Here is a hearing Mom’s odd experience at EHDI in Atlanta just this past weekend.

And here is her exact words of her experience;

At the EDHI conference, I was sitting at the back of one of the workshop rooms and an older gentleman sat down beside me.  He looked pleasant enough so I asked him where he was from and what he did.  He said he was a pediatrician from North Dakota and had one the champion pediatric practices in his state.  He then asked me what I did.  I told him I was a mom.  He said, “Oh do you have a handicapped child?”.   I’m surprised my mouth didn’t fall to the ground.  On the inside I wanted to jump on him but I held my composure and with a smile I replied, “No….I have a Deaf adult daughter.”  He looked at me and said, “So you don’t think she is handicapped?”  And I said, “No my daughter is NOT handicapped.”  Then he said, “So she had benefited from all kinds of federal support (Title One funds) yet you don’t consider her handicapped?”   I said, “It doesn’t matter what funds are given out, the point is the word “handicap” is negative and not the politically correct term…just as “disabled”  and ‘impaired” should not be used either.  I went on to say that in today’s age we don’t call people with mental differences “retarded” anymore.  We are now more culturally sensitive (and humanly sensitive) or at least we should be.”  He said, “Then what do you refer your daughter as?  And I replied, “She is Deaf.  And you should use the terms Deaf or Hard of Hearing.”
He was receptive to our conversation, but I am not sure he will change his thinking.

This really made me wonder…if this can happen at a conference specifically designed to serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing children where you would think the attendees were at least somewhat up-to-date on terminology or sensitivity…can you imagine what is happening out there across the nation in the professional arena?

John here,

This shows that we, you and me, need to educate these people such as this pediatrician about Deaf people and their culture. I am sure there are many more out there as well as the audiologist.  The best way to start educating these naive or ignorant professional people that have the huge influence on the Deaf infant’s parents to make a choice is to come to the next EHDI 2012 which will be in St. Louis, Missouri.  I will keep reminding all of you to attend the EHDI 2012 and how important it is for us to help these misguided or ignorant professionals to be educated and follow their Hippocratic Oath in the best interest of the Deaf infant’s morality needs rather than their misguided focus on monetary policy by “fixing”.

John F. Egbert

  1. Dennis Bacon says:

    John, can you give us a link or more info on EHDI 2012 at St. Louis? I live in Missouri.


  2. johnfegbert says:


    This information just came out last Monday and there is no link yet.

    I will post any new link or information about EHDI 2012-St Louis as soon as they come out.

  3. Steven Flaten says:

    With a big sigh of weariness, here we go again… a highly esteemed and well respected professional (a pediatrician in this case) inquiring whether this hearing mother has a handicapped child or not… shows how much the society at large has evolved over the years in labeling certain individuals with his/her abilities/disabilities. Much has been done to educate the public at large about the Deaf people and their own unique Deaf culture. Communication barriers and language differences pose unusual challenges to be overcome in reaching our common goal — bilateral understanding on both sides. Bias and discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional, has been and will always be a part of our everyday life. It won’t disappear, that can be guaranteed. Patience is a great virtue we could use from time to time in striking a balance between two totally different worlds. As for this pediatrician, invite him to join us in a day of our “silent” world and let him experience an exhilarating change in his cultural outlook. He won’t be disappointed!

  4. Paul Kiel says:


    Please feel free to ask me for anything in St. Louis.

    You are welcome to use our deaf club, GSLAD for meetings and follow up planning for before, during and after EDHI.

    I am rooting for that!

    Paul Kiel
    St. Louis, MO

  5. David says:

    Often Hearing are ignorant, even professionals who should know better, and not really intending to be offensive. I try to educate when the opportunity comes. *However*, I am usually pretty plain spoken and not afraid of physicians in the least. In similar circumstances, I give the other party a pass for one offensive remark, but if they persist, then the conversation goes something like this:

    “Really? Do you still call black people ‘ni@@ers’, too?
    How about you? Are you a (insert most seemingly appropriate ethnically offensive term)?
    You know, if you use offensive terms, you give permission for others to use offensive terms, too.
    Shall we start over?”

    This is said calmly, giving the other party a chance to re-think their words and start again. More often than not, the other party does start over. If not, then I know they are not interested in rational discussion.


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