Yesterday I met an ex-student of Mrs.Hudlikar who was one of her bright kids with good communication skills.He was married and come for therapy for his 10 month old deaf child who was diagnosed early and was wearing hearing aids and doing well .The man's mom had come with the entire family to re- learn what had to be taught to the child as the baby's mom was also deaf using sign language and the responsibility to develop the language laid with the grand mother.
During the session we gave out our feedback to the grand mother and we interacted with the family.All was well till the father of the child opened his mouth to speak.I was shocked as the man's language was so not at all clear and we all found it difficult to understand even one word. We all tried to strain and wondered how he was one of the good students. Ma'am was at him again and corrected his speech and was upset at the deterioration of his voice and speech. The man's parents then came out with the real story.The man was married to a deaf lady using the sign language. So for the woman adjustments were made so that she could open the door if the bell rang [ a light was attached to the door bell].There was a lot of writing that was used to make everybody understand.So to make the lady comfortable , the whole family made adjustments with the lady instead of helping her to react to sound and use her hearing aids to listen. The man has done his M Tech and works in a firm where during the interview when the interviewer tried to sign to him , he asked him to speak in English as he could speak. He also joined a deaf club against his parents wishes where most used signs and lip reading.With time the man stopped using his voice and started to depend on lip reading. As a result his voice quality and speech deteriorated.I was so shocked.Prisha too looked at the man with horror.It did give her a bit of fear.It is essential that the deaf person is surrounded with hearing people so that he does not get an opportunity to use any other mode except -speaking through hearing and hearing alone.As the man stopped started to focus on lip reading, he stopped focusing on listening and so stopped speaking. It did give me a big push that with Prisha I have to make sure that she is always in an environment where there is use of spoken language.