Wednesday, May 6, 2009

First Grade Visit

Last week, before we left for California, Lucas, my mom and I went to visit the local early elementary D/HOH classroom. This is the classroom that the local D/HOH preschool feeds into by default. The classroom can serve students K-2, but this year there are 6 students, all in 1st grade, and none with cochlear implants. The school where the classroom is hosted is where my mom taught 2nd grade for the majority of her 36-year teaching career, so she came along to show off Lucas. :)

In general, I was more pleased with this classroom than the preschool classroom. It was less chaotic. Maybe it was because it was a classroom of 6 & 7 year olds, instead of 3 & 4 year olds. But, the physical environment of the classroom was better for hearing impaired children, in my opinion. There was a large rug under their desks, and little outside noise to compete with.

Again, Total Communication is the method of choice here, to accommodate all children. It was apparent that the classroom teacher, in addition to signing, emphasizes speech as she teaches, readily using Visual Phonics to illustrate speech sounds. It's useful for teaching reading, to illustrate that [c] is pronounced as a /k/ versus an /s/, for example. She lent me a video on it.
I came to the healthy conclusion that if Lucas belongs there, I will have no problem sending him there. I think it's a quality classroom for kids who need sign support. I will not push to mainstream him if he needs sign language to support his learning. We're hoping that that's not the case though.


susannah said...

ah. so hard. we visited a tc school when monrovia was first diagnosed and found the same thing. it really bummed me out. then our person from the school district who is hoh spent three hours trying to convince us we were making a bad decision with getting ci's. it is ALREADY such a gutwrenching decision that takes so much thought, prayer, and discussion. i'm sorry you had to get that as a reaction. :(

spankey said...

Hey Jenny - That experience sounds dreadful, and, unfortunately, it sounds a lot like many parts of the rest of the world. "We've always done it this way" is a powerful motivator.

I know you'll find the best place for Lucas (and you). Blessings on the continued journey.

leah said...

Wow. I'm flabbergasted that they felt they had the right to judge! You've given Lucas choices and expanded opportunities with his implant, and what in the world could be wrong with that?

Julia said...

I think that there have been a lot of older kids and adults who were implanted late (back when you couldn't implant babies) and who had unrealistic expectations. Their negative outcomes fuel the myths that a lot of Deaf people have about the effectiveness and reliability of CIs (especially since people with negative CI outcomes are more likely to be part of the Deaf community, so their stories are circulated). So a successful, happy Deaf person who believes these myths is likely to think that we're doing something terrible by subjecting our babies to "risky," invasive surgery that has a high probability of failure, just in order to prevent our children from becoming like them (i.e. successful, happy Deaf people). It's offensive and annoying when they judge us, but I can kind've understand where they're coming from -- don't agree with it, and I think they're misinformed, but it's understandable.