Orchid of the Bayou: A Deaf Woman Faces Blindness

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9781563681042: Orchid of the Bayou: A Deaf Woman Faces Blindness

"Mama knew I was 'not right'" Kitty Fischer says of her early childhood in Louisiana. Even though her mother never said it, Kitty knew she meant "deaf and dumb." Her communication difficulties were compounded by the bias her family endured for being Cajun. But Fischer excelled at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, and left her Cajun roots far behind for Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. After graduating and marrying her college sweetheart Lance, a Deaf Jewish man from New York, Kitty settled in, working as a librarian and raising a family. Eventually, though she could no longer ignore her increasing tunnel vision. Doctors quickly confirmed that she had Usher syndrome, a genetic condition that eventually leads to blindness. While Fischer struggled to come to terms with her condition, the high incidence of Usher syndrome among Cajun peoples led her to reexamine and reclaim her cultural heritage. Today Fischer prospers, enjoying her time with family and friends and celebrating the Deaf, Cajun, Blind, and Jewish cultures that shape her life. Her lively story will resonate with anyone who recognizes the arduous journey towards claiming an identity.

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Fischer, who suffers from Usher syndrome, which causes deafness at birth and deteriorating tunnel vision, grew up in the Louisiana bayou with hearing siblings and parents who initially thought that she was mentally retarded. Here she presents a vivid portrait of the Cajun culture, in which her childhood memories are supplemented by research she conducted, and an even more arresting description of the Louisiana School for the Deaf, a residential institution she began attending in 1953 at the age of six. It was here that Fischer learned to communicate by sign ("naturally, the way hearing kids pick up speech") and become a part of the deaf culture. She firmly believes that deaf children benefit from residential schools and, more importantly, need contact with other deaf children to thrive. This memoir, which Fischer signed to Carroll (Movers and Shakers: Deaf People Who Changed the World), describes how her education offered her a link to everything beyond herself: "I learned not only how to read and write, but also what it meant to be an adult, and educated, and a citizen in the United States and the world." Despite the loss of her mother to lung cancer and her father's alcoholism, the teenage Fischer was determined to attend Gallaudet, a university for the deaf in Washington, D.C., where she obtained a college degree and met her husband, Lance, who is also deaf. Now, at middle age, Fischer, with her husband's support, maintains a courageous attitude in dealing with increasing vision loss that will probably result in total blindness. Her recollections those of a resolute and complex woman will certainly appeal to deaf readers, especially those with Usher syndrome.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Gallaudet University Press,U.S., United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Mama knew I was not right Kitty Fischer says of her early childhood in Louisiana. Even though her mother never said it, Kitty knew she meant deaf and dumb. Her communication difficulties were compounded by the bias her family endured for being Cajun. But Fischer excelled at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, and left her Cajun roots far behind for Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. After graduating and marrying her college sweetheart Lance, a Deaf Jewish man from New York, Kitty settled in, working as a librarian and raising a family. Eventually, though she could no longer ignore her increasing tunnel vision. Doctors quickly confirmed that she had Usher syndrome, a genetic condition that eventually leads to blindness. While Fischer struggled to come to terms with her condition, the high incidence of Usher syndrome among Cajun peoples led her to reexamine and reclaim her cultural heritage. Today Fischer prospers, enjoying her time with family and friends and celebrating the Deaf, Cajun, Blind, and Jewish cultures that shape her life. Her lively story will resonate with anyone who recognizes the arduous journey towards claiming an identity. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9781563681042

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Book Description Gallaudet University Press,U.S., United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Mama knew I was not right Kitty Fischer says of her early childhood in Louisiana. Even though her mother never said it, Kitty knew she meant deaf and dumb. Her communication difficulties were compounded by the bias her family endured for being Cajun. But Fischer excelled at the Louisiana School for the Deaf, and left her Cajun roots far behind for Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. After graduating and marrying her college sweetheart Lance, a Deaf Jewish man from New York, Kitty settled in, working as a librarian and raising a family. Eventually, though she could no longer ignore her increasing tunnel vision. Doctors quickly confirmed that she had Usher syndrome, a genetic condition that eventually leads to blindness. While Fischer struggled to come to terms with her condition, the high incidence of Usher syndrome among Cajun peoples led her to reexamine and reclaim her cultural heritage. Today Fischer prospers, enjoying her time with family and friends and celebrating the Deaf, Cajun, Blind, and Jewish cultures that shape her life. Her lively story will resonate with anyone who recognizes the arduous journey towards claiming an identity. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9781563681042

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