Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Son Is Too Deaf For A Deaf Contest

This is so funny. My son found out about a communication contest the Optimist club is offering. There is a college scholarship award, cool. The only problem is the rules to enter.

Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Topic: "If I Were Leader of the Free World, the First Issue I Would Address Would be ... "

The Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is for young people up to and including grade 12 in the United States and Canada, to CEGEP in Quebec and grade 13 in the Caribbean, who are identified by a qualified audiologist as deaf or hard of hearing. Students interested in participating in the contest must submit an audiogram completed within 24 months of the date of the contest by a qualified audiologist. Students must have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or more to be eligible to compete. Students may use sign language, oral presentation or a combination of both. Contests run at various times in each state/province but conclude by late May.

Well my son is REALLY deaf. The kid can't hear a thing, never has. Why would I keep testing his hearing? We don't have a recent audiogram and I am laughing thinking about how he has to medically prove he qualifies. I contacted the Optimists asking if his school district could verify he is deaf. Really thay are reliable, why would they spend money on his qualified interpreters if he was just kidding about being deaf? This is the reply I get,


International CCDHH rules state that contestants must submit an audiogram conducted within 24 months of the date of the contest. Audiograms dated past the 24 month period or verification from the school district cannot be accepted to fulfill this requirement."

So this gets me to thinking. If they can't see that a Deaf kid wouldn't want to be marched into a audiologist's office only to get the "I'm so sorry he is really deaf look" then how will they handle the competition? Will they get second year ASL students to interpret? Will they marvel at the clear speaking voices of the CI kids while feeling sorry for my son that he can't talk?

I know they mean well but serious? An audiogram for an essay contest? We wouldn't want a CODA sneaking in passing as deaf.

"If I Were Leader of the Free World, the First Issue I Would Address Would be ... educating well meaning hearing people before they offer to help "


  1. Yes that is something to ponder for sure:) My daughter entered that essay contest about ten years ago when she was just entering high school. She happened to win and it was a nice scholarship for college. I can't remember about getting an audiogram. Possibly it was done at the Deaf School since they have on staff audiologists.


  2. It's so annoying, but yes, it's a fact of life in the deaf community. An audiogram, regularly updaed by the schools and later by any other agency such as Voc Rehab, is an essential document to keep along with one's birth certificae, home ownership papers, and so on.

    Although retired, I still have to show my audiogram on occasion. The latest one was in order to get an interpeter for my evening class at the community college. Sheesh.

  3. Hi Tami,

    I want him to try but telling him he has to get a test for something so medical is strange. We could go back to the state school and see if they can do it for us, but really? Do I want him to sit there any proove this? Set him up to fail a test? Maybe we could laugh about it... I don't know.

    Other kids less deaf go to the audiologist so often, they have all of their hearing lose papers ready to go. My kid is so deaf we have nothing. We don't even think of him as a medical issue. So a contest for deaf kids is really for sorta deaf? I have to tell him not to focus on the subject but the medical reason he can participate?

    My kid will say ....hell no

  4. Dianez, I get it but, really? This kid is so deaf. His audiogram from way back then shows it. Would we ask an amputee to go the doctor every year to show that the leg is not growing back? My kid has no usable auditoy input. Done. Maybe they get kickbacks from the audiologists? Just kidding.

    He will have to play the game in life but it makes us crazy.... this could be solved with a simple verification from the school district .....they pay a lot for him.... just saying if this was a great thing Deaf kids could participate in and not feel they needed to pay for an audiologist or go to one if not needed, that would add power to them.

    What is the goal of this contest? Serious, the goal seems paternalistic to me framed this way.

  5. It all goes to the medicalization of Deaf people in our society. Audism is perpetuated through this medicalization, and round and round the mulberry bush we go.....

  6. The time frame restriction is really silly. Has there ever been a kid who was deaf as a young child and spontaneously became hearing? The amputee example is perfect. Although with people being the way they are, and contests being the way they are (void where prohibited!), I'm sure the amputee would have to get a doctor's note! Common sense and a human element in the judging and running of contests simply are not allowed.

    Hm, if a kid were deaf and became hearing, I'd want to hear what he had to say...

  7. hmmmm maybe u could sumbit video of someone making loud noises and him not responding - that should suffice, eh?

    Shows its a pretty "medicalized" view of things - when you have been raising ur son bilginually-biculturally. Shall follow up with a call meself. Just an inquiry as to why other verification is not acceptable.

    Kinda reminds me of the time a had a Deaf student who needed a lift bus to bring him to the museum - my other students were carpooling. He has a motorized wheel chair. Oh the red tape to get this lift transporation to come - calls and calls and then a request for a doctors note to prove that infact he was TRULY in need of a lift. I was like - hmmm u dont think the 200 + pound electric motorized chair doesnt make it self-evident enuf - now we r to get a note from the doctor proving it too?


    He asked i ride with him given the fact that the whole process and system had left him feeling a bit less than human and i was like sure - never been on one of these. We had a grand time but geez Louise

    and no we did not provide the doctor note.



  8. Well, it's a matter of perspective. Why do you view it as setting him up to fail? Apparently YOU view it as a failure. It's just a measurement. I am legally blind. I never view my eye test as "failing a test." It's just a measurement of where I am in terms of vision. I don't view it as a failure. And yes, I have to have this test every few years so I can qualify for certain services. It's just the way the game is played. It's how they keep out scammers. It's just an inconvenience.

    Why don't you ask your son what he wants to do instead of making the decision for him.

  9. Good point. I really just see this all as funny. My son has no interest in hearing tests since he is about as deaf as you get. There is no chance of progressive lose or increase for that matter. To take a test I would have to pull him from school. I would have to pay out of pocket or wait for the district to maybe schedule one. They wouldn't because it is documented that he is really deaf and would not benifit from audiology or SLP services.

    I also believe there are other ways to determine if he is deaf.

    There is a possible impact of making him go through a medical process when we already know he is deaf and not in need of any medical intervention. Of course that is just my opinion. Hey I admit I don't always do the right thing.I don't have all the answers. I am trying to do my best.

    I did ask my son. Sorry I didn't include that.

    So again I think this is just funny and a bit sad. I really do think the club wants to do something great and I applaude that.

  10. There was a time that CODAs or slightly hard of hearing people were able to "fail" a hearing test and get into Gallaudet. Then audiologists developed a test that was able to detect if a person was falsifying their answers. After Gallaudet weeded out a few liars, they started requiring more recent audiograms that included the new test. Unfortunately, some people DO fake hearing loss, and I think the recent audiogram requirement is just trying to limit people that may try to take advantage of them.

  11. First of all a yearly audiogram is a good idea since it can test more than audio acuity. I don't hear complaints about getting them for Deaflympics, entry to Gally or to get SSI checks. You don't have to get an audiogram, but they dont have to give you money. Everyone has to get reports etc for many things in lfe they would prefer not to, deal with it!

  12. Well he doesn't get SSI, he isn't enrolled in Gally and I don't anticipate him entering Deaf Olympics so we have not needed to get a current audiogram. I do deal with it, all of it.

    Every time he has needed one his old one is fine.

    I don't care about their money but it would of been cool if he participated. You are right they don't have to give money to him. My point is my son IS deaf. Other kids who are not as deaf go to audiologists, no big deal. My son does not. He has no need for one at this point in time so he will not be able to enter the contest.

    A yearly audiogram? For what? What would we be looking for? Eye exams yes but hearing tests? My kid has been deaf since birth with no other issues, why would I check his hearing every year? I don't get yearly audiograms for my hearing daughter. Please educate me on this.

    Sometimes I think we just follow the lead of others without question.

  13. hmm who cares about how deaf a person is. I find it insulting anyway to think a deaf person is disadvantage enough not to win against hearing people.