Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The cochlear implant in the constitution of deaf subjects in the Amazon jungle - Luiza Rezende

The presenter explains that she is affiliated with a university in the South of Brazil, but she conducted the research in the Amazon. She did her PhD study for four years.

Brazil has a law that identifies sign language as a legitimate language, but the media and society very much promote the implementation of babies.

There are many babies implanted in the Amazone region of Brazil. I went there for the first time in 2007. I was interested in the attitudes of the families who decided to implant their babies. I started the study with two mothers and their babies. The mothers were very accepting and I could easily research the situation.

The two mothers were advised by two different CI organisations not to use any sign language. And the media also helped in promoting the positive message of CI usage. Although the deaf organisations expressed their concern about the implants, the CI associations emphasized that the implanted children would become part of society and accepted.

The presenter researched over 300 pages of media and asked an interpreter to translate the materials so she would understand the content. In the data that she collected she found that repetitavely the CI was promoted as a positive thing.

The deaf association kept saying that we needed a different approach, a different way of discussing the issue.

The homes of the families with the implanted babies turned nearly into a hospital with one medical professional after another assisting the family with learning to speak and to get accustomed to the new situation. In addition, the CI was provided for free, which was seen as a very positive thing by the family. There was even one family who celebrated the day that the baby received the CI, and not celebrating the child's birthday.

The goal of the OAE testing is to find the babies with a hearing loss as soon as possible and have them implanted, there by eradicating sign language and the deaf community.

I would like to say that technology is a good thing, but this kind of technology is not making the babies equal. By the fact that the government pays for the CI the government has bio power.

The presenter continues to give several examples of when there were medical professionals in situations who repeatedly said that she as a deaf person would not need an interpreter if she would have a CI.

In the Amazon we tried to explain that next to a CI the child would also need sign language and deaf culture. Unfortunately, they did not understand this.

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