The Charity -- for deaf and/or blind babies and their families
Below is a photo of our 2007 trip where we stopped at the Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind. There was a summer camp sponsored by SKIHI. These two blind girls got a thrill "driving" the motorcycle.
My dissertation was a study on how early intervention has an impact on the language acquisition of deaf children. You see, this is of high interest to me as deaf people comprise the "third largest 'nation' in the world" (Dr. Bernie Hale, President of Deaf Missions International in Clearwater, FL). However, up to 96% of their families aren't able to communicate with these children. SKI-HI is a wonderful solution to this!
Without early intervention, deaf children traditionally achieve just a 3rd grade reading level by age 20 (Betti Bonni, doctoral research) and 72% remain unemployed (Jerry Connor's study for Deaf Service Center Network in Florida). Of all babies born deaf, 92% are born into all-hearing families. These families have had no experience with deafness/hearing loss and are in vital need of information and support.
Severe visual impairment in infants can result in developmental delays and acquisition of secondary disabilities, especially in the absence of early intervention. For those infants with some usable vision, the best period of time for correcting and learning to use that vision is within the first five years when the visual processing areas of the brain are still developing. This is particularly important because the leading cause of vision problems in infants in the US and Europe is brain damage related vision loss largely due to premature births.
The impact of combined vision and hearing loss on a young child and their family is profound and the need for support during the early years is great. The combined effects of both losses are far greater than either loss by itself.
Here is the link to SKI-HI's website: SKI-HI If you would like to make a donation by sponsoring a biker starting at 1/10 cent per mile ($10) all the way to 5 cents per mile ($500), 100% of your donation will go to SKIHI ... click this link
We will be available for presentations and TV interviews for parents of deaf children at all locations. Contact Mike at DrASL@aol.com
Thanks to your involvement, I can see deaf babies receive intervention in language, communication, audiology and amplification so they may grow up to be happy, confident tax paying citizens rather than being on social security disability insurance, being strangers in their own homes, being left out of society as Helen Keller so well predicted.
As for communication and language and amplification and audiology, SKI-HI has parent infant teams to help parents to choose methods best for the family and deaf child which can include but not limited to speech, lip-reading, Signed English, American Sign Language, the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants.
As for cochlear implants, please carefully consider that negative results and data often are from the early and middle 1990s. Today, technologyof cochlear implants has advanced similar to a new lap top running at 3+ gigahertz with 100 gig memory as compared with the early lap tops running at 40 or so megahertz with a memory of 20 MB.
I went in for cochlear implant surgery August 19, 2005 as I want to "walk the walk and talk the talk" as I have been through all phases ... born profoundly deaf, taking 3 years of speech therapy to say just one word correctly, going through my early life not using sign language, then learning sign language at age of 20, then being a militant anti-cochlear implant Deaf person until just two years ago when I did research on Cochlear Corporation, Med-El and Advanced Bionics' track record and how sentence recognition is now up to 90% (a Cochlear Corporation study in 1994 showed 0 to 8% response by pre-lingually deafned people).
For a person with a 115+ dB hearing loss all his life, imagine my thrill and joy in hearing my wife's beautiful laugh, the purr of a cat, and the amazing sound of hair being brushed!
I will be sending out press releases so hopefully we will be interviewed by the media to give us a chance to put in a plug for SKIHI and how they can help parents of deaf and/or blind babies.