Thursday, January 16, 2014

AFA letter to Co. Newborn Hearing Screening Program

AFA has sent a letter to the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment about their biased brochure for Newborn Hearing Screening.  We have CCed our letter to Co. Hands and Voices and the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  Brochure can be seen at bottom of this entry.  

15 January 2014

Dear Sir or Madame:

It has come to our attention that the Colorado Newborn Hearing Screening Program brochure is devoid of any information on American Sign Language, visual acuity, and an Early Healthy Deaf Identity.  Instead the brochure emphasizes a pathological view of being deaf and fails the newborn before they even leave the hospital.  

This material is biased towards medical and audiological specialists over multilingual-multicultural specialists.  It stigmatizes being Deaf and casts a shadow over the birth of a new child - be they Deaf or Hearing.  

We have CCed Hands and Voices since Hands and Voices is listed on your brochure.  The organization bills itself as being committed to fostering and respecting access and outcomes without a bias towards any particular mode or method; yet, it allows itself to be listed on your brochure that omits any recognition of the benefits and milestones of sign language and cognitive development.  The Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has also been included in the CC as they should be aware of the bias presented in your Newborn Hearing Screening brochure. 

We request that you, the Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment, revise your brochure & program to show cultural competency and respect of Deaf culture and American Sign Language.  

Let Freedom Roll,

Audism Free America

CC: Colorado Hands and Voices and the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 
Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots Deaf activist network in the US, which advocates for Deaf American rights.  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.