Deaf Children in China Review

Deaf Children in China
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Deaf Children in China ReviewThis book presents a comprehensive description of conditions for young deaf children in China. The author is a medical doctor specialist in Ear, Nose, and Throat with experience living in China. In 1994 she traveled back to China to conduct the research presented in this book. On this trip, she collected volumes of information about the conditions and educational opportunities for all children, as well as the status of the deaf, particularly young deaf children. She interviewed 26 families of children attending a deaf preschool, visited and observed classes at the preschool, and surveyed hundreds of letters written by relatives of deaf children to a leading Chinese educator of the deaf. Callaway has integrated the information from all of these sources into a wide-ranging and extremely informative report.
In general, Callaway finds that there are few groups or institutions providing support to parents of deaf children in China. Almost all parents are left to their own devices upon diagnosis. As a result, most of them spend vast amounts of money that they don't have searching for a "cure" rather than investing in hearing aids or learning sign language. It was encouraging, however, to read of the existence of preschools for the deaf, and that some schools for the deaf in China use a form of signed Chinese as the medium of instruction rather than sticking to a purely oral/aural method. A very disturbing fact that Callaway points out is that the third leading cause of deafness in China is entirely preventable, namely deafness due to ototoxic drugs- -inappropriately prescribed antibiotics. Callaway found little evidence of a strong Deaf culture in China such as found in many Western countries. She hypothesizes that the lack of Deaf culture may be more likely in a homogenous society like China. Personally, I think that the explanation for the lack of evidence of a Deaf culture may be more closely linked with a long-standing educational tradition for the deaf and acceptance of sign language. It would be interesting to explore these ideas in a society such as the UAE which is highly heterogeneous but does not have a long history of deaf education.Deaf Children in China Overview

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