On my run this morning I noticed a street sign in the Buttonball area stating Hearing Impaired Child. This got me thinking. Do we really need these? Are they serving a valuable purpose?
Its time to explore this issue.
There seems to be a single purpose for these signs: to alert motorists that a child in that vicinity is hearing impaired and should that child be near the road they may not hear vehicles coming.
Okay. The child isn't blind is he/she? Shouldn't the parent's child have taught him/her to stop and look both ways before crossing the street? Does this child not have enough intelligence to know that they are unable to hear well, therefore they need to rely on their working sense of sight to look first?
When was the last time you relied solely on your sense of sound to cross a street? Probably never. We don't because sight is a more reliable method of determining when it is safe to cross. Between today's cars are getting quieter and bicyclists on the roads its very possible that you can't hear something coming towards you anyway. So use your eyes!
Another reason against putting up these signs is the stigma that may come with labeling a neighborhood child with some disability. I'm sure these children wish to feel as "normal" as all the other kids. And you know there are going to be some kids who may think differently about the hearing impaired child and perhaps exclude them from play. So these signs could be causing mental anguish to these children.
Exactly how much do these signs cost to make and install? Can't the town or state money be better spent by buying these children some cochlear implants? Let's stop this practice of alienating them and instead enable them to hear and include them in our society.
Can you recall the last time you drove through a neighborhood with one of these signs and actually saw children playing out front? I can't remember a time. Kids typically play in their backyards where they are out of harm's way.
Other valid points for getting rid of these signs include:
How do motorists know where the zone ends? What if the child goes outside the zone?
Who is responsible for taking down these signs when the child has grown up or moved away? I've seen some of these old signs that look like they've been in place since the Nixon administration. They can't possibly still be "children". Unless those parents have been raising one hearing impaired child after another for the last 2 decades I think its safe to remove the old signs.
Its time to be sensible, stop the stigma, reduce costs, and end the practice of these signs.