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Old 12-23-2006, 08:43 PM   #1
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A WONDERFUL Holiday Story for All !

Here is a Holiday story that is sure to melt the hardest of hearts:


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/n...nd/6200827.stm



Deaf twins to hear joy of Christmas
Dot Kirby
BBC Northern Ireland health correspondent



Like children the world over, Curtis and Reece Flanagan will not hear Santa coming down the chimney this Christmas Eve.

But what they will hear - for the first time - will be the squeals of delight with which each will open their presents on Christmas morning.



They will hear the crackling of logs in the festive grate and the sound of their classmates singing Jingle Bells. Curtis and Reece are three-year-old identical twins who were born deaf.

But in August, they each underwent a miracle operation. They had cochlear implants fitted. And it means they can now hear for the first time.

So the twins really got their best present ever three months ago when their implants were switched on.




'Difficult to control'

The implants place electrodes deep inside the ear. These produce impulses which are transmitted to brain and interpreted as sound.

Before their implants, Curtis and Reece were trapped in a world they could not hear - or understand.

Their mother Orla says that as a result their behaviour was often difficult to control.

"Anything they wanted, they couldn't tell me. It was so frustrating for them, so frustrating for me - the whole house was in chaos," she recalls.



But since their operations, the boys' behaviour has improved remarkably. And Orla is delighted with their progress.

"They are able to say Santa for the first time, they are able to point at the lights on the tree and say 'Christmas tree' and 'lights'", she says.



At Belfast City Hospital surgeon Joe Toner has pioneered fitting cochlear implants.

He is very pleased with how the boys' speech and language has developed.




And he believes their operations have given them a bright future:

"I think this has the potential to transform their lives," he said.
"They probably will be able to attend mainstream school, they won't have to have segregated education and, hopefully, they will be able to integrate in most activities with their peers, in a way that may not have been possible if they had not had their implants."



This year, Mr Toner has fitted implants to the Flanagans and eight other children.

Whatever is in the Christmas stockings of these children, it will not beat the gift they received during the year.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I told you that it would melt your heart.


Have a wonderful and blessed Holiday season, everyONE. And may your new year be full of positive possibilities!


AS ONE, debbie
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Old 12-24-2006, 04:32 PM   #2
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Good one!!!
Nice to hear a positive story once in awhile...especially around this time of year. Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2006, 07:47 PM   #3
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That's so wonderful to read about. Thanks for sharing, and happy holidays.
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Old 12-26-2006, 01:27 AM   #4
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wow technology rocks!! that is so cool!
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Old 12-26-2006, 03:23 PM   #5
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I read this in the paper the other day

Good news from Norn Iron for a change
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:22 PM   #6
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What a great story! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lara Mullen
I read this in the paper the other day

Good news from Norn Iron for a change

You're all very welcomed. I'm glad that this story really brightened a lot of people's holidays.


Now it's up to us to keep the positive vibes going all year

through.
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Old 12-27-2006, 07:41 PM   #8
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Some interesting stuff about cochlear implants from Wikipedia:
Quote:
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that can help provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing...Unlike other kinds of hearing aids, the cochlear implant does not amplify sound, but works by directly stimulating any functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea with electrical impulses.
.................................................
An implant does not restore or create normal hearing. Instead, under the appropriate conditions, it can give a deaf person a useful auditory understanding of the environment and help them to understand speech, although post-implantation therapy may be required. According to researchers at the University of Michigan, approximately 100,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants; roughly half are children and half adults. The vast majority are in developed countries due to the prohibitive cost of the device, surgery and post-implantation therapy...

CI's have met dramatic controversy in the global deaf community, sparking controversy and emotional debates about language, Deaf Culture, choice, and the death of Deaf culture. The controversy concerns the basic right to choose a language. Many individuals whose first language is sign language, for example ASL American Sign Language, are actively debating and protesting the use of cochlear implants.
.................................................
The introduction of cochlear implants has seen the renewal of a century-old debate about models of deafness that often has the hearing parents of deaf children on one side and the deaf community on the other. On the other hand, modern medical ethics law dictates that the decision of whether to get a cochlear implant is up to the patient or the legal guardian of the patient. Therefore, political debate about whether deafness is a disability or not is irrelevant to the current medical profession. On the other hand, whether society treats deafness as a disability has direct bearing on government policy...

...................................................
There are a number of factors that determine the degree of success to expect from the operation and the device itself...A prime candidate is described as:

--having severe to profound sensorineural hearing impairment in both ears
--having a functioning auditory nerve
--having lived a short amount of time without hearing
--having good speech, language, and communication skills, or in the case of infants and young children, having a family willing to work toward speech and language skills with therapy
--not being benefited by other kinds of hearing aids
--having no medical reason to avoid surgery
--living in or desiring to live in the "hearing world"
--having realistic expectations about results
--having the support of family and friends.

...Once a cochlear implant is put in place, any residual hearing a person has in that ear most likely will be destroyed. For this reason, people with mild or moderate sensorineural hearing loss or conductive hearing loss are generally not candidates for cochlear implantation. After the implant is put into place, sound no longer travels via the ear canal and middle ear but will be picked up by a microphone and sent through the device's speech processor to the implant's electrodes inside the cochlea. Thus, most candidates have been diagnosed with profound sensorineural hearing loss...Post-lingually deaf adults and pre-lingually deaf children form two distinct groups of potential users of cochlear implants with different needs and outcomes. Those who have lost their hearing as adults were the first group to find cochlear implants useful, in regaining some comprehension of speech and other sounds. If an individual has been deaf for a long period of time, the brain may begin using the area of the brain normally used for hearing for other functions. If such a person receives a cochlear implant, the sounds can be very disorienting, and the brain often will struggle to readapt to sound.
.........................................................
The other group of customers are parents of children born deaf who want to ensure that their children grow up with good spoken language skills. Research shows that congenitally deaf children who receive cochlear implants at a young age (less than 2 years) have better success with them than congenitally deaf children who first receive the implants at a later age, though the critical period for utilizing auditory information does not close completely until adolescence.
............................................................
A cochlear implant will not cure deafness or hearing impairment, but is a prosthetic substitute for hearing. Some recipients find them very effective, others somewhat effective and some feel overall worse off with the implant than without. For people already functional in spoken language who lose their hearing, cochlear implants can be a great help in restoring functional comprehension of speech, especially if they have only lost their hearing for a short time. British Member of Parliament Jack Ashley received a cochlear implant in 1994 at age 70 after 25 years of deafness, and reported that he has no trouble speaking to people he knows one on one, even on the telephone, although he might have difficulty with a new voice or with a busy conversation, and still had to rely to some extent on lipreading. He described the robotic sound of human voices perceived through the cochlear implant as "a croaking Dalek with laryngitis". Even modern cochlear implants have at most 24 electrodes to replace the 16,000 delicate hair cells that are used for normal hearing. However, the sound quality delivered by a cochlear implant is often good enough that many users do not have to rely on speech-reading (lipreading). Rush Limbaugh, U.S. talk radio show host, says that everything sounds normal except that he cannot pick out the melody of new music that he had not heard prior to becoming deaf.

Adults who have grown up deaf often find the implants ineffective or irritating because there is too much auditory information to interpret. Sound from a cochlear implant is not the same as the sound of the anatomy of a functioning ear. Some who were orally educated and used amplifying hearing aids have been more successful with cochlear implants, as use of the hearing aid functioned to maintain perception of sound.
......................................................
Cochlear implants for congenitally deaf children are often considered to be most effective when implanted at a young age, during the critical period in which the brain is still learning to interpret sound; hence they are implanted before the recipients can decide for themselves. Critics question the ethics of such invasive elective surgery on healthy children. They point out that manufacturers and specialists have exaggerated the efficacy and downplayed the risks of a procedure that they stand to gain from. On the other hand, Andrew Solomon of the New York Times states that "Much National Association of the Deaf propaganda about the danger of implants is alarmist; some of it is positively inaccurate."

Much of the strongest objection to cochlear implants has come from the Deaf community, which consists largely of pre-lingually deaf people whose first language is sign language. Individuals who are deaf and the Deaf community do not share the pathological view of deafness held by the hearing parents of deaf children that holds deafness as a disability to be "fixed". Individuals who are deaf celebrate their culture as all languages celebrate their unique history and culture. Many hearing people, on the other hand, feel that refusing to implant deaf children is unethical, comparable to refusal to treat any other handicap or disease which has an effective treatment. Many individuals who have hearing and do not know or are not comfortable with sign language may have strong concerns about having a child that uses their hands to talk. Individuals who are deaf may feel that it is just another form of mental and physical abuse in the long history of misunderstanding, abuse and pain they have had to endure. The conflict over these opposing models of deafness has raged since the 18th century, and cochlear implants are the latest in a history of medical interventions promising to turn a deaf child into a hearing child — or, more accurately, a child with a mild or moderate hearing impairment. Critics argue that the cochlear implant and the subsequent therapy often become the focus of the child's identity, at the expense of a positive deaf identity and the ease of communication in sign language. Measuring the child's success by their success in hearing and speech will lead to a poor self-image as "disabled" (because the implants do not produce normal hearing) rather than having the healthy self-concept of a proud deaf person.


Some writers have noted that children with cochlear implants are more likely to be educated orally and without access to sign language. Children with implants are also often isolated from other deaf children and from sign language, and instead are "married" to a team of hearing experts who will monitor his cochlear implant and adjust the speech processor, at great expense. It is, however, probably less than what a signing deaf individual costs society. According to Johnston, cochlear implants have been one of the technological and social factors implicated in the decline of sign languages in the developed world. Some of the more extreme responses from deaf activists have labelled the widespread implantation of children as "cultural genocide". As cochlear implants began to be implanted into deaf children in the mid to late 1980s, the deaf community responded with protests in the US, UK, Germany, Finland, France and Australia. Opposition continues today but in many cases has softened. As the trend for cochlear implants in children grows, deaf-community advocates have tried to counter the "either or" formulation of oralism vs manualism with a "both and" approach; some schools now are successfully integrating cochlear implants with sign language in their educational programs. However, some opponents of sign language education argue that the most successfully implanted children are those who are encouraged to listen and speak rather than overemphasize their visual sense. Many progressive educators have been successful using a method called Total Communication in which students learn sign language and all possible ways to develop language for expressive, receptive interaction with other students and their environment.
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:48 PM   #9
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My mother and I caught a snippet about this story on TV actually over the weekend. Thanks for sharing it, Jamila. It is refreshing to hear something so positive and with good ending!
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carek1230
My mother and I caught a snippet about this story on TV actually over the weekend. Thanks for sharing it, Jamila. It is refreshing to hear something so positive and with good ending!

You're very welcomed, Karen - I'm so glad that you enjoyed the article and the TV snippet.


It just sounded like a positive story to share with others, especially over the Holidays.
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamila

It just sounded like a positive story to share with others, especially over the Holidays.
They can be shared all year round
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Old 12-31-2006, 01:34 AM   #12
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Cool.

I wonder though, how great would it really be to hear for the first time. I know that sounds silly, but wouldn't the first sounds you hear be more shocking and bizarre than anything else?
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Old 12-31-2006, 08:14 AM   #13
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Great to hear a good story.
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Old 12-31-2006, 01:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lara Mullen


They can be shared all year round

I appreciate your suggestion, Lara, but from looking at the threads that generally run in this forum, positive news normally generates less interest that the more controversial news.


Thus, it's hard to get people to pay attention to the positive but I have noticed that our willingness to pay attention to this kind of news story is increased over the Holidays.


It's all good - and I thank everybody's enthusiastic response to this thread.



COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (my new year's resolution)


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Old 12-31-2006, 04:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jamila



I appreciate your suggestion, Lara, but from looking at the threads that generally run in this forum, positive news normally generates less interest that the more controversial news.


Thus, it's hard to get people to pay attention to the positive but I have noticed that our willingness to pay attention to this kind of news story is increased over the Holidays.


It's all good - and I thank everybody's enthusiastic response to this thread.



COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (my new year's resolution)


doesn't matter if it doesn't generate as much interest.
you can always post it in LS too.

happy new year
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Old 12-31-2006, 04:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Salome


doesn't matter if it doesn't generate as much interest.
you can always post it in LS too.

Yeah try LS since FYM is geared more towards discussion/debate. There's nothing really to debate about a heart-warming story; we all agree it's a nice read, not much else to say. You can see a lot of threads listen in FYM right now with less views that this one, so people read it.
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:03 AM   #17
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I like this one, from the Christian Science Monitor

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore Tue Jan 2

For the past year I have mentored a young teenage girl in southeast Portland. I'll call her Eileen.

In many ways Eileen is an ordinary teen - she likes to wear faded jean skirts, she wrinkles her nose at vegetables and public radio, she wishes her mom didn't have a MySpace account, she worries about whether the boy she likes this week likes her, too.

But Eileen has her secrets, and she keeps them well. Like what she really wanted for Christmas. She didn't scribble it on a wish list, because what Eileen really wanted is to see her father again - and Eileen has long stopped wishing for the impossible.

We had only known each other a few weeks when Eileen first mentioned her father. We were sharing an enchilada at a tidy Mexican taquería, talking loftily about foreign languages and heritage.

Eileen was proud of her native American blood - her father is half Chippewa, and her grandmother was fully Indian. Her grandma was Eileen's favorite person in the world, until she died. And her dad is a loser now.

This is the way Eileen speaks. Frankly. I treasure this.

Eileen went on to tell me that her father has been in and out prison her whole life.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because he's a meth cook," she said, her voice falling flat.

"How long has he been doing that?" A ridiculous fill-the-silence question, but it escaped before my mind sounded the "this is an important moment, say the right thing" alarm.

"Forever." Eileen shrugged and leaned over her glass of water, pulling at the straw. "He's a loser. I never want to talk to him again. But if he gets out soon he promised he'll take me shopping."

Her father did get out of prison. I met him - the first and only time - a few weeks after he'd gotten out. Every day had felt like an eternity to Eileen. His call interrupted the dinner I was treating her to - her first time at a Lebanese restaurant.

It was a warm summer's night. Eileen's eyes got so big when she heard her father's voice on the other end of her cellphone. He was at her house. We had to go right away. We didn't know if her father would wait.

I set aside my own emotions and let Eileen experience hers. The indifference toward her father had quickly turned into giddy adoration. She applied her lip gloss carefully as I sped to her house. Then she leaned back and looked out the passenger's window, her whole face still, quiet, frozen in the preencounter.

Her father was handsome. Stocky and stubbly. A firm handshake kind of a guy. He met my eyes and held my gaze, thanking me for my role as mentor, and I found myself smiling under the pressure.

I'll never forget Eileen's face. She looked like the sun rising, all beams of light. I took my exit quietly, leaving the Styrofoam box of leftovers on the counter.

Today, Eileen's father is back in prison. She doesn't talk about him at all now. If I ask, she doesn't even shrug, just replies flatly that she doesn't care where he is or who he is or how he is. She gave him too many chances. She's done.

Eileen is a few months into high school. She has gone from jean skirts and hoop earrings to black eyeliner and heavy-hooded sweat shirts. She has smoked her first cigarette. She has been suspended from school.

In some ways I understand this Eileen better. There was a time when I, too, wore black eyeliner, fixing my face in a defiantly pensive pose the way only teenagers can. But I was listening to Brahms and reading Proust, not getting suspended.

Then again, I always had a father, and I could reach him at any time. There is more behind Eileen's eyeliner than there ever was behind mine.

This Christmas, as I brainstormed my list of gifts, I was stuck on Eileen. What she really wants is something only her father can give. Attention. Discipline. Time. No, more than that. What she really wants is him, giving.

What matters is giving, not the giftAnd it dawns on me that, more important than what I give, is the fact that I give at all. What matters is the giving, not the gift. It isn't something you do during a season. It's devotion - sometimes glorious and sometimes tedious, sometimes noticed and sometimes not. The gift is merely the exclamation point.

When I handed Eileen a little something tied in a tidy bow a few days ago, my real gift was shared in the span of our hug. And maybe, just maybe, she will find it useful in the moments she needs it most.

And then maybe, somewhere down the road, she'll pass it on to someone else, someone just like her, someone who dreams of more than tidy bows.

* Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is a freelance journalist in Portland, Ore., and the editor of www.CommonTies.com
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:23 AM   #18
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Thanks, Mrs. Springsteen, for sharing some good news. It's greatly appreciated.




Here is another story that I found that I think is priceless:


Colombian nurses animals back to health By INALDO PEREZ, Associated Press Writer

Sun Jan 7



Through the bars of his cage, an African lion named Jupiter stretches his giant paws around the neck of Ana Julia Torres and plants a kiss on her puckered lips.


It could be a kiss of gratitude: Since Jupiter was rescued six years ago from a life of abuse and malnutrition in a traveling circus, Torres has fed and nursed him back to health at her Villa Lorena shelter for injured and mistreated animals.


"Here we have animals that are lame, missing limbs, blind, cross-eyed, disabled," said Torres, 47, who relies on donations and her own modest teacher's salary to run the shelter in a poor neighborhood in the southern city of Cali. "They come to us malnourished, wounded, burned, stabbed, with gunshots."


Torres said her work rehabilitating animals began more than a decade ago when a friend gave her an owl that had been kept as a pet. Later, when she asked her students to bring their pets to school, she realized many families illegally kept wild fauna from Colombia's biologically diverse jungles in their homes.


The number of animals under her care grew, and today Jupiter is among 800 recovering creatures at Villa Lorena — from burned peacocks and limbless flamencos to blind monkeys and mutilated elephants.


Most of the animals are caged, though some, like iguanas, roam freely around the impeccably clean grounds enclosed by a 13-foot wall. Inside is a monument that the state governor dedicated in recognition of Torres' work.


Torres said many of the animals were rejected as infants by their parents in the wild or found abandoned on the streets of Cali, a city of 2 million.


Others were rescued from cruel treatment by owners. One mountain lion kept illegally as a pet had its two front legs cut off by its owner after it clawed a family member's face.


Torres said that of all the animals she has cared for, she is proudest of having rescued Yeyo, a now-deceased spider monkey who had suffered violent, drunken beatings at the hands of an alcoholic owner.


"The monkey would scream every time it was beaten, until one day the police came and found the wall covered in blood," she said.


Two veterinarians saved Yeyo from death, though it lost an eye and its teeth from the abuse. Yeyo remained terrified of people, cowering in the corner of the cage at the sound of footsteps, she said.


Torres said she opposes exhibiting animals in circuses and has therefore kept her shelter closed to the public.


"We want the animals to live in peace," Torres said. "All their life they were shown at circuses and shows — this is a paradise where they can finally rest."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm really impressed by this woman. She truly shows how one person can make a tremendous difference in the world.


There's also a GREAT picture with the story.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070108/...lter&printer=1



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