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Deaf and HoH in Same Class--DO WHAT?

Key words: Information, Deafness Related Issues, Deaf Education

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  • Subject: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Jolinda Simes JMSIMES@STTHOMAS.EDU
  • Date: Tue, 4 Apr 1995 19:59:41 -0600
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • To educators and anyone else with an opinion or solution ---- ---- I'm curious if you have any suggestions for the following----

    A few days ago on Deaf-L there was a discussion between two people concerning how angry and sickened they feel when anyone relates a deaf person's speaking ability with intelligence. I replied as follows:

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

    I have to second that! As a teacher, I'm often the recipient of many of the stupid, offensive comments hearing people make about deaf people whenever I go on field trips with my students. Everytime this happens I am sickened and angered on the inside, but I try to keep a cool head on the outside and politely educate them about deaf people and speech. Whenever I go on a field trip with deaf kids I know it is not only a learning experience for the kids, but also a learning experience for the general public as some of them see deaf people for the first time communicating freely among themselves

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

    Another comment was made about how hearing teachers sometimes seem to favor oral people and possible knowingly or unknowingly switch to less signing and increased use of voice to the detriment of the deaf students who are then forced to depend on lipreading. My response was:

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

    This is a constant struggle for most hearing. teachers I know. I think it happens more unknowingly than purposefully. The more HoH or deaf people with good oral skills are present, the more hearing teachers unwittingly switch back to their first language. This is one reason I think these kids need to be in separate classrooms for learning or at least have an interpreter present in the room along with the teacher. It's very hard to teach kids who prefer speech or English and kids who prefer ASL together without an interpreter. One or the other's language is always bound to take second place sometime during the day.

    About a week ago three of my students were talking about this very issue. They are hard of hearing and stated they would rather be in a class with just hard of hearing kids because they get tired of signing everything for their deaf classmates. They like the visual support sign gives them, but say they don't need it all the time like deaf kids do. They say it slows down their thinking. They decided the ideal class for them would be one where everyone knew sign but only used it now and then when communication through speech broke down.

    These kids were moved into my class as fifth graders after not being able to keep up in the mainstream with itinerant teacher support, so placing them back in the mainstream is really not a solution. Due to budget cuts, a move towards inclusion and the political support for ASL, my school no longer has separate classes for these kinds of kids--the "in-betweeners". They've been signing for two years or less so I'm sure that's why signing sometimes slows down their thinking. Sometimes they turn off their voices when they sign, sometimes they don't, but it never fails at some point in the day that a deaf kid will complain about them not signing everything or engaging me in a voice only 1 to 1 conversation during break time, or other unstructured times during the day.

    One of these kids who can mimic "deaf" voice and noise to the point you would think he was totally deaf with no potential for speech, told me he knows a lot more things (general information type stuff) than the deaf kids do so he pretends he's dumb with the hope they will be his friends. (He is sort of an outcast at times). This really concerns me because:

    1) he is not being true to himself when he tries to pass for deaf by imitating deaf voices and pretending he doesn't know things he really knows, and

    2) he's developing an assumption that deaf people are not as smart as HoH or hearing.

    This is not good, and I make every effort to confront him on this behavior and assumption everyday because his deaf peers are by no means less intelligent than his non-deaf peers--they just have a different set of knowledge at this point.

    I'm now debating if I should teach half the day in English only (sign and speech) and half in voice off ASL....... I don't know....... being a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing kids in the same class requires so many splits I sometimes feel like I need multiple personalities to survive!

    On the other hand, these HoH kids also complain that the deaf kids "use" them to interpret what hearing people are saying and they get tired of playing that role too. They think the deaf kids just see them as an "ear" to get the goods on hearing people.

    Life in the middle is tough, but pretending it isn't there doesn't make it any better.

    Any suggestions how I might manage this dilemma?

    Jolinda
    jmsimes@stthomas.edu

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Cathy Brandt CBRAN00@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 17:13:45 EDT
  • In-Reply-To: Message of Tue, 4 Apr 1995 19:59:41 -0600 from <JMSIMES@STTHOMAS.EDU>
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Exactly! And I'm afraid that it is these kids in the middle who are going to get SCRUNCHED if we as a profession don't take seriously their unique needs. We can't advocate for them to use less than what they have (residual hearing and speech) if that is of benefit to them. And we can't expect them to do more than they can (be completely mainstreamed) if that isn't reasonable.

    Tough tough issues. But, I think we need to address them.

    Cathy - glad you shared, Jolinda

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Michael Pelc MPelc@AOL.COM
  • Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 20:11:06 -0400
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Jolinda Simes raises some very interesting points in her recent post about deaf and hard-of-hearing students in the same classroom. My impression has been that for years teachers of the deaf were by and large unaware of these types of communication problems happening in their classes ... hard-of-hearing kids just often happened to do better because they had more access to the communication form(s) used by a hearing teacher. Certainly true in oral environments, but also true in simcom environments where English and sign are used simultaneously ... even if the signed component were a complete and accurate representation of the same concepts the teacher was expressing using speech, hard-of-hearing kids would have the advantage of hearing the spoken language and seeing the signs ... profoundly deaf children would only have access to communication through signs.

    Unfortunately, I don't have an easy solution ... but I can tell you a bit about a school I worked at that used only signs (no voice). Theoretically, all communication then had the potential to be equally accessible to all students and all staff (many of the staff were deaf). Yes, it's true that a new student transferring into this program would be at a temporary disadvantage, particularly if he/she were hard-of-hearing and used to receiving oral information. However, for the most part those kinds of students very quickly blended in and developed increased competence in signed communication. They still frequently used oral communication with some adults and some of their hard-of-hearing peers in one-to-one interactions, but they were also very consistent in their use of signed only communication in class and other public areas around the school when deaf individuals (either students or staff) were present. My impressions on observing this over a period of several years (which included a shift from a more traditional "TC" approach in which most students and staff communicated via simcom) was that communication and the transfer of knowledge (aka learning) became a much smoother process for all concerned. Communication became more of a "vehicle" than an "obstacle" to be overcome. While this type of approach may not be applicable or appropriate for every deaf program in the country, it does have merit and it did successfully work at that school.

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  • Subject: Re: In the middle
  • From: Lezlie Steffen LADYLLS@AOL.COM
  • Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 16:53:02 -0400
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Wow what a difficult situation, but I am sure not uncommon. My personal opinion is that by making decisions for the class needs to be made by the class .... Can the HOH kids understand ASL can the Deaf kids understand speechreading and Signed English? What would the class prefer.... will they be willing to raise their hand and tell you if they don't understand a classmate or you, as the teacher. I think by continuing to engage them in conversations about communication and the importance of communication accessibility these kids can come to an agreement about what should happen.... from your comments it seems that these kids are already involved in these kinds of discussions.... ask them to find an answer. Even have them write persuasive papers or maybe stage a debate.... I hope this helps.... Keep us informed.

    Lezlie

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DOWHAT?
  • From: Churchfields High School Hearing-impaired xuegxal@CSV.WARWICK.AC.UK
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 03:09:17 +0100
  • In-Reply-To: <no.id> from "Cathy Brandt" at Apr 5, 95 05:13:45 pm
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Hi Jolinda,

    I teach in a unit, attached to a mainstream school with 10 deaf youngsters aged 12 - 18. They range from slight loss to one with virtually no useful hearing.

    The older ones were brought up in the 'oral' tradition. None have deaf adult role models.

    About 4 years ago we decided to adopt Total Communication methods, with Signed English as the base. (I now think BSL would be better.)

    The younger children have come to us from our Primary unit with more signing skills each year since then.

    Of the four TODs and mainstream staff, I am the only one with any signing experience, and I'm at level 2 of our exam courses.

    When communicating with the group I use sign, voice, facial expression, gesture and if necessary writing.

    I have found that each child uses whatever it needs to understand me. Most of them try to reply orally, but with me some will also use sign.

    We have no interpreters, so in mainschool they have to try to be oral, with the support of myself and the other three TODs. I have some reservations about this, as some of the profoundly deaf struggle in that situation.

    I have also observed that they communicate between each other extremely well using a form of Total Communication that they themselves have developed over the years, in much the same way that hearing youngsters have their own methods and 'language' which we 'wrinklies' often have difficulty in following.

    Give them every clue possible by using TC. Each youngster will take and give what it needs. Encourage the H o H to do the same, even if their sign isn't 100% accurate.

    One of the most common complaints I have heard from deaf adults is that we hearing teachers dictate too much what we believe the Deaf should be and do. Let them make their own decisions after all they are all individuals, what works for one does not necessarily work for all.

    Hope this helps. At least you know that you are not alone.

    Best wishes,

    Colin Hughes

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Kathy Pongor KNPONGOR@GALLUA.GALLAUDET.EDU
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 05:49:12 -0500
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Hi Jolina,

    How about throwing another spanner into the works when we are talking about hard of hearing and deaf kids in the same class---hard of hearing kids who have auditory processing problems!

    I have a student who is identified with a mild/moderate loss-good hearing in the speech range, but would have immense problems in comprehension. We finally determine that she has auditory processing problems and using two languages (English/ASL) at the same time just threw her for a loop!

    I now use straight (or pretty straight) ASL as her primary language of instruction (without voice) and individual work is done with voice, no sign. She now uses ASL for group interactions expressively but voice only for her one-on-one interaction with me (I'm hearing). This has improved her comprehension significantly!

    I know that many HOH kids can code switch between ASL/speech/English without too many problems, but wonder if this can become a significant problem for others....like the students you describe?

    Kathy Pongor
    Kendall Demonstration Elementary School
    Gallaudet University

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  • Subject: Re: In the middle
  • From: "NANCY TOP." ATOPOLOSKY@GALLUA.GALLAUDET.EDU
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 10:28:53 -0500
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Jolinda,

    I think Lezlie's suggestion about encouraging communication between your deaf and hard-of-hearing students is a good one...and when I refer to "communication," I mean opening up a discussion that might encourage each class member to acknowledge and express their feelings about the communication mode to be used in the classroom.

    Today, the "buzz" word seems to be "diversity." In order to develop a sensitivity to other cultures, beliefs, etc, it is important to try to understand another's perspective. Feelings need to be expressed, shared, and acknowledged before you can move ahead with content.

    Sounds like this should be an ongoing process... it also may be advisable to recruit another professional with the experience to handle such a discussion; i.e., a counselor, psychologist, or social worker.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    Nancy Topolosky
    Parent-Infant Coordinator/Teacher
    Kendall Demonstration Elementary School
    Washington, DC

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Ganbari ganbari@U.WASHINGTON.EDU
  • Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 12:10:51 -0700
  • In-Reply-To: <9504050100.AA09450@mx5.u.washington.edu>
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Jolinda,

    I just read your concern and have not yet seen the responses, so forgive me if I am repeating anything others have said. I teach adult learners American Sign Language at a community college, but I grew up hard of hearing (pre-program days) and have worked in public schools with HoH and Deaf students. There is no easy solution to the dilemma you so well describe. There are benefits for HoH students in Signing environments -- and there are those very legitimate concerns you describe. I think any reasonable response has to be a plan that involves several variations, but you are on mark to recognize your own inclinations to respond foremost to students who naturally communicate like you do, that is, with oral/aural modes of communication. I think part of appropriate staffing for educating deaf children must include deaf adults, either as part of the instructional staff (i.e. deaf teachers) or para-professionals (well-trained assistants). Without that, the problem is a serious one. It is a lot to expect hearing people to be constantly on top of things all the time and to always be engaged in a multiplicity of simultaneous modes of communication that excludes no one.

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

    Sakuna Gray Ganbari
    American Sign Language Instructor
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    Disability Services Consultation
    ganbari@u.washington.edu
    Student of History, Politics,
    Society, Politics, et al
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Document 9 of 11

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Jolinda Simes jmsimes@STTHOMAS.EDU
  • Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 00:08:51 -0600
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Thanks to all the people who responded to my dilemma of having deaf and HoH in the same classroom. I don't know that there is an answer that is feasible in these days of tight budgets. Kathy Pongor added another "spanner into the works" when she brought up the issue of HoH kids that have auditory processing problems. I would like to add to that deaf kids who have visual processing problems. What do we do with them? What do we do with the multihandicapped deaf and HoH including autistic, mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, behavior disordered, medically fragile, physically handicapped, etc.? We have all these kids at my school and they are placed in the D/HH classroom with little if any support from special education to help the teacher work with them. Is this unique in deaf ed.? Is my program one of the few that struggles with how to cope with multiple needs, or are there others out there who are also struggling with this? I would love to hear from you if you are or if you have any suggestions about how to cope with this.

    I've been doing a lot of historical research about deaf education lately and teachers were struggling with the same issues I am struggling with today. The major complaint from the "public" and the deaf community then was that children were not achieving well--the same complaint we have today. The historical data shows that no one really paid attention to what the teachers were saying then, and no one seems to be paying much attention to us now. One person in one classroom filled with the variety of students we are given cannot do it all. It is impossible without help or smaller class size. Is it any wonder the achievement level of the average deaf person is only at the 4th grade level? Actually, given the circumstances many of these people were educated under, they are probably lucky they got that far!

    I am very concerned about what inclusion is doing to deaf education programs. Not just for the kids who get placed in the mainstream inappropriately, but also for the multihandicapped deaf and hard of hearing who are placed in the deaf classrooms without appropriate support. This does not meet their needs, and it also affects the ability of the "normal" deaf and hard of hearing kids to succeed academically because of the amount of time a teacher has to spend dealing with multiple disabilities. (Can you tell I'm a little frustrated? For the past 7 years I would say I have had at least one student each year who had severe behavior and mental health problems that interfered not only with that student's ability to learn, but also the rest his/her peers' ability due to the amount of intervention that was required on my part to deal with the problems. When parents refuse to get the help they should for their child, what's a teacher to do?)

    Sorry if this note sounds like complaining. Guess I'm just getting tired of all the roles that a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing kids is expected to fill year after year and being blamed for the lack of achievement of deaf and hard of hearing kids when we try to do the best we can with what we are given--anyway I do.

    Jolinda
    jmsimes@stthomas.edu

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  • Subject: Reply to Jolinda
  • From: "LUCKER, JAY" LUCKERJ@SJUMUSIC.BITNET
  • Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 02:00:23 EST
  • In-Reply-To: In reply to your message of SUN 09 APR 1995 13:08:51 EST
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Dear Jolinda (and the EDUDEAF on-liner's),

    This is a posting in response to your beautifully written "complaint" regarding the "dumping" of children who have hearing problems (deaf and HoH) as well as other handicapping conditions.

    It is truly unfortunate that the CSEs (Committees on Special Education or whatever decision group you have which places children in special ed. classrooms) look at handicaps/disabilities/disorders and not at children! So many children with hearing problems (deaf and HoH) are merely labeled as "Deaf" or "Hard of Hearing" and are treated as having only hearing problems by these "decision makers". If only people would see them as children with special needs, assess all of the needs these children have, determine the greatest needs, provide services and placements for these children based on their needs, and provide all appropriate support for every need these children have.

    Truly, many children who are deaf and HoH can fit into the same class. Others, need separate classes. If only the decision makers would think of each child as their own child, what a difference we'd have in our educational system.

    My belief is than the program is less important that the person who is running the program (i.e., the teacher). If you believe yourself to be the best teacher you can be, you will do the best for all of your children. Just have faith in yourself, Jolinda !

    Dr. J ! @ St. John's University
    < luckerj@SJUMUSIC.STJOHNS.EDU >

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  • Subject: Re: Deaf and HoH in same class--DO WHAT?
  • From: Claire Wells clwells@TENET.EDU
  • Date: Mon, 10 Apr 1995 18:16:32 -0500
  • In-Reply-To: <199504100508.AAA14600@Paula-Formby.tenet.edu>
  • Reply-To: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Sender: A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education EDUDEAF@UKCC.UKY.EDU
  • Dear Jolinda,

    We have deaf and hoh kids in the same classroom part of the time, and I don't feel it is harmful to either group.

    However, we do *not* have multi-handicapped deaf in the same classroom with the above group. The main reason is that our classrooms are curriculum-based. The curriculum in our classrooms is very demanding and the other children just couldn't do it. Our kids IQ's range from 140 to 28.

    Hmmmm. The curriculum-based placement approach is probably one reason our kids are doing so well. Sure, we still have a wide variety of learners in that class, but they can all benefit from that curriculum.

    For deaf kids who are multi-handicapped, we have tried placing an interpreter in the "lifeskills" setting with the child for most of the day. The last time we tried this, it did not work. This child just became more emotionally disturbed. So, we placed him at the residential school, where he was able to join a work program with 5 other kids just like him. Voila! He is a very well adjusted young man now.

    I think this is unique to deaf ed. A school psychologist told me she was trained that if deafness were one of the eligible h.c. conditions, to always consider it the primary one, and place the child accordingly. The old special ed. director supported that philosophy also, because of the way the funding was structured. One of them died, one moved, and we have new people.

    My new special ed. director is blind :-) He would never advocate for all blind kids to be in one room. Things are much easier now. :-) I'm soooo thankful!

    I get to go to the school board meeting tonight and highlight our evaluation report :-) Our kids are doing great and he gets to show off about them. The man knows what he's doing :-)

    You're right. Situations like you describe are not good.

    Claire Wells
    Temple, Texas

    Uploaded by: Melissa Close/ Kent State University/ Deaf Education Major