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Heather Artinian, with parents, Nita and Peter Artinian

Peter, Nita and Heather Artinian:

Peter and Nita Artinian have moved their family to Frederick, Maryland, where they feel very at home in the town's strong deaf community.

Heather, 7, now attends the Maryland School for the Deaf. Peter says she doesn't ask about cochlear implants anymore.

The family controversy over Peter and Nita's decision to not implant Heather continues. Peter says that he recognizes that cochlear implants are the right choice for some kids, and hopes that his parents, brother and sister-in-law will come to respect his family's decision to not give Heather a cochlear implant.

Marianne and Peter Artinian

Marianne and Peter Artinian:

Marianne Artinian, Peter and Heather's grandmother, is adamant that the cochlear implant is the "greatest miracle in medical science," and says that "we are on the brink of a revolution for those who cannot hear." Although she does not agree with her son Peter's decision to forego cochlear implant surgery for his daughter, Heather, she believes that her deaf grandchildren should have the "best of both worlds."

Chris and Mari Artinian with twins

Chris, Mari and Peter Artinian:

Chris and Mari Artinian say their son's cochlear implant has been a huge success. Mari says that Peter, who is now two and a half years old, speaks so fluently that she sometimes forgets he is deaf.

Three times a week, Peter sees a private speech therapist for one hour and also attends regular 90-minute sessions at BOCES (a state program for children with special needs). Peter will be attending a "regular" toddler program twice a week this fall; Chris and Mari hope that he will be mainstreamed into nursery school in fall 2001. Peter is not learning sign language formally, but he is able to hold basic conversations in ASL with his deaf relatives.

Tension still exists, though, between Mari and her parents, and Chris and his brother, Peter, over the implant.

In July, Mari and Chris gave birth to another set of twins. Both are hearing.

Nancy and Michael Mancini

Nancy and Michael Mancini:

The controversy between Mari and her parents continues. Mari's mother, Nancy, who uses sign language, equates an implant with "robotic hearing, at best" and is not pleased with Peter's implant. Nancy fears that she and her husband, Michael, who also uses only sign language, will not be able to communicate fluently with their grandson, Peter.