[lit-ideas] Re: amazing employment application questions

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 23:26:15 -0500

>> the "what's that pig outdoors" is what he heard when his father said 
>> something that had nothing to do with pigs or outdoors.<<

Actually it was Kisor's son who came running in and asked: "What's that big 
noise?"   Kisor went to the window and looking out asked: "What pig outdoors?"  
The two expressions look almost identical to a lip-reader, they say. 

>> At any rate, your student really does sound like someone who rejected her 
>> deafness and tried to fit into a hearing world, probably with great loss to 
>> herself.  I wonder if it's because her family didn't want to be bothered 
>> learning ESL, I'm just speculating. <<

Unless the family didn't speak English there would be no need to learn ESL  
(English as a Second Language), however they might have found ASL helpful which 
is American Sign Language.  Your speculations seem warrantless to me.  The 
debate among the deaf as to whether Signing or Oralism is the best approach to 
education of the deaf has raged for centuries.  Here is a summary of the 
varying arguments for both sides:

"Oralists believe that by not providing the option to sign they are helping 
children by forcing them to develop oral communication skills.
My opinion is simply that every decision we make in life involves a trade off.
Time spent teaching a child to talk could have been invested teaching that 
child to sign.
As with any decision you have to weigh the costs against the benefits--both 
long term and immediate.
As with any purchase you have to ask yourself, am I getting the best value for 
my money?
The moment you start talking about "values" you will find yourself surrounded 
with controversy because people value different things.
Some parents value having a child who can communicate orally.
Other parents value making sure that a child has maximum early cognitive 
Some parents value having a child that speaks the same language as them.
Other parents value new experiences and are willing to learn whatever language 
best fits the need of their child.
Some parents feel it is better to be able to communicate in a stilted manner 
with millions of people.
Other parents feel it is better to be able to communicate fluently with a 
smaller number of people.
The best decision as to the communication mode of a child will depend on many 
Are the parents cognitively and situationally capable of effectively learning a 
second language?  Some adults are simply not going to succeed at picking up 
sign language at their stage in life.
Does the family live in an area where there is a strong Deaf community and 
opportunities for signed communication? How much residual hearing does the 
child possess? Is there a Deaf School nearby? What does the child want? Are 
there other Deaf children around who are using a particular mode of 

So you see, the question is a little more complicated than you suggest.  
Oralism is not "rejecting one's deafness" any more than physical therapy is 
"rejecting one's handicap".  And though one need not be deaf to have an opinion 
on the matter, it strikes me as irrelevant.  If the young woman was a 
lip-reader I can fully understand why she'd prefer to do that than have someone 
sign to her.  She was lucky she had John as a teacher and not Nietzsche.

Mike Geary

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Andy 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 10:15 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: amazing employment application questions

  I sometimes wonder about this.  I've muted my television while not using 
captions and tried lip reading what's going on on the screen.  I can't 
understand a thing.  Even with training, a reader/listener can only understand 
one person at a time that they can see, and many sounds are similar even if the 
speaker is careful about shaping the words with his mouth.  There's a book 
called What's That Pig Outdoors, by Henry Kisor, a journalist who was deafened 
at a very young age, but after he learned to speak.  He (his family) rejected 
ESL and used oralism to fit him into a hearing world.  He writes about how 
difficult it was to go through the educational system and life in general being 
unable to hear.  He married a hearing girl.  The title of his book refers to 
one of problems of lip reading,  (The way I find a use for things is to throw 
them out.  I threw out my paper on the book when I threw out my notebooks.  I 
therefore can't tell you what his father really said.  But, I don't have the 
clutter, so the trade off is worth it.) 

  John Wager <john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

    I was once asked to make "reasonable accommodations" for a deaf student in 
my class. She didn't want an interpreter that would translate my class on the 
fly into sign language; all she wanted was for me to shave my mustache a bit 
higher so she could see my upper lip to do lip reading.  This seemed quite 
reasonable to me, so for the rest of the semester I was a bit less shaggy in my 
mustache than I might have been. 

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