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Victim from Birth Essay

In the article “Victims from birth” Wendy McElroy, ifeminists.com, is about Sharon Duchesneau and her deaf son named Gauvin. Duchesneau, being a lesbian, selected a sperm donor(along with her partner Candace McCullough). Duchesneau and McCullough are also deaf. The donor they selected was based on his family history of deafness to insure their son Gauvin would also be deaf. Duchesneau goes on to say that Gauvin “is not profoundly deaf… but deaf enough” (McElroy 1). Gauvin was born with slight ability hear to. Gauvin would be able to hear well enough to perform normal functions with help from a hearing aid. However, Duchesneau and McCullough made the decision not to supply a hearing aide for their son. McElroy states “A deaf lifestyle is a choice she [Deuchesneau] wishes to make for her son”(McElroy1). Duchesneau and McCullough acted inappropriately in withholding a hearing aid from Gauvin as he will face unnecessary limitations in his education, career, and social life.

Gauvin will be faced with difficulties in his ability to learn through general education. The general education system is not set up to teach deaf children. The majority of students are not deaf. “[three] out of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard-of-hearing every year” says Holley Heffley, R.N, in “Pediatric Cochlear Implants: Medical Miracle or Cultural Genocide?” Denying Gauvin a hearing aide hinders his ability to be taught by any teacher. Not ever teacher is capable of being able to communicate with a deaf child. The chances Gauvin will have to go further in his education are limited because he will not be able to hear. Deaf students are less likely to achieve successes in education compared to hearing students. As a deaf child, Gauvin will treated different through his schooling then other children. Being treated different effects people in a negative way. Ducheesneau and McCullough are putting Gauvin is a difficult situation by withholding a hearing aid from him. With Gauvin’s poor education level, finding a suitable career is a greater task.

Not being able to hear will hinder Gauvin’s chances to obtain certain career opportunities. Neil Levy, Associate Professor, University of Oxford, says in his article “deafness, culture, and choice” “the deaf do much worse than the hearing on range of significant indicators of quality of life: unemployment…[and] income”(Levy 2). Firefighter, police officer, or life guard are few examples of careers that Gauvin can not do because he is unable to hear. As a firefighter, you need your sense of hearing to react to dangerous situations. As a police officer you need your hearing to be able to listen to calls come in over the radio. As a life guard you need to be able to hear people call for you assistance. If Gauvin was given a hearing aid his range of career choices would be far greater. Being deaf will put Gauvin at a greater risk for unemployment. If Gauvin gets a job, his changes of moving forward in that job are also limited. Being deaf will hold him back from advancing to a more desirable position. This consequently effects Gauvin’s income Giving him the hearing aid is the right thing to do so Gauvin will not be limited on his career choice.

The most significant challenge that Gauvin will have to overcome is in having a normal social life. Levy says “The deaf will always be cut off from the buzz of conversation… always slightly alienated from mainstream… social… life” (Levy 2). Gauvin will not be able to communicate on an everyday basis with strangers. Making it very difficult for Gauvin to do simply tasks. For example, he cannot order from a drive through fast-food restaurant or ask for directions if he is lost. Gauvin’s ability to make friends will be hindered the most. The majority of people do not know sign language and will have a hard time getting to know Gauvin. Being deaf, Gauvin will not go through the normal process of communicating with kids his age. While Gauvin is young, he will be limited in finding friends. Consequently, affecting his social skills. When he can communicate, he will not have the same social skills as hearing children his age. This correlates with finding somebody Gauvin can spend his life with. Being deaf affects Gauvin from being able to communicate with most girls. By the time Gauvin will be interested in a partner his social skills will not be as inept as people his age.

Gauvin should have been granted a hearing aid in order to live an easier life. Not having this aid hinders his ability to learn, limiting his education options. Consequently, this will effect Gauvin on his search for a career. Most importantly, being deaf will do the greatest damage to his social life, changing the way he communicates with people. Therefore, Duchesneau and McCullough made a poor decision to withhold a hearing aid from Gauvin.


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