Thursday, May 14, 2009

AFA to Rep Cullen - Deaf Folks ARE Members of Society

Below is a letter that AFA wrote to Wisc. Rep. Cullen.

We have sent it to:
Rep. Cullen
media outlets which carried Cullen’s quote
National Association of the Deaf
Deaf Bilingual Coalition
Deaf Youth USA

In our next posting we will have a sample letter that you can send to Rep. Cullen and next is a petition to Governor Doyle asking him not to sign the bill into law that would mandate insurance co. to cover cochlear implants.

Senate Bill 27:
Assembly Bill 16:

On a side note - thank you all who have been showing your faith, support, and hope by taking a stand for justice and against audism.

Let Freedom Roll


May 15, 2009

Representative Cullen:

You have been quoted in the media as saying that the bill to have insurance companies cover very expensive cochlear implants “is going to allow children to keep their hearing, to become members of society, to go to school and keep a job.” Associated Press, April 23, 2009 – see link below

We would like you to know that your statement is a blatant example of audism. Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life.

We would like you to know that your statement exemplifies great ignorance and is very insulting. We would like you to know that –
1. Cochlear implants do not allow children to KEEP their hearing. The children are Deaf.

2. Deaf people are members of society and pay taxes, vote, work, live, and raise families fine with or without hearing aids and cochlear implants.

3. Deaf people have been going to school in the U.S. since 1817 and are able to keep a job.

We realize that you may have never met a Deaf person who uses ASL and loves Deaf culture. We realize that you may view being Deaf as an affliction and something that needs to be fixed.

We wish that you would do your homework when advocating for legislation that directly impacts a people, culture, and language of which you know nothing about.

Cochlear implants do not restore full hearing, they are incredibly expensive especially with the current push for two because one is inadequate. Even with two the results are iffy and the risks are several. Furthermore, implants require years of intensive costly auditory verbal therapy, which bans lipreading and American Sign Language. Many individuals who have cochlear implants still utilize access services of oral or cued speech interpreters AND/or computer aided real time transcription.

While many view cochlear implants an expensive “start up” cost to prevent other auxillary aid expenses (such as interpreters and CARTS) later in life, this has not proven to be the case.

We invite you to issue a formal apology for your accidental audism and we welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss audism and this bill more indepth.

Let Freedom Roll,

Audism Free America