Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Opinion on Mainstreaming

I worked in Special Ed for many years with Deaf kids.  I have almost no use whatsoever for mainstreaming at the elementary level.  Ok, I'll give ya art and PE but other than those 2 classes, I say keep the kids in the Deaf Ed room with a Deaf Ed teacher that can help them with the basics before they are thrown  to the wolves later on.
There - I said it.
I'm only giving you my personal opinion based on my experience.  I saw a lot of wasted time and learning go down the drain out in the mainstream.
I'm ok with it after elementary school on a student-by-student basis.  If the "experts" feel a child is ready for the regular ed classes -  with back-up help -  then I say go for it.  You can always pull them out later if all doesn't go well.
"They need to mix with the other kids for socialization."  THAT'S WHAT RECESS IS FOR!!!
I remember coming into an elementary school many years ago (actually this happened in more than one school) and the kids were going to vocal music.  VOCAL MUSIC!  They were DEAF!!!
Those students needed instruction in their language.  Sign Language.  Their skills were lacking immensely.
It wasn't a popular move but we got them pulled from VOCAL MUSIC and language lessons began.
I have seen some success in mainstreaming Deaf students at the middle and high school levels but nothing to get all excited about.
So - what's the answer?  Beats the hell out of me.
If you had a Deaf child would you move the whole family to a city that had a Deaf school in it so your child could attend as a day student and have Deaf teachers and go to classes filled with other Deaf students?
No?  How about putting your child on a bus every Sunday afternoon (or a train) so he/she could go live at the school and then come home every Friday afternoon?  Not sounding too good?  Ok, then you're pretty much stuck with public ed and hope for the best.  Maybe they'll actually have a great program for your Deaf child.  A program that covers all the bases including American Sign Language.  Maybe you'd get lucky.  And maybe not.
After all those years working in Deaf Ed, I retired in 2006 disheartened.
Sorry for the downer post but that's life out there.  It sucks sometimes.  Too bad the kids have to suffer.

1 comment: