Monday, November 12, 2012

'Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity'

For Megan and Michael, a Los Angeles couple, the crucial turn of parenthood came not in the delivery room but eight months later, when they started to worry that something had gone wrong with their son. The baby, Jacob, didn’t respond to the surrounding world the way his older sister had; when Megan started banging on pots, one night, he did not even flinch. At the hospital, a test confirmed their fears: Jacob was deaf, and most of the assumptions that they had about his future would change. At first, Megan and Michael took the difference in stride, seeking programs that would help Jacob acquire language and find a place in the hearing world. But the offerings were, almost without exception, rather grim, and few promised a life at anything near standard speed. The instructor at one celebrated clinic boasted that Jacob would be saying “apple” by the age of two. Megan protested that her daughter, at that point, could talk in sentences. “Your expectations are too high,” the instructor said. Megan knew they’d need to take another path.

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