the spin of omission? – A G Bell’s AVT

The Spin of Omission?

the AG Bell Academy (yep they have an academy where they certify folks in Auditory-Verbal Therapy AVT) has some guidelines.  (NOTE – if any of you are unfamiliar with AVT you can check out Amy Cohen Efron’s The Greatest Irony video)

Principles of LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy

The AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language (R) Adopted these guidelines in 2007

Principle #3 reads as:

3. Guide and coach parents¹ to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing spoken language without the use of sign language or emphasis on lipreading.

(NOTE: red emphasis mine)

However, when you go to the AG Bell Academy and click AVT then the Principles of LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy, the #3 is now hacked off and shortened (with “listening” added).

It now reads as:

3. Guide and coach parents to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing listening and spoken language.

ODD, eh?

Why doesnt the bottom of the page with the YEARS – indicate when the guidelines were modified cuz up until pretty recent it was still “without the use of sign language or emphasis on lipreading.”

so now im puzzled as to when it went a walking and why hasn’t the AG Bell Academy alerted so many folks to the fact that signing, gesturing and lipreading are now ok during AVT.  Cuz i keep seeing different info from various folks.  Some parents say – “oh my AVT person signs with my kid(s) and allows lipreading – its a bi-bi thing really” and others say – “no that is wrong that is absolutely wrong.  to be a certified AVT experience there must be no signing and no lipreading so that the child is fully developing his / her listening skills.”

Some option / oral-aural-only programs extend the “old or shall we say original” AVT (without signing) mentality right out into the lunch room and the playground – no signing here or there.  Gotta use every precious moment for amplification and working for your words.  “pass the salt or the ball” in gesture, sign or fingerspelling – BIG NO NO!

So a couple of questions:

1. AG Bell Academy – when are you going to issue a press release alerting folks to the change in guideline #3 cuz that change is real recent and unknown and that change – changes A L O T of things.

2. Will you notify Elizabeth of Cochlear Implant Online that she needs to update her educational site cuz right now she has up:

3. Guide and coach parents¹ to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing spoken language without the use of sign language or emphasis on lipreading.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy focuses on learning to LISTEN.  That means learning to understand sounds and spoken language without sign language and without formal lipreading/speechreading training.  By focusing on audition (hearing) only, without any type of visual aid, children become “listeners”.  Regardless of their degree of hearing loss, with appropriate amplification, even the “deafest of deaf” children CAN learn to understand speech through listening alone.

3. And you should explain to her that the  “The Hand Cue” being a controversial part of AVT is no longer necessary.  If the AG Bell Academy no longer certify folks to follow: Guide and coach parents¹ to help their child use hearing as the primary sensory modality in developing spoken language without the use of sign language or emphasis on lipreading – why is that HAND CUE y thing still going on and still a controversy? Elizabeth made that “educational” entry just a few weeks ago – how is it that she is not AWARE of the change – that “the without sign language and lipreading” part got the boot from AVT?

Gosh she is behind eh?

4. You might also want to contact the Auditory-Verbal Communication Center and alert them to the fact that you have changed your guidelines also because they still have the original version up:

5. In fact you might want to send out a press release or an AG Bell update or a web wire letting lots of folks know cuz it seems alot of folks r mighty confused about this and many more are totally unaware of how those choice words went a walking without any forwarding address.

AWOL they be.

Odd, eh?

what you choose to send out updates about and what you choose to conceal or have go missing is very…. hmmmm…. illuminating me think.

AG Bell – we r paying attention to what you do and what you don’t do, what you say and what you dont say and we are paying attention to your Spins of Omission.

So what you have done (shhh quiet) and failed to do lately:

– AG BELL ASSOC –  issued a position statement on American Sign Language in which you spoke more about the gospel of listening and speaking and very little about ASL aside from “AG Bell acknowledges ASL as a language in and of itself” and you tolerate that some folks might choose this “unique” language and culture but then you went on to emphasize your specialty – rah rah rah!

(and dont think we didnt notice how you issued that postion statement just a few weeks before the Deaf Bilingual Coalition rally and march at the AG Bell conference in Milwaukee, Wisc so you could send out the news to the parents and attendees in advance – AG Bell does accept sign language so just stay clear of the angry Deaf folks who do not understand anything)

– AG BELL ASSOC  issued a letter objecting to Pepsi showing two Deaf people using ASL in a wee short commercial that only aired one bloody day out of the whole year and then you had the nerve to tell the Deaf community that we didnt understand your little letter (after the NAD, DBC, AFA and your own members objected to the offensive letter) and then you even tried to use the letter as a carrot to get AFA to cancel their peaceful rally at the AG Bell’s Volta Bureau.  (Yes, Dear Catherine Murphy, then AG Bell’s communications director, and now Gallaudet’s PR director – we remember how you said to us “if we, AG Bell, retract the Pepsi letter will you call off the rally tmw” – wow girl that is so dishonest and manipulative.  To which one of the AFA reps said – no we wont cancel the rally (cuz folks were coming from all over the place and cuz we had 2 more demands on the table) but we will celebrate tmw your retracting of the letter) to which Catherine scoffed and said “I thought so!”  Wow, wow!

They still have not apologized or retracted this Pepsi letter, folks.  Wow!  It is WAY WAY WAY overdue.

We aint gonna wait on that one for 130 years like we done with the ICED 1880 Milan resolutions

– AG BELL ASSOC. lifted only a few bloodly lines from the ICED 2010 New Era that might look favorable to their vocation – and chopped out the “remember history” part of that.  Talk about “selective listening”

– AG BELL ASSOC. quietly removed the Advanced Bionic advertisement banner and livelink from your website after Advanced Bionics was fined $1.1 million for the faulty CIs that had moisture leakage and caused shocks

– AG BELL ASSOC. very recently quietly removed the Circle Alliance Founding Partnership logos of Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas from their website (both CI companies that have been sued and fined for faulty products and/or ethical wrong doings)

Now we find out how you, AG BELL ASSOC., chopped out part of the guideline #3 for AVT

without any FYI to nobody.  That is kinda bad business practices.  Your AG BELL ACADEMY certifies folks to do AVT but yet nobody knows of this revision? Or was it just done as a slight of hands?  Sorry to be cynical but something smells a bit rotten at Volta Place.

Hmmm for someone who is all about “listening and speaking” u are mighty quiet and silent about certain things aint ya AG BELL ASSOC.  Tight lipped some might even say?

Curiouser and Curiouser

How are we to have our independence when we gotta depend on you to let us know stuff and ya never do or when you do, you tell us we don’t understand you right? Right?

I’m sure there is more we don’t know about but the truth be trickling out on the way to making that mighty stream.  Let it flow and pls do LET US KNOW when you retract that Pepsi letter.

We are all EYES and/or EARS.




15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tim V
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 05:18:09

    Patti, this is a confusing world. It is also a polarized world where lot of times we do want to make everybody happy, but find we cannot. In those areas, sometimes it can be hard to talk about it. Especially if you find that you have been doing it the wrong way all along. Just think about it a moment: if you had spent your life doing something a certain way, and a study came out that showed that everything you have worked on in your life was wrong — how would you handle that?

    Lot of times when people change their mind, or are in the process of changing their mind, they might be a bit cautious about publicizing it until they fully understand what they are thinking.

    There are areas where I’m still not sure and therefore hesitant about talking about. We can hope that they are moving in the right direction — try not to give them too much of a hard time over it. A better way to do this is to thank them for the change (better to assume that the change is for good rather than for bad) in definition and encourage them to have the courage to take the next step. To not be ashamed about talking out in the open about their changes — and to let their allies know about the change and explain what it means and why.

  2. Deafnicity
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 06:03:49

    Recently read a pro-AGB biography written by Robert Bruce —- GAG!

    Claims AGB was just against a dangerous trend of deaf meeting deaf and not really into eugenics – huh?????

  3. handeyes
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 06:28:31

    tim –

    i will definitely rejoice when they do the right thing and retract that Pepsi letter.

    It isnt really hard to do the right thing.

    And deceit ain’t sweet – at the end of the day it backfires.

    But if ur overall message is a call to have compassion with passion – i will say amen to that.

    I do care about AG Bell – i want them to do the right thing cuz its the right thing to do.

    I do have compassion for AG Bell and i have compassion for the folks who endured an oral / aural-only experience (one in which they were punished, disciplined, or scolded for doing what came naturally to them)

    i have compassion for the adults who still are not allowed to sign when they go “home”

    i have compassion for AG Bell, the man, when i read the Telephone Gambit by Seth Shulman – you can see that AG Bell really struggled with the deception around the telephone invention

    i have sat across the table from the CEO of AG Bell Association and i do not think he is a bad man. A bit misguided and unfamiliar is my assessment. I have hope he will stand tall and do the right thing and commit the AG Bell Association to stop promoting oral / aural-only (speaking and listening) at the expense of a natural and fully accessible language.

    and… i remember what MLK Jr wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham
    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

    Audism Free America had three demands of the AG Bell Association
    1. to stop denying Deaf children the right to ASL
    – the latest version of their AVT guidelines indicates that they no longer advocate for the denial of sign language

    as u noted – this is a GOOD thing
    i just want to make sure folks are aware of this good news

    2. to stop misrepresenting Deaf folks to the media etc
    there have been many TV programs, films, commercials featuring Deaf ASL folks since the Pepsi letter and AG Bell has not written any complaints or objections since that time so i see that too as a GOOD SIGN

    They still need to apologize and retract their letter to Pepsi. It can not remain on the record or it will continue to be a stain for them. It will continue to cast a shadow and a doubt and it will make folks weary and prone to distrust.

    They should retract the letter because it has offended. Many other individuals and groups have quickly apologized and recanted when communities have shared their outrage.

    Its the least AG Bell can do

    3. end their incestuous relationship with cochlear implant companies and call for an investigation in to CI safety

    The Advanced Bionics banner coming down
    The Circle Alliance Funding Partnership coming down
    are GOOD indicators that AG Bell sees its role in informing vs. influencing and that it is aware now of the lawsuits and problems with those CI companies

    that too is a GOOD thing

    i am totally ready to celebrate

    i have to be honest though – having to dig to find these victories also cast a shadow on their sincerity

    There is no shame in doing the right thing. So do all these silent changes indicate that they r doing them for the wrong reasons or not truly doing them or….

    but most importantly – none of these changes would have occurred had not the demands been made in the first place

    Tim – pls know i do this because i LOVE AG Bell Association. I love them enough to bring the truths forward. And i hope for them enough that i keep the faith burning.

    They must publicize their change in approach re: guideline #3 because the have a duty to all the programs and individuals they certified who are operating under the original principles of no signing or emphasis lipreading and still covering their mouths when they do AVT – which EVERY young person i have met who has a CI (or two) tells me THEY HATE!

    this is a big one tim – a real big one and if u r saying their pride is too big for them to do right by all the children and the professionals who are shelling out big bucks to get certified by their academy – then i got some more problems with AG Bell and id rather not go there.

    A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
    Mohandas Gandhi





  4. Don G.
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 06:47:13

    AGB is a master of stealth tactics!

  5. deafa
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 12:51:55

    I still wonder why they still honor that man’s name?

  6. deafa
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 14:35:48

    I was explained that AVT do not always cover their mouth (except testing to see if their hearing aids or CI are working). Instead, they distract children from reading their lips by saying “look at this” or gearing the child’s focus on the object while they talk to them. It still a controlled environment (if thats the right term for it)

  7. deafa
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 14:42:16

    Ah never mind, i didnt read your hand cue link until now (i didnt know what was a hand cue)

  8. handeyes
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 15:40:57

    Don –

    the word stealth-like did come to mind but i couldnt figure out how to spell it when i was doing the blog entry

    thanks – THAT


    hope im wrong

    hard to know – i got that nagging sensation considering that the CEO Alexander Graham’s speciality is “competitive intelligence” – just seems he would know more than he seems to????

    or leads me to suspect much is strategy?

    hope not

    hope he is the man i saw when looking into his eyes

    someone who wants to do right

    time a telling



  9. handeyes
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 18:42:36

    deafa –
    re: them still honoring his name – that is a good question

    re: the covering of mouth – yep. they still do that. they even manufacture and sell a fan like thingy to hold up to cover up the lips



  10. handeyes
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 19:46:01

    deafnicity –

    what does robert bruce assert is the dangerous trend in Deaf meeting Deaf?

    that they might hmmmmm you know and then you know what might happen

    ohhh it wasnt about baby making and the creating of a Deaf race????

    it was fear that they might get organized, have some solidarity and the “spiritual audacity to assert their somebodyness” and say we have an inalienable right not to have to “work for our words” ?????

    ill try to check it out soon



  11. Anonymous
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 04:43:59

    Principles of LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy were voted on by the Board of Directors in November 2009 and posted in the December 2009 Newsletter

  12. handeyes
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 01:26:10

    Anonymous – thank you so much for the link identifying when the AG Bell Academy altered the AVT principle #3 – Nov 2009




  13. Anonymous
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 02:38:35

    Your welcome!

  14. Anonymous
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 02:51:56

    OOps, you’re welcome!

  15. handeyes
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 02:05:18

    smile – nooooooooooo worries about typos

    ur at patti’s people place

    welcome and thank u



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