Deaf Like Me is a story compiled together by Thomas and James Spradley. It is a compelling story about two hearing+ parents struggling to cope with their daughters overwhelming deafness. This powerful story expresses with simplicity the love, hope, and anxieties of all hearing parents of deaf children. In the epilogue, Lynn Spradley, herself, now a teenager thinks back about different times in her life growing up deaf.
She reflects upon her education, her struggle to communicate, and the discovery that she was the inspiration and the main focus of her father’s and uncle’s book collaboration.
Deaf Like Me is a moving and inspiring, must read for every parent, relative, and friend of deaf children everywhere. Lynn is her name, the child that was hoped to be the most perfect baby for the most perfect family. Lynn’s mothers Louise was struck with the German measles when she had just became pregnant with Lynn but wasn’t sure wether or not Lynn would have the disease as well.
When Lynn was born Louise was hoping for her baby to be healthy. As time went by Louise was thrilled watching as her healthy beautiful baby girl was growing. It was not until Lynn was about 3 months old that Louise began to question that maybe something was wrong with Lynn. As Thomas Spradley tells the story from his accounts he Says, it wasn’t until 3 months later on the 4th of july had he noticed a possible problem with his daughter. Louise, their son Bruce, the grandparents and baby Lynn had gone to the 4th of July celebration parade. This parade was exciting and filled with noise.
Yet in the midst of all the Fire engines sounding, crowds yelling and cheering loudly and loud booms and bangs from all the fireworks going off when Louise noticed baby Lynn never flinched and the noise didn’t appear to bother her any. After Louise’s discovery, for months for months after tried many other self test to test her daughters hearing. To Louise self testing was a hit and miss because at times it would work while other times the results would not be adequate. It was unsuccessful because it was not really proving whether or not their daughter can hear. Concerned, they took Lynn to the doctor.
The doctor explains to them that, although they were anxious that they couldn’t test Lynn until she was at least 2 years old. Not happy with the doctor failing to diagnosis, Louise pressed on and got a second opinion. The at the new doctor is where Louise found out that she was definitely deaf. Louise disheartened by the news did what she thought was to be medically best for her daughter, and had hearing aids made for Lynn. Yet still teaching Lynn to lip read so that she can be oral. Through the years with lots of practice Lynn became very skilled in lip reading. Lynn did become a very good lip reading after a while.
Louise was informed by doctors and Friends not to use gestures or sign to Lynn but to only talk to her and treat her as a normal child so that she someday may become oral and learn to speak. Lynn now at age 5 still could not talk as they expected. From the ages of 3 to 5, Lynn had now been enrolled in an oral school. Lynn loved attending although after a while she began to have problems. Because she could not talk she had no way of communicating. Because of this, Lynn began to have an attitude with her school mates by bullying them, pushing, hitting them. As Lynn got older her problems were just at school but at home too.
A lot of the time Louise and Thomas, both had trouble understanding what it was Lynn wanted or had asked for, which cause to throw terrible tantrums which led Lynn into fits of rage. In rebellion, Lynn had even stopped learning new words to lip read. With all the signs in Thomas and Louise’s face proving that this oral type teaching that they assumed was best for their child was proved to be ineffective. However, even with this knowledge Tom and Louise stilled attempted to be ignorant towards their daughter’s disability. The strongly believed they did not want to teach her “animalistic gestures. ”
Around the time Lynn was 5, By the time Lynn was 5 years of age, Louise received some mail on Volta Review and the notice caught her attention. Interested in meeting people struggling with the same issue, Louis went to place to meet with parents that were meeting about their methods of teaching. These parents were giving one another advice on what should be done to help their kids. During the meeting a man stood up, One person stood up and announced himself to be deaf since the age of 6 but before that he was hearing. He said because lost his hearing at age 6 it was easier for him to make use of oral speech.
He went on to explain that it is not easily the same for someone who is born deaf to pick up. As he spoke his speech wasn’t too clear but they understood his words. He spoke in support for the use of sign language as a means of communication with each other. He expressed to the group that if it wasn’t for an interpreter there with him, he wouldn’t understand everything that was said at this meeting. He posed a question to the parents asking “How can a child ask questions or tell their parents how their day went at school with no method of communication? This guys speech made Louise rethink her views on the use of sign language.
After the meeting, Louise began to use sign language with Lynn. As Lynn learned to sign Louise learn to accept her child the way she was. Louise then realized that communication with your hands is a way better than just the use of oral. I feel that this book is a powerful explanation of one family’s struggle. I like this book because it did not sugar coat Louise true feeling towards what was happen to her daughter. To find out that your child has a disability is not easy thing to swallow. It not easy because not only does your lifestyle change your whole family’s lifestyle has to change and learn to accept.
In this book Lynn’s mother’s battle was with changing her lifestyle to fit the needs of her daughter. Even though she might have felt she was doing what was in the best interest of the child it actually was a hindrance to the child. Americans who have no knowledge or awareness about specific cultures or lifestyles are bias and ignorant. That fact that she considered aborting her child bothered me to the upmost degree. The doctors did not say that is would grow to have a third arm but that he/ she could inherit some congenital imperfections.
Depending on the circumstance in my opinion is when someone should consider extreme methods. Another thing I did not like was that she called sign language animalistic gestures. To me that was selfish, But she did not want her child to be looked at as different. I also felt that it was a cop opts to try and expand her communication with her child. Overall this story Deaf Like Me was about a mother struggle to help her to deaf born child speak and be normal. Like her child this mother had to learn new ways of what normal was.
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