they have?
All my life, doctors and audiologists have been perfectly willing to offer technical advice and solve any problems with my equipment. But they don’t tell you how to cope with life with a cochlear implant.
It’s like navigating a jungle. Hearing people are well equipped. They’d have a machete, a tent and a compass at the very least. CI users would only have the clothes on their back. We aren’t as well equipped to making our way through the trees and the obstacles we face along the way.
I got lucky. In my early years at secondary school, I met Janet Rogerson. Mrs R, as I knew her then. Janet was a sensory support teacher, employed by Durham County Council to aid deaf children in local schools across the county.
A CI user’s survival guide by this fella would be very useful.
Janet supported me by ensuring that my equipment ran smoothly, and made sure that teachers understood my circumstances. But she also lent me emotional support through some difficult times and became a good friend of mine. Unlike some horror stories I’ve heard over the past few months, Janet kept my parents fully informed of my progress.
This made a world of difference to my school life and my academic performance. To such an extent that I still keep in touch with Janet now even though I haven’t been at school for nearly five years now.
With reports of cuts being imposed by the coalition government, it’s concerning how much support will disappear for deaf children, making an already precarious situation even worse (this article highlights the appalling situation with GCSE results). I cannot recommend Teachers of the Deaf highly enough and they are essential if deaf children are to succeed in school and more importantly, in life.
It’s already trial and error for most people, navigating your way through the pitfalls of school, college and university. But it’s even more so for deaf children. And it shouldn’t be the case. Why should the future of deaf children be left up to chance? I was lucky, but not everyone will be.
There should be some sort of guide for CI users. A Survivor’s Guide if you will. Cochlear Implants for Dummies.
Mmm. That’s an idea, maybe I’ll start cracking with writing one!
This article was first published on Callum’s blog here: http://walkthedivide.wordpress.com/
Callum Fox is walking the divide between the hearing and deaf worlds. Profoundly deaf since birth and CI user. In his spare time he balances being 22 years old, being a football fanatic and trying to make it as a writer, journalist and human being. Follow him on Twitter as @WalkTheDivide
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s independent Deaf news and Deaf blogs website! Check out what our supporters provide: BSL translation, multimedia solutions, television production and BSL training (Remark! ), sign language communications support (Deaf Umbrella), online BSL video interpreting (SignVideo), theatre captioning (STAGETEXT), legal advice for Deaf people (RAD Deaf Law Centre), Remote Captioning wherever you are (Bee Communications), live visual theatre with BSL (Krazy Kat) , healthcare support for Deaf people (SignHealth), sign language interpreting and communications support (AD Communications) & advice for Deaf students (The University of Wolverhampton’s Deaf Learner Open Day on Wednesday 27th March!)
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about the Deaf fashion bloggers taking on the world!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people