Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Emmy's question about reasoning & philosophy behind lipreading

Emmy from Right Turn Without Signaling left this comment on an earlier post, as verbatim: "My daughter's teacher who is deaf told us interesting stories about the philosophy of being raised deaf. She was forced to learn to read lips before they allowed her to learn sign language because of the philosophy at that time which was to make deaf kids "normal". What was your experience like?"

I can tell you from experience that she wasn't kidding about the mentality at the time. Doctors and educators felt that they knew what was best for all of us and told our parents what to do. The parents were given Hobson's choice - either learn the way that was recommended for the deaf kids or learn the way that was recommended for the deaf kids.

My parents told me the doctors had recommended to them that I go to a school with hearing children (commonly called "mainstreaming") but they felt I would benefit from deaf education. They opted for the kind of school that emphasized on oral communication rather than sign language because they were told that this was the best way.

I went to that school for several years before the school decided that I was ready for mainstreaming at the age of 13 years old. According to my mother, I tested well enough to be placed in 8th grade which is on par for kids in that age range, but extraordinary for a deaf kid. However, she felt that 8th grade would overwhelm me and opted for me to start in 7th grade instead. Looking back, I have to say she was right.

*Editor's note: I want everyone to know that I am not agreeing and/or disagreeing with what was decribed in Wikipedia's definition on "mainstreaming" - this was for your education on what that word means exactly. You are more than welcome to research this on your own time. :)


Amanda said...

Hobson's Choice -- ha! We use that one in my house all the time.

I wish sign language was offered as a foreign language in jr high and high school. I would have opted for it,....hands down. ;-)

Autumn said...

i read emmy's comment and thought it was a very interesting question. glad to read your answer. it seems you certainly had the intelligence for "mainstreaming". i am fascinated by this blog you know. :)

~*Jobthingy*~ said...

ok read from the bottom up. loving this!

well done.

put me in the fascinated category also :)

Emmy said...

You must be about the same age of my daughter's teacher because it was the same approach. In fact she said she wouldn't teach her sign language until she could prove she could read lips and such. It was pretty sad really - but it was the way it was done.

Glad you had a mom to advocate.

DCHY said...

Amanda - your way or the highway, huh? LOL As for sign language classes, it's never too late for you to start. More and more schools are offering them.

Autumn - that's why I set this blog help encourage people to learn more.

~*Jobthingy*~ - glad that you're enjoying this blog. I have a wealth of information and stories to share with everyone. All in good time, of course. ;)

Emmy - that "medical" mentality finally went away in the 80's. However, there are still bias and ignorance. Your final statement invokes a story that ties in what I just said. Need to figure out when to publish it... Hmm.