“Ten days after turning six, I became profoundly deaf in both ears overnight from the mumps. Imagine your hearing being switched off with one quick flick of fate.” In her new memoir, Coming to My Senses: One Woman’s Cochlear Implant Journey, author Claire H. Blatchford describes in prose and verse what life has been like living with a cochlear implant for three years after being implanted at the age of 67. “During my first year with the implant,” recalls Blatchford, “I was brimming over with amazement, wonder, and gratitude. I was puzzled, too, and was always asking, ‘What’s that sound? Who made it? Where’s it coming from?’”
Publisher’s Weekly made this astute observation of Blatchford’s story stating, “In this measured, useful work, Blatchford explains her careful decision to have the [cochlear] implant after being told by her audiologist that her condition was degenerating (‘I thought she was kidding,’ Blatchford writes in an accompanying poem, ‘but her face was serious’). Married since 1968, with two grown daughters and several grandchildren, Blatchford recognized how much she was missing and how quickly technology had advanced since she grew up. Having been mainstreamed in school, taught to ‘speechread’ rather than sign, and only fitted with her first hearing aid at age 12, Blatchford writes without a trace of self-pity about her vast loneliness as a child and how she became a master of ‘bluffing’: pretending she understood ‘was a lot less jarring and less tiring than having to ask people to repeat what they’d said.’ With her implant, sounds became tactile, with texture and colors she describes lyrically, and she presents amazing revelations regarding her newfound hearing of music, birds, and voices—especially her own voice. With an appendix featuring a technical explanation of the cochlear implant by audiologist Jeanne Coburn, this is a wonderfully inspiring work.” When asked by others if they should receive an implant, Blatchford cautions that it is an individual decision that each deaf person must make, and for her, it was the right decision.
Rebecca Day Babcock’s guide Tell Me How It Reads: Tutoring Deaf and Hearing Students in the Writing Center (TMHIR) supplies writing instructors an effective set of methods for teaching Deaf and other students how to be better writers, using a grounded theory analysis that provides a complete paradigm for all tutoring of writing. In the May/June 2014 issue of The Writing Lab Newsletter, a forum for exchanging ideas and information about writing centers in high schools, colleges, and universities, one reviewer had this to say about Babcock’s volume: “TMHIR is a resource well worth using in all writing centers. It will serve a tutor training program/class or writing center administration course well, and it can be a guide for individuals designing their own research-based projects and practices. All writing centers should include this book in their professional library. The insights it offers will help [writing] centers better serve d/Deaf writers as well as other writers.” Order your copy of Tell Me How It Reads here.
The 18th volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series, Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community is the culmination of a four-year research project designed to document language attitudes within the American Deaf community. Overall, discloses author Joseph Christopher Hill, “the general attitude about ASL is more positive today than it was at the time William Stokoe published his influential linguistic work on ASL in the 1960s. But based on the subjects’ discussion of ASL forms and features, the knowledge of ASL structure is not as standardized now, although most younger subjects are more familiar with its structure than are some older subjects.” The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education highlighted this volume in a recent issue stating: “This thought provoking study, which will be of interest to both students and teachers of sign language and Deaf culture, will cause readers to ponder the nature of standard American Sign Language (ASL) and possibly to examine one’s own stereotypical beliefs about language.” Read chapter two, and order your copy.