Tuesday, July 29

Mainstream or Deaf Ed

Why is it such an accomplishment for children to be mainstreamed, but when you tell someone that your child is in Deaf Ed is it looked at with pity? Why is there this push to mainstream?


Karen Mayes said...

Ugh, a challenging question... which could be discussed to no end :o/

I guess, in the general population's mind, the term "deaf education" means differently. Let me ask this way... what does "blind education" mean? How about "asian education"? Or "black education"? We come up with assumptions about what they should mean... speaking of ignorance, all right.

Deaf education is full of theories of how deaf children should be taught... SEE? Cued Speech? Bi Bi? Oral? Etc. Every deaf child is different, so it is hard to pinpoint the perfect answer to your question.

Same goes for the quality of deaf schools... some are awful, others are failry good, and some are outstanding...

What comes down is what your child really needs, follow your child's lead.

Karen Mayes said...

Mainstream may work for some people.. not all people.

I believe that deaf schools, especially state-run and state-funded ones are seen as financial drain, so there is a push for mainstreaming the deaf children. Deaf children bring a lot of money to school districts, unfortunately and unfairly.

Crystal said...

Hello, I graduated from mainstream school and I got diploma from high school.

If you find a mainstream school with some deaf students at their public school, you can talk to them and find out any kind of information. They won't be looked with pity. I had 3 and half good years at mainstream school.

I really don't know what to say about it. If my child was deaf, I would let my child make her own decision whether she want to go to deaf school or mainstream school. Its her wish to go whichever school she feels comfortable.

Brian L. Mayes said...

Yea, it is sad... What do I say?? Nothing, but say keep up the good work! You as a parent is the only one who knows what is best for your child or children! Don't let those others discourage you.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

My two sons go to the school for the deaf here. They started last year. My older son was mainstreamed all his life. He become very socially isolated in his high school and transferred to the school for the deaf. Was he truly being "included" in the mainstream environment? Nope. He was successful academically. How do we define "success"??? He is soooo much happier now. We need to address the needs of the whole person. My younger son also goes to the school for the deaf in our state and he loves it. He has the CI and the school is so supportive.

My belief is what this school provides is ten times better than what my kids got here at home. No comparison.

By the way my older son is visually impaired and is hoh.


Anonymous said...

It depends on deaf child's intelligence and ability. If the deaf child can cope with hearing-level skills in reading / writing / all-around communications, then go to mainstream = more challenges. If not, go to deaf schools.

In fact, deaf schools always have a financial problem and TOO Deaf environment that causes struggling with government (all hearing officials). Deaf students who graduated from deaf schools have only two hopes. NTID or Gally. Limited choices. While deaf students graduated from mainstream schools, they have more chances to go to any universities or community colleges. More chances for them to get a job in any fields, not limited to the deaf circles in Deaf ed or social work or counseling area. Or janitor / data encoder-type jobs.

Just ask yourself. Is Gally better than Harvard University??? Stanford University? USC?? UCLA? Yale University?? Even the community college?? Look at this, simple.

If you have high ambition for your deaf child. then, go for mainstream school. More respectful.

Good luck.


Anonymous said...

Not true! I know several deaf people who have graduated from the school for the deaf in our state. And they do not attend Gally or NTID, they are attending other colleges and are very successful. That's not to say NTID or Gally students are not successful.

It all depends on the kid. And our definition of "success".


Deaf Characters in Adolescent Literature said...

Those are some generalized statements, Dan. I would certainly argue that Gallaudet University is better than many colleges & community colleges especially when it comes to access to information and communication.
I'm not sure if it is realistic to compare NTID or Gallaudet to Harvard... but then I wouldn't compare UVa (Mr. Jefferson's University) to Harvard either.

Anonymous said...

From a Mom that has been there done that.....

My belief is that 75% of education is socialization. If the school environment does not allow for similar language peers, role models and teachers, there will be some huge delays in how the child develops socially and emotionally. Academics mean nothing without a strong sense of self and a feeling of connection to others. Anyone can read and write, but how they use those skills throughout their lives with the people they encounter is what life is all about.

Does this happen when a child is one of few Deaf in the mainstream?

Can a child before the age of 12 really explain what it is like to be alone in the mainstream when their mainstream environment is their reality?

That is why parents have a huge responsibility in investigating all possibilities.

Frankly, I disagree with Dan. Deaf kids from Deaf schools do very well in all sorts of colleges and universities. If they choose Gally or NTID, they do it because they may choose to have academics presented to them in their first language and not through an interpreter. Nothing different than us hearing people who choose to go to an hearing/speaking university and not a Deaf university.

Dianrez said...

That's a good question, whether there are more opportunities by mainstream education than by Deaf school education.

I've been in both. Generally, each has been good for me, with Deaf school education being far more meaningful to me emotionally, socially, psychologically and educationally.

Mainstream has been good for me in academic discipline, intellectual stimulation and challenge; and in looking impressive on a resume.

Both have their pluses and drawbacks, so my recommendation would be to mix them both in at some point, providing your child can benefit from both.

At what age is key. Small children might benefit from mainstreaming, older kids might benefit also during a time of sharpening skills. In between, it pays to be cautious about the benefits and the disadvantages.

Valerie said...

The universal question, Mainstream or Deaf ed!

I was mainstreamed without accommodations throughout school. It was difficult. Look back there should have been services in elementary. I spent most of the time teaching myself.

Now as a special education teacher in elementary, I can say it depends on the child. If the child can be successful within the regular education mainstream environment then it should be supported. I do feel that all HOH/deaf child should receive the most accommodations and communication tools to be successful. It is very easy for children, all children, to develop skills to hide their weakness in the classroom. Unless there are teachers use to work with deaf/hoh students then the students tend to fall through the cracks of education. For example, I was famous for being able to read the notes from my neighbors and pick up on visual cues, but that does not show academic success.

Now on the other side, I support academic environments that challenge the students. If the student is not receiving a challenge in the classroom setting then that child needs more mainstream classes. Always take in account the self-esteem and socialization as well as academic success. It is equally important.

The perfect answer is not anywhere. Just trust your instincts and know your child.

Shel said...

A good question:

I have been in both environments. I have attended a school for the Deaf, and it has been good for me because I was exposed to a good number of Deaf role models from different walks of life (teacher, janitor, cook, social worker, etc).
I met my first Deaf teacher when I was 5 yrs old. That was one of the best years of my life because I wasn't forced to wear headsets to try to listen to a teacher. There were no communication barriers.
I grew up knowing I could be anything I wanted to be, a lawyer, a teacher, etc.
I participated in various after-school programs such as Brownies, for example, at school. Dorm life was fun, but it had its challenges as well such as homesickness. We had a wide variety of hobbies and crafts.
We had older high school girls come into our Primary/Junior dorm to assist at bath time, and tell stories.

In middle and high school, I had a mixture of Hearing and Deaf teachers. In my last two years of high school, I went mainstream part time with an interpreter, and deaf school part time. I was glad for the experience because I already had a strong foundation emotionally, mentally and socially. However, I did find it a bit lonely being the only deaf student in that public school. I cannot imagine being mainstreamed alone with an interpreter as a young child. I would not be who I am today.

I have met several Deaf people who had been mainstreamed tell me they did not realize that there were Deaf teachers, and Deaf white-collar professionals.

Karen, I think the same theories are debated in the mainstream environment...SEE? Cued? etc. The difference is that Deaf children are seen as "special needs" in public schools and therefore are placed under the umbrella of Special Education, NOT Deaf Education. Special Education takes on a very different perspective than Deaf education.

Many school boards have been notorious for not sending Deaf children to deaf schools since they get paid per special needs child, and would prefer to put the money into THEIR own system. This means parents still have to fight for what is best for their children.


Karen said...

A challenging question indeed, one with no easy answers.

20-30 years ago, the majority of deaf/hh kids were in programs and educational settings that gave them more contact with their deaf/hh peers. Today, the majority of deaf/hh kids are in mainstream settings.

Every child is different. We need to keep the placement options open for every kid. I've seen some kids come from self-contained settings and go into mainstream settings and enjoy them. And vice versa.

Anaylize your child's needs and explore the placement option that will meet those needs. Sometimes that means you have to move.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Mom, I hope you don't mind me answering your question:

"Can a child before the age of 12 really explain what it is like to be alone in the mainstream when their mainstream environment is their reality?"

As a person that was mainstreamed, I can say the answer is no. In fact, at 14 years old, I saw an article in the paper stating that mainstreamed deaf were isolated, etc. I wrote back, and it was published that I was very involved and had a social life. Looking back, I should never have written that. After attending Gallaudet, I realized how "wide" my world can really be.

I also find it interesting how even those who commented seem to look down on schools for the deaf. Many seem to think that mainstreaming = intelligence or a challenge. The belief seems to be that if you can't make it in the mainstream school, then you can go to the school for the deaf, where it's easier for you. This isn't true. Some people try out a school for the deaf, find they couldn't succeed there, and do much better in a mainstream setting.

I would also think (in my uneducated opinion) that mainstreaming is more expensive because an interpreter for each child is more expensive than a teacher for 7 or 8 kids. Can someone explain how mainstreaming is cheaper? Or is it cheaper because schools can get by with not providing the necessary accommodations, while schools for the deaf do not?

Anonymous said...

Look at deaf school's SAT tests for college level entrance, comparing with hearing schools. Too low. Gally is for BUSINESS, they accepted anyone.

Deaf students from any deaf schools and even from Gally, NTID - their English is 4th-6th grade level. (NOT ALL but MAJORITY)

How many deaf CEO in multi-national corps? How many deaf lawyers in US nationwide? How many deaf doctors?

Deaf child with High IQ, go to mainstream, despite being lonely. Academics is number one important.

ASL, Deaf culture is not difficult to learn. Look at ASL students, interpreters. Anyone CAN!

English (WRITE and READ) - more challenge to all Deaf children. Is all BOOK available in ASL??? Is this WORLD ALL-DEAF? Is Bank manager deaf? Is your boss deaf? Use ASL?? in real world. No.

They need to learn ENGLISH! very well. Like Japanese or foreign students have to learn ENGLISH for their career here, or their life. Not ASL. ASL is EASY to learn.

Anonymous said...

I was graduated from Gallaudet University and CSDR. I applied for a job and get a interview with the HR manager. She read my resume. She asked what is Gallaudent University? Where? It made me EMBARASS! FRUSTRATED. I applied to another company, they asked it too. VERY BAD standard!

Now, I am looking for another college again.

Hope it won't happen to your own deaf child. I think better to go to mainstream. I agreed with Dan and Anonymous. ENGLISH is IMPORTANT.

Anonymous said...

I was graduated from Gallaudet University and CSDR. I applied for a job and get a interview with the HR manager. She read my resume. She asked what is Gallaudent University? Where? It made me EMBARASS! FRUSTRATED. I applied to another company, they asked it too. VERY BAD standard!

Now, I am looking for another college again.

Hope it won't happen to your own deaf child. I think better to go to mainstream. I agreed with Dan and Anonymous. ENGLISH is IMPORTANT.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you expose your child with both? i don't see anything wrong with exposing your child with both and let your child decide later in life.Keep a close watch on your child and see how much your child develops ..how much this child can pick up in the mainstreamed environment... how much this child can pick up in the "deaf education" environment....all depends on your child. And go from there.....GOOD LUCK!