Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Kassie DePaiva (ex-Chelsea, GL; now Blair on OLTL) will be advising AMC on their story about Baby Spike's deafness and cochlear implant.

According to an ABC press release:

"One Life to Live" star Kassie DePaiva has been consulting with "All My Children," sharing her real life experiences raising her son, James Quentin ("JQ"), who was born profoundly deaf. At the age of 18 months, JQ received his first Cochlear implant, and received a second implant at the age of eight. JQ is now 10 years old and attends mainstream schooling. As a part of "All My Children's" ongoing commitment to this topic, JQ will guest star in episodes featuring Erica Kane's (Susan Lucci) talk show, "New Beginnings," which will be dedicated to the theme of deaf children. These episodes are set to air on September 20, 21 and 24. The show will also produce episodes featuring support groups for parents with deaf children. Deaf actors and actors who have received Cochlear implants will be cast in all applicable roles. The show will be consulting with the League for the Hard of Hearing and will air PSAs is support of the organization.

This isn't the first time daytime has handled deafness. Last year on Y&R, Devon dealt with it, as well. And by dealt with it, I mean he got sick, went deaf, spent a few weeks shouting at people and gesticulating wildly with his arms, then received a cochlear implant and returned to the back burner (albeit now with an Emmy Award).

Considering that Devon had spent his entire life as a hearing person, there was hardly a lot of controversy about his being returned to such a state.

Almost a decade earlier, Guiding Light tackled the cochlear implant issue under different circumstances. Rick's wife, Abby, who'd been deaf her entire life, opted to get the implant as an adult. The story was based on Abby's portrayer, actress Amy Englund, who had done the same thing. (Read her story, here). However, like Devon, Abby too was an adult and capable of making her own decisions.

In the deaf community, there is a great deal of controversy about cochlear implants, especially when it comes to hearing parents making choices for their deaf children. The argument is that parents are choosing to remove their children from a deaf culture that hearing parents can't possibly understand and thus unfairly judge to be inferior. (Details, here).

In the ABC press release, AMC Executive Producer Julie Hanan Carruters assures that "This storyline gives us the opportunity to explore the emotional challenges and real-life decisions facing the parents of a child who has been permanently injured. We will go on a heart wrenching journey with our characters as they learn about the current medical options and obstacles facing their child who has become deaf."

But considering that actors who have received Cochlear implants will be cast in all applicable roles, not to mention Kassie DePaiva and the League for the Hard of Hearing's involvement.... It seems like the decision as to whether or not to get an implant for Spike has already been made.

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