PLAINVILLE — By appearing on the A&E special “Deaf Out Loud,” resident Rachel Posner hoped to bring exposure to the intricacies of raising deaf children. She also ended up learning more about her own children’s experiences with deafness.
"There (were) some questions we never ask each other, because you take it for granted,” Posner said, such as her daughter, Faith Posner, 9, mentioning how much it bothers her when people over enunciate their speech to her. "I actually learned a lot about her by watching the show.”
The documentary, produced by Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Maitlin, will air tonight at 8 p.m. and midnight as part of season four of A&E’s “Born This Way.”
The documentary follows three families — one where all but one daughter is deaf, another with a mother who can hear and husband and children who cannot, and Posner’s family, where they all rely on hearing aides and communicate orally and by signing.
"When I saw them I thought I could identify with them, I could relate to them, but also disagree with them,” Rachel Posner said. “Which is a healthy perspective, because that's exactly what the show's trying to do.”
Some of the issues explored include whether deaf children should attend public school and if verbal communication should be incorporated for those who are profoundly deaf, like the Posners.
"It's a great contrast because, again, no two people are alike," Posner said.
Posner was worried that they would face a backlash from some in the deaf community for not sending their children to a school for the deaf. While they have visited such schools, her children prefer public schools.
"It's a choice that they made, you have to listen to what your children are telling you to help foster what their interests are," she said. Since they started at Toffolon Elementary School, Faith, in fourth grade, and her brother Henry, 7, and in second grade, found support from teachers, a small group of deaf students, and older students.
Executive Producer Jonathan Murrary said that “people of all backgrounds need to see positive representations of themselves, both as people with satisfying personal lives and as people who can perform successfully in the workplace. Those positive images will change for the better the way the greater society sees people who are deaf and those with disabilities, opening up more opportunities for them.”