If your only sources were mainstream media and best-selling books, you might think that autism has been cured many times over, whether through consuming therapies like Applied Behavioral Analysis, Floor Time, or The Diet, or through mysterious institutes with names like Options and Halo. And you might struggle to name a single cure for deafness.
One of the loudest arbiters of this political correctness is Harlan Lane, historically a prominent Deaf culture advocate, non-deaf though he is. Here's how one of Lane's acolytes characterized his views on implants back in 1999, a year or so after J was implanted:
Get hold of a copy of Harlan Lane's book from several years ago
called "The Mask of Benevolence" (Knopf, 1992) in which he indicts a
whole set of attitudes which he characterizes as "audism" on analogy
with "sexism, racism,..." etc., namely the attitude that hearing is
always better than non-hearing and that the values associated with
hearing weigh in as more important than those associated with
deafness. Audism equates deafness with impairment, brokenness, etc.
The subtitle of the book is "Disabling the Deaf Community".
Lane also looks at the data on cochlear implants (at least what was
known up to then) and in a long and complex set of arguments concludes
that it is unethical to implant children, given that the surgery has
such failure rate, that the costs (both in money and in time/effort on
the part of the child and the family) overshadow everything. The
surgery is destructive of the physical structure of the cochlea and
other parts of the ear, so should some later therapy be discovered
with less invasive procedure, these CIs would not be candidates for
any other surgical procedure. The hours of rehabilitation for CIs
rivals the hours of practice for competition sports, with as much
psychological pressure to succeed. Who wins most in the CI model?
Medical and allied health professionals without a doubt in monetary
The fiction being sold to parent of deaf infants and children is that
somehow the CI will make your child non-deaf. Not true. Even the
successful CI is a deaf person, where "successful" means the surgery
worked, the device works, and the individual learns to interpret the
signals as speech/noise/meaningful.