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Deaf School or Mainstream Program

Pros and Cons of Both


Updated April 11, 2009

Public schools have music, orchestra, band, cheerleading dances, school choirs, etc that students with hearing aids and Cochlear Implants can participate in if they're interested.

starbuckkitty commented:
Personally, if my children are dhh I would mainstream them. I would definataly make sure that they had dhh friends, but I would not make them attend a residental school. The standards there are in general lower...

An experienced parent, mandeezmom, wrote:
My daughter is 17 years old. She is very oral and received an implant at 9 years of age. She has spent the majority of her school years in public schools because I believed she would receive a better education... We come from a decent size town, but small in deaf population. She attended large schools, I requested fm systems in each classroom, she had fairly decent interpreters (do to me sitting on the interview panel). The trick was keeping an interpreter because of pay, unavailablity of sub interpreters if interpreter was sick, general ed teachers not wearing the fm device because they felt their voices were loud enough, getting the fm systems repaired, as needed, them sitting my child next to a loud vent, district hiring "warm bodies" as interpreters (if they had one sign language class at a community school given by a teenager, they had the necessary skills, right!) no criteria whatsoever for the hiring of a qualified and skilled interpreter and who determines the skills (someone with no deaf experience). So, we endured years of this kind of treatment in public schools, with me fighting for all of this all the way. You cannot even imagine the amount of advocating that I done for my daughter in the last 17 years. (I could write a book)

I also checked out our state deaf school even when she was a small child. I just never felt comfortable with it, at the time, I felt she would be held back if she went there, boy was I wrong. In hindsight, I wished I would have sent her when she hit middle school. After years of fighting and her bombing in 9th grade we made the move and had her ready for 10th grade at the deaf school. This was the best decision I have ever made and I wished I would have done that sooner. It was also very hard, I live many miles away so she lives there during the week and comes home on the weekend. I don't get to see her everyday like before, this was extremely hard, broke my heart. I am okay with it now, because this is better for her, this is what she needs. Mothers sacrifice.........

...in sending her to the deaf school she gained her identity, confidence and self-worth. The deaf school works on the same curriculum as the public schools. She has one-on-one access to education (deaf teacher to student) that isn't watered down by the skill level of the interpreter giving her the academic information. She has had years of missing chunks of information left out in public schools (NOW things make sense, the pieces of puzzles are coming together). She has gained very close friendships, (no communication barrier) experiences that she could not gain in public schools. She is a cheerleader, participates in sports with hearing teams, she has been a Homecoming Princess for two years in a row, she has friendships with other deaf students all over the United States from this exposure. Since she is very oral, she has gained deaf culture and ASL language, she is bilingual, and this can only help her. Since she has been there, her academics and vocabulary soared, as well as her world knowledge. They are not being held back in that environment whatsoever...

The conversation was joined by motorbike83:
I am deaf and grew up in oral school and didn't like it because of being so far away from my family and my home. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother whom I should have grew up with so I only saw them during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and summer. I went to the deaf school from 9th to 12th grade. I shouldn't have went there because I made very good grades at the oral school and my grades dropped at the deaf school because of sign language. My english also detiorated. There were some things going on in the dorms that parents don't know about and you can't trust supervisors. I think mainstreaming is far the best. I have several very smart deaf friends who graduated from public schools.

RodomJr remembered:
I went to Governor Morehead School for the Deaf in Raleigh from 1963 to 1970, Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson from 1970 to 1973 and North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton from 1973 to 1977 and all of them had about average 4th grade reading level!...

Another experienced parent, FuzzyFamily, described her experience with her daughter who has additional needs besides hearing loss:
My experience with raising a deaf child has been similar in many ways to yours - my daughter is now 14. She is severe/profound by her audiogram, but is not oral.

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