Happy Mother's Day
May 10, 2013 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Happy Mother's Day - Leah Coleman was born profoundly deaf. Her mother, Rachel, decided that the best way to deal with it was to try to change the world and Leah tells us about it.
posted by plinth (15 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's signing time with Alex and Leah!
posted by Jpfed at 11:06 AM on May 10, 2013


What an adorable kid. What a wonderful thing.
posted by Infinity_8 at 11:13 AM on May 10, 2013


Hmm. Profound deafness is actually a category of diagnosis, and it can be at least partially remedied with an implant. That seems like a better way to deal with it.
posted by kafziel at 11:26 AM on May 10, 2013


Happy Mother's Day indeed!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:27 AM on May 10, 2013


Hmm. Profound deafness is actually a category of diagnosis, and it can be at least partially remedied with an implant. That seems like a better way to deal with it.

Leah does have an implant.
posted by Jpfed at 11:33 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh! Nevermind then. Not interested in starting a referendum on deaf culture. Just seemed odd that it wasn't on the website.
posted by kafziel at 11:36 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, that made me tear up. Deafness can be very isolating. What a wonderful mom.
posted by desjardins at 12:37 PM on May 10, 2013


Hmm. Profound deafness is actually a category of diagnosis, and it can be at least partially remedied with an implant. That seems like a better way to deal with it.

As both a physician and the mother of a deaf child, I would respectfully suggest that it's considerably more complicated than that. I appreciate that you said that you are my trying to start the ever-productive Deaf culture debate, but even notwithstanding cultural issues, the decision to get cochlear implants is a medical decision that is not a straightforward as you imply. A description of a child as profoundly deaf (which is actually not, strictly speaking, a diagnosis) does not necessarily indicate that a cochlear implant would be advisable. I think it is great that Leah's implant success and verbal skills are so fantastic, but that's not universally the case. Please don't assume that you know what the best decision is for every deaf child.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:02 PM on May 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


More germane to the post, Signing Time and Rachel Coleman were an absolute godsend to my family after we learned that my son was deaf. There is surprisingly little practical support for hearin families of deaf children, and Signing Time does such an amazing job of normalizing deafness without minimizing it while at the same time serving as a stunningly successful teaching tool. Truly, it is on my short list of things that I am grateful for.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 1:08 PM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


My (hearing) son had speech delays and life became so much better after Signing Time. Plus, Rachel Coleman just seems like an all-around great person; it makes me happy that she's out there doing her thing.
posted by Jpfed at 1:13 PM on May 10, 2013


Wow! I clicked through all the stories on her thread, and every one of her daughters has an amazing story. Seriously, just an incredible, incredible woman.
posted by MoxieProxy at 2:07 PM on May 10, 2013


This is really sweet.

I'm kind of having a hard time wrapping my head around a hospital that just stops giving hearing screenings to newborns to "compile their results" for a month. What? Who does that? You have to screen each child!

Profound deafness is actually a category of diagnosis

Well, yes, it is - but there are many different ways to be profoundly deaf, and only a small subset of deaf children are implant eligible. There are many factors, as LittleMissCranky says.

Leah does have an implant

And how! Her speech is so good! Listen to her s's and t's and sh's - you'd never get those without implants.

I don't want to diminish any person's struggle with deafness or hearing loss - but when Leah's mom talks about Leah "easing into her day" and being able to turn on her hearing after breakfast (and I've heard the same sorts of anecdotes from many people with cochlear implants), I just think that sounds kind of awesomely nice and I'm actually a wee bit jealous (also technology: fucking awesome!)

Anyway, great post. Thanks!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:27 PM on May 10, 2013


That's great. I've never heard for their videos before, but will check it out. She signs and speaks beautifully.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:28 PM on May 10, 2013


We used the Signing Time videos with both our daughters, who are not deaf or hearing impaired at all -- we just wanted them to be able to communicate before they could master the tricky process of speech.

9 years later, we still sign to each other for little things -- across a crowded room, or in a noisy place, it's great to be able to catch their eye and let them know that you're going to the bathroom, or that you're getting drinks, do they want one?

Mad props to Rachel.
posted by nonspecialist at 7:56 PM on May 10, 2013


Great story!
posted by Glinn at 8:00 PM on May 10, 2013


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