Friday, October 26, 2007

No Mainstreamed Deaf Child Left Behind!

Quicktime video


I am so sick of the same old, same old problem that I have noticed, in general, not about schools for the Deaf but mainstreaming programs. Some of them were successful with mainstreaming program but some of them who were not still get to remain in the program as they supposedly "survived" their way through their academic years. The CSE (Committee on Special Education) including teachers, school district chair, psychologist, etc. reviews the IEP goals and report on students' progress with parents every year. Often, they buy more time to have them stay in the program until this Deaf child actually shows the worst or declining performance ended up to be transferred to a school for the Deaf known as a "dumping ground". When students who grew up in a Deaf school are compared with mainstreamed students who were transferred, who do you think would do better academically? From my years of observation and my experience, I have concluded that Deaf students from Deaf schools demonstrated higher academic background. Also I have noticed that mainstreamed students who were transferred showed a lot of missing gaps in learning and have not exhibited in-depth knowledge about the content as much as Deaf schooled students do.

It is typical for mainstreaming students to be transferred during middle or high school years. Some transfer to Deaf schools not necessarily because of meeting academic needs but to experience better social opportunities where they are able to gain more confidence and leadership skills.

Now, my focus is to look at the question, WHY did it take a while for at-risk Deaf students to be transferred to a Deaf school at a later age? That's my pet peeve. I want to see a person who is skillfully trained and possesses high knowledge and experience in Deaf education, preferably a Deaf professional who evaluates academic, social and emotional progress in ALL mainstreaming programs in the county and makes recommendations to CSE on the Deaf child's educational needs on how to support the child's well being by sending them to Deaf schools that will help meet their needs more effectively. Once they admit in Deaf schools, they get to catch up. In some cases, it is a bit too late, for some, they had to start over again, and for some, came in with no strong language base at the age 5, 6 or even 8. WHY? I am sick of it! I had enough!

That is why we need to take more actions to start signing with Deaf babies, start with language, start with exposing knowledge and content to help them prepare more effectively by the time they enroll in Kindergarten instead of having them coming in that they have to learn the language and finally get to learn the academic content later that caused them delay in learning. This has already becoming too common. Why don't we have quality assurance professional just like hospitals have who observes and evaluates the patient to see if he or she is ready to be discharged or that he or she is ready to live independently? Monitoring patients' healing process will take place. Now for mainstreaming programs, we already have itinerant teachers (let me add not mentioned in the vlog: If itinerant teachers make recommendations for their mainstreamed Deaf students to transfer to Deaf schools, they would lose their jobs!) but we need professionals who are objective to make best recommendations on appropriate placement.

Let me tell you a story shared by my friend that I had to say W-H-A-T? That interpreter expressed her concern about a Deaf student lagging behind in school. She decided to step out of her role and made recommendations to the student's parents that he is better off to go a Deaf school. She told them that by going to a Deaf school, he will gain better vocabulary skills, signing skills, confidence and expression skills. So his parents took her word of advice and placed him in a Deaf school. The results turned out very positive as he is happy and make great improvements in developing visual language skills.

It impressed me about this interpreter TOLD. Wow! I applaud her for that, yes! But is it appropriate role for the interpreter to TELL the parents? No! Is she following the code of ethics? No! But who should do the job? Who? That's why we need to hire quality assurance professional to oversee the records to see if expectations and state standards are being met. If these components are not being met then more help is needed to support reading and writing.

My friend told me that at NTID, he found that it is not necessarily true for mainstreamed students to read and write better than Deaf-schooled students. Even it is reported that Deaf schooled students have better literacy skills. But that's not all! They have leadership skills, better expressive skills, social skills, confidence, etc. For those who grow up alone in the mainstream may not be used to interact deeply by expressing, may not know about Deaf Heritage, ASL, etc. They are behind in this area. This is something we need to look at it.


Karen said...

Here in IL, parents are supposed to be told of all the placement options, including the state school for deaf kids during IEP meetings. However, it doesn't happen as it is supposed to.

ASL Risen said...

Some parents do NOT understand what is going on with MAINSTREAMING problems. I got comment yesterday that they disagreed with me points about "MAINSTREAMING" problems. So I had to HANDS OFF because I know that there are SOME mainstream do have problems but NOT all. Depends on different individual do have some problems. Some parents do NOT understsand about IEP meetings process!

Barb, thanks so much for bringing up this wonderful point..

deafk said...

Quality Assurance Techican or Professional is an excellent for this kind of situation Deaf students often face...


deafk said...

umm, I realized there indeed have Deaf specializist or interveralist in early on program for age 0 to 5 years old in one county. I do not know about ongoing services after age 5 like that. It is much needed. IEP often contains teachers, paraprofessionals, interpreter staff, and parents... How are they to measure one's educational condition? Where is the Deaf student's advocate representative?

Jaymie said...

There are a lot of factors involved that makes a mainstream program successful. I won't get into that discussion right now because it is time consuming. However, I can only say two things based on my experience as a high school teacher at a mainstreamed program. One, I noticed that students come to me (high school level) with a very low literacy skill and it is already very hard for me to have to scaffold what they don't know. They don't have the proper foundation needed for the high school level and it's hard for me to have to exit my students without making that much of a progress. Second, I am sorry to say this, but I strongly emphasize on this importance, that the parents have a lot to do with it. They should have been, since day one, a proactive part of their child's education, but reality is that many of these parents drop them off at schools expecting teachers to do all the of the work. When the students go home, parents are not sitting down with their children helping them with their homework and study skills. It is frustrating for me as a teacher when I don't see families be involved in their child's education. Now, I am talking about MY experiences here and I'm not talking about those at Deaf schools. Those at Deaf schools have 24/7 exposure to language, while mainstream students are here only for 7 hours of the day and the rest of the time is with their families.

I agree with you, Barb on your frustration on why mainstream schools aren't really helping Deaf students raise their literacy abilities. It begins at the early years of school and throughout the rest of their education, but it also requires devoted parents. It's frustrating for me too.

ASL Risen said...

Yes, that's right Jaymie! Mainstream has only 7 hours of the day while the State do have 24/7 exposure to language! Depends on individual parents are full time working hours schedule. Look at some parents who have to work 2nd or 3 shift hours, they do need some sleeps so the kids had to play video games after school with no mainstream after school acitivities. Some parents do have so much pressures from their work can cause them WORN OUT and relax at home. That's difference! I already am aware of some single mothers do have 2 jobs because they do NOT have child support if if their ex-husband or no wed husband do NOT have job or tight with money.

I sometimes got upset that the mainstream education were no good then they dumb them to the State School all over again. Why that happens no proof???

John Egbert said...


Deaf children are the by-product of who their parents are and their decision of how they decide what is best.

And many failed...Why?

And we have people like Paotie and Mike McConnell to tell us that parents have the right decide what to do and we should not educate them but ok for AGBell to educate them.

Parents need education and the AGBell associates feeds them the wrong or biased ideology of what the Deaf babies need which is the visual cognitive language to learn how to learn.


Jean Boutcher said...

In response to Karen:

Some parents are offered options.
My grandmother, for one, was
provided the options. When deafened by Scarlet Fever, my
grandmother took my mother to
the world's BEST hospital by
taking her all the way to
The Johns Hopkins Hospital!
Sure enough, the first option
a JHH doctor so named was
Maryland School for the Deaf!
However, my grandmother was
averse to seeing the flying
hands. She was not the only one
who had the aversion. There are
some parents who view sign
language as the language of
the monkeys.

So I am very grateful to two
born-deaf actors: Bernard Bragg and Marlee Matlin. They showed the
world that deaf people can learn
through sign language! Many hearing people fall in love with
sign language -- kudos to BB and

Anonymous said...

i am sure,you alway do to complain with comleted for deaf people, i defintely understand, but Deaf people as anyone cannot (BEEP) on Deaf peoeple going to Deaf School, JUST IMPORTANT EDUCATION THAN NOTHING! Because Parents have guitly or Not, no what matter, it is important to be choice as their. they're have to accpect next next next what doing to be life growing. PERIOD!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Barb.

Mainstream vs. Institution

I am not sure what to judge between these two words.

However, the parents are the main responsibility for what is the best interest of the child. They need to meet the counselors/principal to make sure their child meets his/her needs.

Sadly, the doctors, speech therapists and audiologists might have never informed the parents about the CHOICES for what is the best interest for the child's future.

White Ghost

Oscar Serna said...

The greater tragedy is that hearies prefer to risk hearies' mistakes instead of risking Deafies' mistakes when listening to proposals or plans and thus setting Deaf education in the vicious cycle.

Teacher's pet said...


I know what you mean, I am a special education paraprofessional in a mainstreamed program that has deaf students. Recently, we have been struggling in dealing with behavior problems with our deaf students, it is time-consuming thing as the lessons have been wasted because some of these deaf kids are acting out and do not have any respect for authority. They shrug their shoulders, tell us to "stop" or whatever. This is the most frustrating part of my job, even the head teacher is at her wits' ends trying to remedy their behavior. The psychologist came in and designed a behavior chart for us to use with these deaf children but I know that the novelty will soon wear off and that I think teachers tend to focus way too much on trying to deal with these deaf childrens' behavior problems. Also they come from homes where their parents do not communicate with them that much. I wonder how the deaf institutions deal with deaf kids who have behavior problems, do they have behavior charts, contracts or what? Or does it mean that maybe it is a possibility that the teacher isn't doing a good job???

DE said...

Good vlog. This problem needs to stop now. Deaf children continue to be deprived of language, education, and happiness. No mainstream program, even the best ones, can ever meet the Deaf child's whole needs. Families need to be healthy, and that happens through Sign Language.

Throw out the current system, and replace it with a Deaf-centered one.


Anonymous said...

Teacher's pet...

I would think they are bored, try challenging them.

Deaf Socrate'sTrail said...

That means you have to address to your state association of the Deaf on that specific and address to the education dept under your state that might be helpful but not easy to do you know all truth and deal that same old problem I can understand your frustation. I can suggest you to write the letter to your district or congress that might get help to your cause! You have to think about since you are very intelligent in that field you have very well knowledge in that area! You might be a right person to address to the state legisters or delegates at Albany NY.

Jeff H said...

My deaf son is a senior this year and has been enrolled in the state Deaf School for 5 years now. I regret taking so long to make the switch from mainstream school, to the all deaf school. I had concerns about him going to the Deaf school (200 miles away)at such a young age,but fortunatly my mother in law talked some sense into me. At first, my son did not want to go, which is understandable, but I encouraged him to at least try it for a semester. After only one qtr. he LOVED it! He is doing much better academically as well as socially. NOW...If I could turn back the hands of time I would do it ALL differently. I would not be so selfish. I would quit my little job I thought was so important, and I would move to the town the school is in so we both could be more involved with school activities. Parents of young deaf students....PLEASE learn from my mistake. Consider what is best for the deaf student!

Jon Savage said...


I got goosebumps by feel like you know me TOO MUCH! That's what I had exact experience. I'm thinking about have workshop in San Diego to inviting Deaf children and parents to learn about Deafhood and DBC. More information for them learn then can strong discussion with best decision in IEP meeting. I wonder if you already had create proposal to have that kind of workshop? I would like to proposal to California Assoc. of the Deaf to help out.

Im serious! you got me goosebumps again!

Anonymous said...

To Teacher's Pet:
These students in the your mainstreamed program most likely have been deprived of naturally occurring fluency and ease of language through ASL. Their frustration levels are high. They are bored, not challenged, and typically isolated from similar peers and role models. Naturally occuring social interaction with other deaf signing peers may be limited. In public schools they are left out of conversations constantly. Teachers walk around the room, students speak out and talk to one another, group conversations occur. They rely on interpreters or lipreading. This is not a normal way to grow up. Many times, the same thing plays out at home too as parents don't really learn to sign well and communication is awkward. Anyone who is socially and emotionally isolated because of language barriers will act out. These students need deaf role models, mentors, and peers who are fluent in ASL and have the ability to explain appropriate and non-approptiate behavior. Behavior charts won't do it. People do need to understand that Deaf Schools are not "special schools". They are everything that public schools are to hearing students and much more. The opportunities that students have a Deaf Schools is incredible and the perception needs to change. Hearing families need to have early intervention with deaf people and learn from them. Mainstremed schools need to hire deaf teachers and staff and network with Deaf Experts. That is the only way things will start to improve in the mainstream.

Teacher's Pet said...

I agree with your comments, I am a Deaf person, I use ASL, fortunately, our school district is hiring more deaf professionals, it is just that the district needs more training and cultural sensitivty on ASL/deaf culture and also to encourage parents to learn ASL as well. Instead of using behavior charts, what would you recommend us to help them deal with their behaviors so that they can sit and learn things? In our classroom, there is one hearing teacher (she has been teaching for many years), one hearing paraprofessional and one deaf paraprofessional (me). I would appreciate any suggestions, feedback or whatever so that I can work on helping reduce their behavior problems and enhance their learning environment.

Paotie said...

John ..

You can see clearly that other people state that the PARENTS are the ultimate determinators of a child's educational development, NOT the school, NOT the educational platform - the PARENTS. Everything else is a component of the child's overall development.

Also, you're omitting the fact that many hearing families have to consider so many other factors and variables with regard to how to educate their deaf child. Not all mainstream schools are poorly performing, and not all do not teach ASL, either.

How could you possibly expect the school district in Deming, New Mexico - which has rarely had a deaf child enter into it's school system - to suddenly develop ALL the required teaching resources for educating a deaf child? It doesn't happen that way.

EVEN if Deaf residential schools were factually proven time and time again to be the "correct" educational platform for deaf children, there is no guarantee that a family will make that same choice. Many families can't afford to move across the state, or out of state, or to another city just so their child can attend a Deaf residential school. And, many Deaf residential schools HAVE produced illiterate Deaf children.

So, why bash mainstreamed schools to no end? Why don't we start HELPING them HELP the children who need help? It won't help the deaf 1st grader who's struggling in a mainstreamed school for you to protest mainstream or oralism. It won't help the child if you huff and puff every time you disagree with me, either.

We need to EDUCATE the parents - not politicize their child.

John, try to keep an open mind.



Anonymous said...

Paotie --

Well, you have the point, however, the doctors, audiologists and speech therapists do not provide *BROAD* information to the hearing parents with the deaf child who would have made the additional and broad choices for what is the best interest of the child and his/her future.

That is the ultimate problem in the nation.

That is why I am not sure if the mainstream vs. institution can be accomplish for the hearing parents to make the self-determination with the deaf child.

Anonymous said...

oops, I made the comment at 9:19 PM

White Ghost

Anonymous said...

If a school district only has one deaf child and does not have the support system to educate that child, then that is NOT the least restrictive environment and not an educational setting that the child should be in. This is why early intervention needs to be improved so that parents are educated enough so that when their child is school age, they are ready to make serious decisions on educational environments. Sometimes parents simply have to make a decision to send their child to a deaf school or move. I would put my money on a deaf school anytime over having my child alone in a public school that offers no support system.

Anonymous said...

To Teacher's Pet....
It is hard to know exactly how to advise you since I do not know the ages of these students, how many are in the classroom, and if they are mainstreamed out, etc. You are "the" important person in that classroom right now. You are deaf, you use ASL, and you know the value of Deaf Culture. You have the power to educate those around you including the school. You can pull in other deaf role models, mentors, and even peers who you feel will benefit these children. Have them come in as speakers and volunteers. You must know other deaf educators with whom you can network and share idea. Get as many people you can involved to educate the school, the classroom teachers, and the parents on the value of ASL and learning English as a second language. Students must be taught by someone fluent in their language even if they are not quite fluent themselves. This will help them catch up. This will get them interested enough to forget about misbehaving. Involve them so that they don't realize they are being taught. Make learning fun while teaching them to be proud and self confident in who they are. This involves outside activities which include deef peers, role models, and cultural experiences. Do this as family planned activities so the families learn at the same time. Expose them to this as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

From what they, each State Department of Education need to know. Parents need to stop thinking about themselves first, they should focus on their Deaf child’s educational needs as well as emotional needs. Each school districts MUST have Deaf advocate or Deaf Specialist to advocate and give advice. I strongly believe that most or all Deaf children should go to Deaf State School in case if there are some Working Parents or Working Single Fathers or Single Mothers need to respect their own Deaf child to get their literacy devolopment that need to be improve???? Will that be helpful.

Why can't the State Dept. of Education invite the successful from the State School Alumnians to become representatives:
1. to give workshops in some mainstream public schools
2.or give the newsletters to be mailed out,
3. or give out the videos from State Schcools provided with captioning or subtitles to be put in the mainstream child's back bag?

will that be more helpful for the Mainstreamed Deaf Child Left Behind???

Barb DiGi said...

Karen: That is the nationwide dilemma that the parents are not informed completely about the placement options. How can we better ensure that this is happening?

ASLRisen: True, most parents are clueless about mainstreaming issues that affect their child and no one from the school really tells them the truth.

deafk: Yes, it is time to look into this situation about having a quality assurance professional to intervene and evaluate every mainstreamed child's performance. We do have an Early Intervention Professional from birth to 5 years old but often they are not trained or knowledgeable about Deaf Ed. Again, beyond age 5, who should be responsible to evaluate and keep track other than ineffective CSE professionals who don't really see the whole picture?

Jaymie: I totally agree with you that parents play a significant role in helping their child succeed but there may be several reasons for them not to be involved. I feel that it takes both effort to make it "halfway" in order to make the child successful. Again, parents are not experts and not trained in Deaf education. They need to be offered a better guide by attending workshops offered by the school.

John: One of the problems here in Deaf America is that parents are not receiving balanced information to make the right choices.

Jean: How interesting for the doctor to recommend MSD. Not often for me to hear about doctors making such recommendations! Celebrities play an important role in influencing the public about the highlights of ASL, yes!

Anon 4:54: I am raising awareness, not necessarily complaining, about what the problems have been from my eyes. Parents are not always completely informed about the choices.

White Ghost: Right on!

Oscar: Unfortunately!

Teacher's Pet: My heart goes out to you. I know you are in a tough position trying to make a difference. The commentators below made some good suggestions so no need for me to repeat it.

DE: Yes, the problem needs to STOP NOW! But HOW is the question. We do have ideas but it have it executed is a challenge.

Anon 12:45: Or it can be other way round...they are overly challenged not understanding the subject well. It can be both ways but we have no way knowing it since we don't work with these students.

Deaf Socrate's Trail: That is the idea. To raise awareness and getting the message across to lawmakers is important. We can start locally to make a difference.

Jeff H: Thank you for sharing your experience. It is invaluable for you to make this testimony where other parents are able to learn from your experience.

Jon: Aww, you are not the only one! Organizations like DBC and NAD can be more involved to investigate the procedure of placement.

Anon 3:53: I couldn't said it better!

Teacher's Pet: Using behavior charts may work for some but it wears out the novelty eventually. Hiring more Deaf professionals and training and cultural sensitivity may enhance the program. I feel it has a lot to do with teacher's strategies to make the students highly involved and empowered. Prevention before intervention is the key.

Paotie: It is not just the parents but a village that it takes to raise a child. I have seen good mainstreaming programs and bad residential programs across the nation. I was a mainstreaming product and my Deaf parents were involved whenever I needed support. It is what it made me successful, no doubt about that.

I want to emphasize that it is important not to view these schools, mainstreaming or residential, alike. I am just talking from my 15 years of experience as a professional where I feel that the school for the Deaf in my area meets the standard and that SOME Deaf children who are mainstreamed may be better off to go there. I have seen tremendous progress in academic and social growth when they enrolled in the school for the Deaf from mainstreaming program.

As the saying goes," There is no one size that fits for all."
Also, "if it is not broken, then don't fix it at all!"

White Ghost: How true!

Anon 9:38: The improvement in Early Intervention is the key to give parents better information that is holistic.

Anon 9:52: Nice job with your words of advice!

Anon 9:31: I couldn't disagree with you more! Splendid ideas!

ASL Risen said...

Good morning, Barb!

I tried to volunteer for one Deaf ASL mainstream public high school student but won't work because my home is too far away and plus Im a full time working mom. Impossible to volunteer.

Hearing mom do not understand her Deaf ASL mainstream daughter's feelings. Go view on my copy and paste video link:

Thanks for your time to collect my information.

Davy said...

psssss! watch out for Lauren Ridloff (channel i vlogs)
Subject: Educational Interpreters. part of mainstream:

Something bother me that her Vlog near the end her message about What she said: (Mainstreamed deaf children have been thrown in deep water without being taught to swim. Some learn how to swim by trial and error. some just float through the educational system).

There that She is something between you! Barb what do you think of this???

Also how the Parents feel about this????


Cindy Beth Ross said...

I agree with Barb about the mainstreaming/institution situation. I noticed the same thing that she mentioned about many different students coming in to NTID with backgrounds of mainstreaming and deaf institution. Those who go to mainstreaming does not always succeed academically while those who go to institution does. I think both mainstreaming and institution is important for both deaf and hard of hearing students. It does not matter what hearing loss they have but it is also the language that they need to develop so that they would able to succeed as students.

Jessica L. said...

Hi Barb,

Your vblog about "No Deaf Mainstreamed Child Left Behind" was very educational. It gave me some questions in my head to ask myself, ha :)

It remains me about Gally someway because some (or I can say most) students had to take math or English classes (non-credit) over and over again. And now, they gave up and left Gally because they don't want to TRY or LEARN anything from it. What a waste money and education. Sad.

Speaking of No Child Left Behind, all subjects are included, but NOT PHYSICAL EDUCATION. Look at kids and adults at today's world, they become obese and technology has impacted on their physical activity and fitness. How sad.

I'm going to take another look at your vblogs :)

Hope to hear from you soon!

Take care,
Jessica L. Schultz

Alex said...

I agree 100%. In my state, the only Deaf school is residential and in a very small rural town. Many parents are unable to find jobs within a reasonable distance and unwilling to send their small child away for the entire week. For these reasons they will keep them mainstreamed too long. Then the Deaf school is blamed for the end result with students it only had for the last 2-3 years. As a hearing parent of a Deaf child I learned early that the best I could do is ask the Deaf for advice. I don't understand and never, ever will. I can only love and parent the best way possible. That requires doing what is best for my son, not what is easiest or best emotionally for me.

Darrell said...

We need to establish our guidelines for Quality Standards: Programs for Deaf and HoH students. Our Department of Education does not carry one... It would be helpful to have the parents to get awareness about the practical application of a child's educational needs. First of all, I believe strongly from my heart that we must set our utmost dynamism of the drive with the right direction for our future education: It is the starting point on Pre school funding programs. We can prove it