As a student who wants to become an interpreter for the deaf, we learn a lot about the culture. Like every culture there are many unwritten rules that the people of that culture subconsciously practice. Our teachers include those rules in our lectures. A big part of the deaf culture seems to be this revolt against the hearing world. As hearing people our ancestors suppressed them like they did for many other groups in history. We also learn about deaf education. Ninety percent of deaf children have hearing parents. Which means there are so many deaf children whose parents do not know what options are available for their children who have special needs. Students are taught that deaf schools are the best option for deaf children. The goal is to test that statement. Which schooling option is best for deaf children: mainstreaming/ inclusion or a special school for the deaf and hard of hearing?
There are some factors that restrict which options are available for deaf children. A big on is location. Sometimes day school is not in the area. Or residential school is too expensive for the parents to send their child. Another is the degree of deafness. This is not usually talked about within the Deaf community. Deafness is more of an identity. But being able to get help from hearing aids can make a difference in the right decision. And lastly there is personal preference. Some students prefer to speak while others use sign language to communicate. Someone who relies on sign language may benefit from a day school where all classes are taught in their language. Other student who use English and speak would not benefit from a classroom that uses sign language. That student may want to go to a public school with accommodations.
Mainstreaming and inclusion are very similar. The student goes to school, usually public school, with special adaptations in the classroom. Usually they have an interpreter with them (if they use sign language) or other accommodations agreed upon during an IEP meeting. IEP stands for individual education plan. This allows students to have their needs within the classroom met. And IEPs are not just for deaf students. The difference between mainstreaming and inclusion is one thing. Mainstreaming includes time outside of the regular schedule for individual help. They are normally in a small classroom with others who need it too. The benefits of inclusion and mainstreaming are deaf students learn to adjust to their surroundings. In adult life sure there are some accommodations. For example in an interview. If the candidate is deaf, the ADA says an interpreter must be provided for them. But when out grocery shopping there are no accommodations. They must find their own way to ask for help finding something or whatever the case. Students who attend public school seem to have higher reading levels. And learn to live without constant accommodations. Many deaf students who attend a hearing school feel left out. The biggest disadvantage stated through many of sites and lectures. Elementary through high school, students want to fit in. They feel the need to find a common ground between them and others. For a deaf student, they stick out like a sore thumb. It's not something that is easy to hide between the interpreter standing in every lecture to the hearing aids on their ears.
At a day school and residential schools for the deaf, all of the teachers ideally have a degree in deaf or hard of hearing education. The teachers communicate via sign language and it is taught within the school. Only deaf and hard of hearing students may attend. Both may come with a tuition fee. Residential school is like a boarding school; the students live there. A day school is much like it sounds; the students are only there for the day. There are many psychological benefits to this type of education. Students develop a stronger sense of identity because they able to directly communicate with their peers and teachers. Being able to just talk to someone is something hearing people don't usually have a problem with. But imagine trying to have a conversation with something and always having to wait for them to reply. It can be frustrating. "The students will also be surrounded by others like them, which could help with their social skills, self-esteem, and developing a healthier sense of self. ", e) explains. Day and residential schools also have smaller class sizes. This means more individual attention in the classroom which many students appreciate, hearing or not. Not every student would benefit from this type of education. Deaf children who have parents that are willing to learn and accept sign language and the primary communication with their child would benefit. This allows excellent communication with their child. However, day and residential schools are they are the perfect deaf environments. They do not expose deaf students a diverse amount of people, not just hearing people.
Overall, the best decision depends on the student at hand. There are options available but knowing which one is right depends on research. Hopefully this will inform that not one is the best for everyone, but half the battle is knowing what is or is not possible. Sure having confidence and identity is important, but so is acquiring the knowledge presented within the classroom. Which schooling option is best for deaf children: mainstreaming/ inclusion or a special school for the deaf and hard of hearing? An educated parent can only answer this with their deaf child.