Saturday, June 13

When Do We Start TSD?

Okay, so I am sitting my the dorms at TSD (Texas School for the Deaf) and wondering if this school may be a good fit for Rebecca. The choices that you make as a parent of a Deaf child are so HARD! Every decision we have had to make has had positives and negatives to it. This is no different. Austin is a long way from home!! This is a 5 hour drive from our house in our small town. Rebecca is like a different person when she is around other Deaf children and she just blossoms. I know that she would enjoy the school here. There is not a doubt in my mind that this school would not be a good fit for her, but is it a good fit for our family??

Rebecca has been a school which uses SEE for 2 years, TSD uses ASL. We have always exposed her to both, but used SEE primarily since her school uses SEE. I am trying to get my SEE certification. It would also alter the life of our other daughter who will be entering 5th grade. She has never had consistancy in her life before and our home and her school have been her rock. Moving would set her back again! I bring up moving because when Rebecca comes to school here, we will move here! I do not feel comfortable not knowing her friends or just leaving her days without seeing her or knowing who she is with (I know, I am a control freak!).

We are leaning towards waiting another year, then moving the girls when they both start middle school since they would be changing schools anyway. Maybe that would be an easier transistion. I believe that regional dayschools and mainstreamed school are great for exposure to the hearing world and has taught Rebecca a lot, but a Deaf school would give her such self-esteem and she could participate in so many activities. At her school, there are no Deaf teachers, no Deaf adults working there at all! Here, Deafness is all around you. She would have wonderful role models and feel confident that she could grow up and do whatever she wants! The Texas School for the Blind also works closely with TSD and she would receive great care from them as well as her vision declines.

So, my dilema is not whether or not to send Rebecca to TSD, it has become WHEN do I send Rebecca to TSD?? She has already stated that she wants to start here next year. I am not sure that is the best solution for the whole family. I think one more year will not harm Rebecca and we can gather our finances and prepare for the move to Austin next year. Anyone else gone through this??


Dianrez said...

My parents moved from Virginia to New York so that I could attend a school for the deaf there as a commuting day student at age 11.

Looking back, I feel it would have been better if I were younger when they did that, for the reason it would mean a stronger and earlier tie to the Deaf community that my classmates had already grown into. After about age 7, one's language and reading habits are well established, so education is not affected.

I sent my son to the same school, also as a day student, and he moved to the dorm at 16. (At that age it was appropriate because it prepared him for living away from home.)

Moving generally accomplishes more than one thing. For my family it was more job opportunities in my dad's field, a larger home in a new suburb, closer to amenities that we would all need, and a college town atmosphere.

How we identified the city was by recommendation by Gallaudet. They gave us a list of the top five schools that were referring well-prepared students, and this was the first one we looked at.

There will be minuses in every move, and one is loss of stability. In today's times, it can be healthy to develop adaptive resiliency, however. Your other daughter may also gain more than she loses, and may learn that having family helps one adapt as well.

Connor's Mom said...

What a hard decision to make! We just moved for our little guy's schooling, too, so I know where you're coming from. Sounds like you are making the right decision.

I've heard great things about TSD, by the way. Should we ever end up moving back to Texas, we'd strongly consider them as an option for our son.

Hope things go well for you!


Robert Alfred Hawkins said...

Classic dilemma you have there. Given the sisters in their last year of elementary school the whole family should be considered so if I was you I'd stay put one more year and move to Austin. You do need to realize that if you choose Texas School for the Deaf your SEE certification won't matter. Given all the boastful claims about ASL/Bi-Bi on part of certain deaf schools in the United States you must also hold not only yourself but the Texas School for the Deaf accountable. Good luck.

poweron said...

I was once being tried send to TSD. My parents reject the ideal from the council who suggest that I should be at. Neverless, I spend my life in mainstream school. And turn out I'm okay. I don't know what would affect to me if I being send to TSD.

It's more like I would be homesick or not know my parents enough.

Martha said...

Both of my parents attended a deaf school. My Mom attended from 7-9 years old (went home because she refused to eat and was homesick) then from 14-21. My Dad attended from 9-21 years old.

The school was hundred of miles from their families.

Looking at their lives I see so many pluses and minuses.

They received educations! My Dad couldn't even speak at 9 years old. Now he is unbelievably smart. My Mom never passed a class in the 5 years she attended public school. Both graduated from the Deaf School. Both have had successful careers and raised a family.

They gained confidence and friendships while attending the school. Lifelong really.

They learned how to identify with being deaf and how to be confident in a hearing world.

BUT they still feel like visitors with there families. Both are extremely close to their families, yet something is missing. They don't have the same childhood memories as their siblings. There is so much "oh, you must have been away at school".

It is a horrible trade off. I don't know what decision I would make.

The best advice I could give you (but most likely not practicle) Move near the school!

Lisa C. said...

I would suggest you see the counselor who might help you decide you would start TSD or not because when one of the students I know was put into the state school for the deaf in Washington state, she was very confused and upset because she who was adopted after birth felt that she was abandoned again when her adoptive parents left for home.

Dianrez said...

Martha makes a valuable point about being raised away from family, something my parents would never consider, same for myself.

However, being raised in one's hearing family is no guarantee of feeling membership as well as kinship.

I felt the same disconnect with my hearing parents and sister, and this is probably due to their pure oral philosophy as well as inclination to regard the Deaf community as irrelevant.

Since you are keeping your daughter home and planning the move at a natural transition point, you have less to be concerned about...especially when you are also including sign language in the environment.

As for SEE, there will be a time when you all will be moving toward ASL since it is the language of the Deaf Community while SEE is generally used at the lower levels of schooling, if at all. Just relax and go with the flow. It'll happen.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I understand it is a difficult decision. I have a 16 year old who is hard of hearing and has RP. He was mainstreamed in his home school during all his school years. It was okay during elementary school. Once he started high school, he became depressed. He had no social life, no friends. I made the decision to send him to Illinois School for the Deaf two years ago. He is a totally different kid now. He is much happier.

He is getting O & M instruction now during the summer. The interesting thing is, the O & M instructor believes visually impaired kids should be educated in the home community. In my son's case, it is not an option. He needs to be with other hoh/deaf kids like himself. I plan on requesting the school to provide O & M lessons.

My 13 year old son also attends ISD, he loves there and considers them as their 2nd family.

People will tell you their opinion, but the decision is yours to make.