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Can You Hear Me Now?
Can you imagine being placed in the middle of a new country where the people don’t even speak your language? Now imagine being deaf, speaking only sign language and being placed in the middle of a high school that is filled with kids who can talk but don’t understand you. You get the same feeling, right? Deaf students all over the country are being mainstreamed into regular hearing schools, without well trained interpreters, or sign language classes available to help them. The hearing students are not even provided with an ASL class (American Sign Language) or even an explanation of deaf culture.

Without the correct help they need, deaf and hard of hearing students cannot thrive. Well-trained interpreters help them communicate, special education classes help them re-learn what they missed, and sign language classes for the hearing help them make friends. Don’t you think the American government should require that all schools with deaf students should adjust to meet these needs for their new students? I definitely do.
Interpreters

Interpreters for deaf students in hearing schools are vital, they help students socialize with hearing students, and allow them to speak with teachers. The interpreters are supposed to be able to “faithfully and accurately” represent the classroom instruction, and the teacher student dialogue (Classroom Interpreting). Interpreters have knowledge and understanding of English and American Sign Language. In a classroom, it is important for the interpreter to understand the purpose of the lesson. It is also important for interpreters to understand deaf culture to form a bond with their students (Molly Phillips Educational Interpreters). No matter what the reason is for someone to need an interpreter in school weather they cannot hear, see, or speak the same language as the other students they all are important, they all mean something to the educational community and everyone deserves an equal chance.

For many teachers, the educational interpreters are given the role of “classroom cop.” This happens when a general educator lacks the ability communicate directly with the student who is deaf about problem behavior and although it is not the interpreters job they sometimes end up becoming a disciplinary adult for the students in the classroom. This can be very problematic because the bond between student and interpreter can be affected. (Classroom Interpreting)

If these issues lead to misunderstanding of the interpreters role for the student because they think that the interpreter is upset or unhappy with them it causes confusion that should be avoided at all cost for the health and happiness of the students . When a student thinks an interpreter is upset with them they might avoid telling the interpreter that they can’t understand the teacher due to fear of getting them upset. Grades go down and no one is happy.
Advantages and disadvantages of deaf mainstreaming

There are many different sides to each story, including the sending of a deaf student to a mainstream school. Some people think that it is wrong to “force” a child into a regular school where they do not belong, but others believe it benefits their education to learn how to work with hearing people and understand the “real world”. The list goes on and on, but who is right and who is wrong? Maybe they are both right, a little bit of each?

The education of children with disabilities can be difficult, because special school often don’t have the funding to afford extra classes like art and gym, because of this schools for the deaf generally have lower academic standards then other schools, so parents send their students to mainstream schools where they are getting a better education although they are almost completely unaware of the social effects it will have on their students (Redeafined 2013). Things do need to change, but not everyone’s ideas are for the better.

All students need to learn how to express themselves in music, art, and in writing. Mainstream schools have more extracurricular class choices than deaf only schools can afford. Students forced into mainstream schools can end up out casted and begin to “feel isolated” (Global Post), or unwanted do to miscommunications if their needs are not met. What do you think is more important in child’s life art, or self-esteem? For most people it is a hard question to answer.

When students and teachers have trouble communicating, the stress from being misunderstood can bring a student’s grades down dramatically. Think about it, what if you were sitting in the classroom and expected to get all A’s but the teacher only spoke gibberish? You would either completely lose your social life by trying to study 24 hour seven days a week, or just plain fail. This could easily become a disadvantage for those who are mainstreamed due to the stress it puts on families and on the teachers who can sometimes feel they are failing a good student. Special classes outside of the main rooms can help students find a happy medium between cultures they are used to and ones they are learning.
Special in school classes

Many hearing or non-disabled students have seen other students being removed from the class room and brought into a different room with a different teacher for parts of the day. Although most people do not even think about why, these classes are important to those who are different. When students leave the regular classes they are usually sent to special education or speech therapy rooms where they can relax and study again any information they might have missed in class.

The time spent in special classes vs. regular classes differs for each student making it difficult for most schools to keep up. “A child may be in a regular classroom, but be withdrawn from that class for up to 50% of the day to receive special instruction in a resource room or special education classroom” (Peter Chaban about kids health). Ex. If a student is hard of hearing and tends to miss a lot less than students who are completely deaf they might only have to stay in the special classes for half of the time other students do, this effects their schedules and can catch schools who have never dealt with deaf students off guard. Sometimes having friends and peers in regular classrooms can help shorten the amount of time a student spends in a special classroom because they can use each other’s notes and a little goes a long way.

Learning sign language

Friendship is important for every student in high school, but what would happen if students lost the ability to communicate? If a student is sick one day and cannot come to school, the next day they don’t have the ability to ask their peers for the classwork, or even notes for the test if other students cannot speak with them. This is part of the reason why schools that mainstream the deaf should require sign language classes for at least a 3rd of their students.


Any schools that have mainstreamed deaf students should be required to offer a semester long sign language course, because everyone deserves the right to communication. Even a blurb of information on deaf culture during orientation in the beginning of the school year could make a huge difference in the social lives of students who are different. So before sending deaf students to a mainstream school all parents of the deaf should have knowledge of the help a deaf student is given including whether or not they will have interpreters, special classes, or American Sign Language classes for their hearing peers.

Deaf pride is described as many things, but most parents and students can only agree on one specific point, and that is that today deaf children deserve better treatment are not given the chance to shine, with all my research completed I can say without a doubt that things need to change for the better. All schools with deaf students should be required to have well trained interpreters, special separate classes, and American sign language courses readily available when any amount of deaf students are mainstreamed into their community. Even if it is one or two students who are different schools should make a change.




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