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Ann Lynn Parker Science has brought many beneficial inventions to the forefront for the human body. Some of them are essential, and some technology is controversial to the majority. One very controversial area of technology is the cochlear implant that an individual gets if you are deaf, and wish to speak. Societal demands and family pressures are the biggest reasons for the cochlear implantation, because it is not only society that requires efficient individuals, it is also the parents who want to provide the optimal life for their child. According to an article called “The Cochlear Implant Controversy� written by Shelli Delost and Sarah Lashley, “Those who support cochlear implants believe that normalization is the key to success for deaf children. On the other side, the Deaf community and others opposed to cochlear implants feel that deafness should be looked at as a cultural identity, not a disability. This is important because the disability defines and labels an individual in society, apart from the rest, when in actuality, that deaf person is still a human, functioning, being.

A.S.L


Although Anne did not get a cochlear implant, her pride throughout her life did not diminish. As a matter of fact, as an adult, she embraced her own disability and ultimately, chose to show her support for the deaf community by becoming an educator. This not only teaches the language of sign, but unifies this demographic together into a great, confidence building community. After Anne became Deaf, she joined Deaf School, then became a Deaf teacher for 7 years, teaching Middle School Language Arts and English for foreign students. She states that her “next step” in her career was to teach American Sign Language, which seemed perfect for her abilities. Anne is very strongly against cochlear implants because of its dangers it poses to your body physically and how it affects society. She says that, “it is a major surgery where surgeons cut or drill into your skull, to navigate through nerves and implant foreign objects inside your head. People who get cochlear implants’ parents and recipients are informed that they cannot get their head wet and they cannot go in the sun. Further evidence of the danger of the implant according to WebMD includes a list of scary things, including taste disturbances from the nerve injury, facial paralysis, dizziness, leakage of cerebrospinal fluid...”

For example, a newly born child can be diagnosed with a disease called Spinal Meningitis, that can cause deafness. This was the case for Anne Lynn Parker, my Sign Language Teacher from Independent Learners in Los Altos, California. “I was born with normal hearing capabilities like you and everybody else. However, I became very sick with Spinal Meningitis at 18 months. I became profoundly Deaf and started learning sign language from that time on.”


Secondly, she thinks that implants pose a social danger, because being Deaf is labeled as something “wrong” with you. She is strong about the fact that there is nothing wrong with the deaf person, and that the community itself is very proud and there is a “vast range of ordinary people who work blue and white-color jobs and have shot-up to become renowned actors, actresses, doctors, etc.” This is the core of the controversy regarding cochlear implants.

Anne is extremely firm on her stance on being deaf without an implant. She states that there is a twisted motive behind the motives of the surgery. So passionately said, “each cochlear implant surgeon is a money-making incentive for doctors, the makers and anti-deaf lobbyists make money and reward doctors who oppress information to parents about Deaf schools, etc.” Anne states that it is important for deaf children to learn their culture without an implant. The deaf community includes many kinds of people, explains Dora Sorkin of the Alexander Graham Bell Foundation, speaking for the Film, Sound and Fury. “I want to emphasize that deaf culture is by no means closed to those who do not know sign language. The arts, even music, and other forms of expression are an important part of deaf culture, as is true for other world cultures. Given that Anne recognizes this aspect of deaf culture, education is even more of a reason to be a deaf educator, as many educational systems do not integrate deaf culture well enough to help the person not only grow, but to feel a part of a whole. Which is why Anne’s job is so meaningful to her.


“One of the main reasons why historically long-standing residential schools for the deaf are dying across the nation is because the mushrooming growth of children with cochlear implants are not attending our schools.

They are attending regular schools with mainstream programs or contained classrooms.” Furthermore, as one of Anne’s student, I noticed and experienced her fantastic teaching abilities first hand. Her tremendously exaggerated gestural personality and teaching method proved itself to be genuine and heart felt – like she deeply wanted me to know how to sign, and she wanted me to understand what she was saying; she deeply cared about bridging the gap between the deaf and the hearing communities.

Anne may or may not continue teaching and eventually wants to implement her entrepreneurial dream into reality. She wishes for people to be more loving towards each other in general and it has nothing to do with her deafness! The Director at the school in which she teaches, discusses the genuine motivation Anne has to teach sign. “Anne is motivated by genuine desire to help bridge the deaf community with the hearing community. This is the only avenue that these 2 communities can interact” (Richard Gowers, Interview).


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