Last night I watched the very interesting Hallmark movie called "Sweet Nothing in My Ear". The movie is about a couple who have a deaf child, and they are considering getting cochlear implants for him. For those of you who don't know, coclear implants are small electronic devices that can help a deaf or hearing impaired person hear better. For more information about cochlear implants, go to http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/coch.asp. The wife in the movie, played by famous deaf actress Marlee Matlin, is deaf herself, and is adamently against the implants. She feels that that would send a message to her son that something is wrong with deafness, that it is a disability that needs to be fixed or cured. The husband is hearing, and feels that his son should have cochlear implants in order to fit in better in the "normal" world. I found this movie absolutely fascinating and it raised some interesting issues, particularly, for me as a disabled person.
I always say that CP is engrained in me too much for me to want to be cured. It influences every aspect of my life: my friends, my personality, my views on certain issues. But I have considered the question of: what is crossing the line? What is going too far towards a "cure"? Cochlear implants do not "cure" deafness, however, they do make it so a deaf person can hear some things. Is that going too far towards a "cure"? Is that sending the message out that deafness does need to be "cured"? The mother in the movie seems to think so. However, I can also understand it from the father's point of view. He wants his son to hear music, to be able to talk with his voice as well as with his hands. He doesn't think his son is broken or wrong in any way. He just wants his son to have an easier life. But, as we all know, life is not supposed to be easy, and sometimes the right decision is not the easy one. Having a disability is not easy. Having CP is not easy, and it's made harder by other people's attitudes and stereotypes about us. However, having a not-so-easy life has made me stronger in many ways. I can't imagine life without CP.
I thought at one point in the movie, the mother made a good point. The parents were talking with a doctor who specializes in cochlear implants and hearing problems. The mother said "He won't fit into the hearing world because he won't be able to hear the things other kids do, and he won't fit into the deaf world because he won't be totally deaf." Then the doctor said "I think you'll find he gets the best of both worlds." That's not true. Sometimes being in between two worlds is harder than fitting into one or the other. As a person with mild CP, I often feel like I don't quite fit into the disabled world or the able-bodied world.
Gotta go, I'll post more later!