EDUDEAF: Assisting Deaf Children in School

Key Words: Instructional Strategies, Language, pre-k, K-3

Document 1 of 5

Document: 1 2 3 4 5

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 06:46:00 -0700
Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Subject: Top Ten
To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Diane Frank writes:

-----------------------------------------------------------

As a parent of a h/h child this post got me thinking. I think of Diane, with almost 3 decades of teaching, observing, and otherwise serving deaf children. Wow! So many of you have tons of experiences and knowledge about what works and what does not work when educating and even raising deaf and h/h children. Would it be out of line for me to ask your opinions on what parents can do to help their children be ready for school and what we can do to help them once they are in school?

George Johnson

Document 2 of 5

Document: 1 2 3 4 5

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 09:18:49 -0600
Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Subject: Re: Top Ten
To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

I think you do exactly what you would do if your child was "normal." A caring, involved parent is observant, has a sense of when things are going right or wrong with his/her child, is familiar with the school/classroom/staff, and is willing to advocate for the child. Sometimes things go wrong. The child has no control. Therefore the parent has to intervene on the child's behalf. Sometimes things go very right. The parent needs to make sure that those responsible for the rightness (child, teacher, support staff, etc.) know that the parent appreciates what they are doing.

When a child is deaf/hoh, the difficulties the child encounters are going to be different, and probably more numerous, than those of a hearing child. But the strategies and motivations of the parents will be the same.

Candy Krepel, an 18-yr parent

Document 3 of 5

Document: 1 2 3 4 5

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 15:09:23 EST
Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Subject: Re: Top Ten
To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Hey George,

I'll offer a few suggestions that we have discussed here in the past. We have so many new folks who have subscribed in the past two months. It will be good to go through them again.

The following thoughts and suggestions are based on my ten years of experience in the field.

The most important way a parent can help prepare their child for school is to INTERACT with them and immerse them in language. It is so important that a parent build the child's "experience bank" and fill it up with language rich experiences. More important than just showing a child LOTS of things is talk- ing with the child about those things.

Involving kids in everyday routines and using appropriate language while doing so is critical - everything from making a peanut butter sandwich to putting away toys and brushing one's teeth. All of these seem so COMMON and yet so many children who are deaf MISS THE LANGUAGE that is involved in these activities. Something as simple as "putting away the groceries". Often when shown a picture of grocery bags on a counter and a mom with food in her hands a deaf child will say something to the affect "mom put food in ____" This is certainly TRUE. But, all of us would look at that same picture and say "The mom is putting away the groceries."

Use REAL LANGUAGE with the kids incorporating VOCABULARY common to other children that age. Don't point, make up "funny/easy" names for difficult to pronounce objects, rename objects etc.

Another important readiness step is to share books with your child. Do things which incorporate print as well. Have them write ABC's, their name, sibling's names etc. All of the fine motor things like cutting, pasting, finger painting are all essential. When they make pictures encourage them to "write" a message on it or sign it etc.

Another CRITICAL readiness need is structure or discipline. Too many children who are deaf are spoiled at home because parents do not know how or are not willing to establish guidelines and enforce rules. These children come to school and have difficulty learning that there are limits and they must function WITHIN them - not establish their own. Often parents are dealing with so many important factors that it is less emotionally draining to give in to a child than to require them to obey. This is NOT benefitting the child in ANY way.

For me those are the biggies - LANGUAGE, readiness to deal with paper activities (not necessarily ONLY writing), readiness to deal with books and acceptance of structure.

Cathy - teacher who is home on the puny side today

Document 4 of 5

Document: 1 2 3 4 5

X-Sender: i727663@mail.mtsi.com
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 17:40:32 -0600
Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Subject: Re: Top Ten
To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

It helped in our family (since we had never met a deaf person before we HAD one) that our deaf son was only 13 months younger than his hearing brother. He is competitive and insisted on being allowed to do the same things his hearing brother was allowed to do. This forced us to not be overprotective of him from a very young age. Obviously, this is not a situation you can manufacture but my point is that you make a real effort to allow and expect your deaf child to do as much as possible what hearing kids their age are expected to be allowed to do. I have observed so many hearing parents of deaf children (and some hearing teachers) overprotect deaf children. It is better for them to experience failure while you are still there to help them pick up the pieces and grow from the experience.

DeLores Wilson, who is now experiencing her 38th year of being a parent to deaf children........and is still learning how to do it right!

Document 5 of 5

Document: 1 2 3 4 5

X-Sender: dehahn@tiac.net
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 20:23:10 -0500
Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education
Subject: Re: Top Ten
To: Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF

Immerse the child in language in any mode. Too often we get hung up on the modality (oral, sign, ASL/SEE/PSE, CS, etc). and the 'train go(es) sorry'. The children are the losers in this battle. Very young children can benefit from any kind of language, even non-language like gesture. Kids are capable of switching modality, so don't buy into the myth that kids who start signing will never speak. It's just not true.

Here are a few points that Cathy didn't mention that I feel are important.

If transitioning from an Early Intervention program, take the time to make the handoff as smooth as possible. Most professionals want to do the best job that they can. The more information that they have about your child, the less time they will spend assessing them and the more time they will spend teaching. This goes beyond the IEP process. That's a given for most. Keep the lines of communication open. If the class has a formal method of school-home communication (journal, notebook, etc) then use it. I wouldn't confine my only means of communication to that vehicle, but by all means use what the teacher has put in place and is most comfortable with. If you need more time outside of this medium then don't hesitate to call the teacher directly.

Spend some time observing your child in the classroom. For me, as a parent of two deaf children, this is by far the most rewarding time that I spend on this planet. You will learn so much about your child in such a short amount of time that it will truly amaze you. At least it still amazes me. Give your feedback to the teacher(s) after your visit. And it never hurts to let the administration know how well you think the teacher(s) are doing.

Finally, don't be afraid to change. If things aren't going like you hoped in your preferred school setting, be open minded. Give the school a fighting chance, and be prepared to move on. IMO the time that you feel may have been lost wasn't a total loss. A young mind is one of the most malleable items on earth.

FWIW,
Chris
<< Chris deHahn.....CdH.....System, Network, CAE Administrator >>
<< Sun Microsystems, Inc....dehahn@tiac.net...'91 Buell RS1200 >>

Uploaded by: Jessica Soltesz/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major