EHDI – lets look at the “H” shall we?

Audism by Nancy Rourke (c) 2010

so we got a little examination of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention EHDI system going on here at the People of the Eye place


We took a peek at the “I” in EHDI and came to the conclusion that ASL is not a main feature in the intervention SYSTEM and doesnt appear to be FUNDED at all by the Center for Disease Control and EHDI (I’m still hoping im wrong and someone will bring me some good news here.  I did find the National Institute of Health (NIH) did fund Drs. Acredolo and Goodwyn’s research on the benefits of baby signs for Hearing babies

boo and crud cuz re: the lack of funding for ASL intervention for Deaf babies and their families as there is PLENTY of research out there showing that ASL+English is a pretty dandy equalizer for literacy

we even have some brain studies to help us see how the Deaf brain works and folks it does NOT take a brain scientist or surgeon to understand that if you give babies a language they can fully understand they:

1. will gobble that language up

2. will be able to learn other languages

3. and that making babies work for their words is not fair

yet what is the NUMBER one language (or if we use their euphemism talk ‘communication option’) that is ROUTINELY denied to Deaf babies and their families???? drum rolllllllllll please….

TA DA – American Sign Language as in ASL – as in a real bona fide LANGUAGE

Yep ASL has been denied, stomped on, regulated to the dorm rooms, summer camps, on the sly and fly here and there but RARELY ever formally taught and utilized in any Deaf education environment hmmmm

still happening folks despite four international documents saying NOT cool – the denying of a fully natural language is not cool but still they do do

aint that odd?  At a time when Hearing babies are gobbling it up and Hearing college students cant get enuf of ASL and its used in outer space and lady gaga is learning it well its just hmmmmm

Greatest Irony cartoon by Maureen Klusza (c)

paradoxical that the DEAF babies are being denied it – see Amy Cohen Efron’s Greatest Irony video re: AVT.  That video is a CLASSIC and woke up many many many people to the IRONY of the AVT push for Deaf babies coinciding with the Baby Sign push for Hearing babies.  hmmm COINCIDENCE you say? Maureen Klusza gave a visual representation to this irony in her well circulated cartoon of the The Greatest Irony.

I got some theories as to why so many systems are hard at work at denying Deaf babies ASL but lets move on to reviewing da “D” so we can get to the “H” in EHDI


In the previous entry’s examination of the “D” of Detection we learned it is pathological / medical model based and biased and all AUDIOLOGY based and biased – you got the OAE test in the hospital to determine Passed or Failed/Referred and then you have the audiologist visit for the ABR test (with or without sedation) and you usually have some doom and gloom and sad puppy dog face from the “technicians” “specialists” “professionals” as they deliver the sorrowful news.  “Your baby has failed the Hearing test” This has even been done to Deaf parents who are like – “Deaf?  no problem – i got 2 others like that at home.  Now if my newborn had “passed” and was Hearing – well that would be different and might require a bit of adjustment but still no biggy.”

But instead most Deaf and Hearing parents are hit with a multitude condolescences and brochures all promoting the systems’ FIXation with FIXing the baby.

One Cochlear Implant co. even uses a freaky monkey as its mascot.  OY!


So that is what the Detection of the “defection” is all about – how do we know this well because the Center for Disease Control also promotes the Detection of the “defective” gene – yep even before they are created they are being tagged and tracked.

and thus we see just how EARLY they really mean in the E of EHDI

and now we come to the “H” of it.  H is for Hearing.  surprise, surprise? NOT.


H – can you hear me now?

So if you take a wee thing before it is even a thing or even wee or once its born and you create an entire UNIVERSAL system that is framed around determining if the newborn is HEARING or not so that you can consign deafness to history and you can remove the scourge from the earth – what do you think the chances are that anyone is gonna make it out of that system with a HEALTHY sense of self or a HEALTHY sense of their child’s well-being.

If you are constantly to be measured by what you are NOT- well the deck is kinda stacked from the get go.

And so we see how the system has always been designed to try to make the babes that hear-not – becoming as close to hearing as possible.

why? well cuz its a hearing world after all.  never mind that Deaf folks have a language that they are passionate about, never mind that they enjoy and employ and expand a language that is more powerful than the sun in many ways because it can do things that NO spoken language can do and just cuz it is dang handy and dandy and just cuz NO language should be hunted to the ends of the earth and banished from the eyes, hands and hearts of their people (and yes i am aware, sadly, too sadly, that many spoken languages have vanished from this planet because all their speakers went with it or its people were punished and ostracized for using their mother tongues that the people assimilated and the language poofed)

so i say unto we, the people – ie fellow human beings on this planet,  it is NOT right how the Deaf gene and Deaf infants have been put into this homogeneous systems to detect and intervene them into makint them less Deaf ie more Hearing  because not only does this endanger the language and the culture – it also lops upon the child and the family an inordinate burden and it often severes the bond between child and parent.

If the EHDI push for testing was to get ASL+English into the life of a newborn as soon as possible, we could say it was justifiable but that is NOT how the system is playing out.  The EHDI system is completely set up to push the medical / pathological model.  the H should be the largest letter in the EHDI so we could all clearly see what is going on but follow the money and you will see who stands to benefit from this whole PUSH.  the Hearing industry, academies, foundations, organizations, schools and programs and meanwhile…. where are they all when the program, approach, teacher, device, cochlear implant etc FAIL.  Sometimes they fail cold (quietly – just stop working and disappear) sometimes they fail hot (loudly and painfully and have to be removed).  All the folks i know who have CI totally appreciate having ASL and most of the folks i have met who have CI that do not know ASL – wish they did.

Brighter than the sun folks.  EHDI can keep pushing the H but eventually most of the babies grow up and begin gobbling up – ASL

so suppose instead of

Early Hearing Detection & Intervention

EHDI stood for

 Early Healthy Deaf Identification (EHDI)

the frame then would be to seek and find the Deaf babies to ensure they have a HEALTHY dose of a fully natural and accessible language right off the bat just like all babies do and also a sense of acceptance and identity as a Deaf person cuz that is what they are.

Here, here for …

Early Healthy Deaf Identification

We getting there folks – time to push things forward

Milestone: We Came, We Saw, We Conquered by Nancy Rourke (c) 2010 see for description and link for image with hiddent TEXT msg - click image to route u to description, video, and 2nd image

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Mansfield
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 14:05:21

    Hello, I am Ellen, deaf artist. I am interested to read your articles. I like to read your messages about deafhood. It s really good loud messages to send out. I love it.

    I have art works in the past and am amazed to see my art work ( 25 years ago) that 2 daisy flowers have pupil eyes in it.

    I want to share with you that I forget all about it and did not notice it for 12 years that i hang it up in my family room.
    all messages from your articles, de via , face book groups helps me to wake up that I do have some messages in my work.

    Thank you and everyone!
    Ellen Mansfield

  2. Dianrez
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 15:21:09

    Justly and simply beautiful. A paradigm shift from detection of a “defect” needing intervention to detection of a healthy and fruitful pathway to adulthood. Starting with the parents, we teach people a philosophy that is rewarding, exciting and ever-expanding. I look forward to people taking this further and developing materials with this positive outlook.

  3. Donnette Patterson
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 19:44:33

    A good reading!

  4. handeyes
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 04:00:03

    Ellen – viva De’VIA. thank u for ur comments re: the entries on De’VIA and various links etc. Would love to see ur work some day. Ill probably pop back into FB when the winter break hits so ill try to remember to check out your work there then. if i forget – pls give me a reminder

    Dianrez – wow – u said simply beautiful – and that is mighty fine cuz i always think of ur writing as being very beautiful. so i appreciate ur remarks and support and also your vision and hope – yep – we gotta get folks cranking out the materials. i was checking out Baby signs, signshine and baby hands and my baby can talk etc

    wow weee – there is a money pot in producing stuff for Hearing babies to learn sign

    Donnette – many thanks



  5. Don G.
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 19:57:53

    Upon looking at your link to the CI company monkey mascot, I immediately noticed that was on the “just for kids” page. Reminds me of “Joe Camel” — another mascot/logo aimed at marketing a harmful product to children. Probably the Marlboro Man would be another example. Hmmm… makings of a good post there….

  6. Trackback: Deafhood Discussions » EHDI — let’s look at the “H”, shall we?
  7. handeyes
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 20:32:21

    don – re: your ….hmmmm

    well get to work on it there sir!

    ; )

    if u do make such a v/blog link me please

    much peace


  8. Richard Clark Eckert
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 22:42:29

    Oh man — don’t get me started on mascots which are technically an attempt to control cultural space and the performance of cultural identity within that space. The mascots will usually tell us more about the dominant majority than the minority they supposedly represent. Seems true in this case as well.

  9. handeyes
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 13:11:16

    yep mascots say much about the creators and ab/users than about the objects of their disaffection

    re: the monkey – OY! it is just so crazy they use that given the fact that audiologist labs around the globe have the freaky monkey clanking on thimbles terrifying children into submission (press the red button now!) and given the fact that even Koko can sign but Deaf babies cant and given the fact that Darwin didnt even support how social darwinists tried to use & abuse his theory

    if folks truly understood Darwin they would see that natural sign language is the ultimate adaptation to ones environment and thus leads to survival of the fittest not a weak imitation at being hearing

    oh well – guess not everybody has evolved and some may even have swung back before the primates

    now ya got me thinking – do minority (underrepresented cultures) even create mascots organically / indigeniously or if they have them r they just imitations / appropriations from the dominant culture?

    naughty richard for making me think this wee morning

    much peace


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: