In Support of LEAD-K

ChrisHaulmark     September 19, 2017 in ASL 15 Subscribers Subscribe

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Chris Haulmark​ reveals a deeply personal reason why he wholeheartedly supports a nation-wide LEAD-K effort just as it was successfully implemented in Kansas. Listen and learn how we Kansans can change the nation!


LEAD-K: Link
Nyle DiMarco Foundation: Link


[Video Description: Chris Haulmark is standing in the kitchen wearing a dark blue long-sleeves and button-up shirt.]

Hello everyone!

I am Chris Haulmark, running for U.S. House of Representatives in Kansas’s Third Congressional District!

Today, we are going to discuss my background as a Deaf individual; How I was raised...

First of all, when I was one year old, I became "born deaf," becoming very sick on my first birthday.

After that, my parents chose to teach me the SEE method.

SEE is short for "Signing Exact English," which is a completely different method than using ASL (American Sign Language).

SEE is actually a type of sign method that uses the English language as its foundation.

SEE requires a lot of parental involvement to...ensure that I used this SEE method, in conjunction with using English.

After learning the SEE method, I started attending K-12 at a public school as the only Deaf student at that school.

As time went by, there were only few friends who learned enough SEE to communicate with me, while I simultaneously took speech therapy classes.

I also underwent two cochlear implants, one at age 5 and the other at age 10; both ears were implanted.

After I turned 18 years old, I stopped using the cochlear implants.
Because I did not feel the need to continue the training to be a “hearing” person.

So the language journey using SEE method is really what my parents chose.

In a way, I do appreciate what my parents DID do for me.

They did what they THOUGHT was best for their deaf son.

I had two brothers, both of whom I am older.

Both of my brothers are not Deaf.

They turned out fine, obtaining a public education.

My brothers, along with my father and my mother, all learned to sign with SEE.


Now, given that backdrop, we are going to move on, take a step back and look at all the deaf children across America.

Deaf children tend to select language learning in native ASL, or as is similar to my upbringing, parents selecting a different non-native language option, such as Cued Speech, Listening and Speaking Language, and other verbal-based methods.

Of native ASL users, some of those deaf children attended Deaf schools, while others did not attend the Deaf schools, but were mainstreamed in public schools using ASL-based education.

The non-native signed language category would have a variety of settings in public schools, private schools, and home schools- so much inconsistent variety across America.

NOW, we can see what the big problem is!

Just look around us!

There is not a single solution to solve ALL the problems that Deaf children have, given so many different incongruous options for hapless parent to select from.

Now...we can see the big picture, yet behind the scenes, there lurks a deeper, much worse problem!

ASL is being rejected by so many parents!

Why is this so?

Because of the medical profession involvement, without any input from the Deaf community at all, which is completely blown off!

There are only few bright spots across America supporting ASL for Deaf children.

Here in Kansas, especially in Olathe, there is a STRONG Deaf community right here.
Our Deaf community is very STRONG!


Here, we see road signs everywhere, using the word “Deaf.”

Y'know that Kansas School for the Deaf is right here?

This school has established a very powerful local Deaf community since its historical beginning.

I am really proud to be part of this Deaf community!

I am also proud that Kansas passed LEAD-K bill into law.

LEAD-K is "Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids."

The LEAD-K organization's goal is to ensure that Deaf children of America have complete— I emphasize this word- COMPLETE language acquisition.

Think about that...this idea means that when we, the Deaf children, reach adulthood,
we would have complete language use.

LEAD-K’s objective covers Deaf kids beginning at birth to age five during which, LEAD-K ensures that parents have COMPLETE resources that involve all choices in teaching Deaf children a complete language.



Now, here's my personal opinion: American Sign Language should be the chosen option for use by all Deaf children, PERIOD!

Why do I feel so strongly about this?

Why is my opinion different than my personal upbringing, with SEE as my parents’ choice, despite that I am a successful adult?

At first glance, one would not know that I was not completely happy at all, no, not at all!

[Rest of transcription: Link

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