Deaf Education Term Paper

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Deaf Education hearing impaired child is considered to be an unfortunate happening and the misfortune of the parents. It is not, however, so. In today's world, such impairment can be handled easily and the child can benefit from programs specially designed to help him or her and make them productive members of the society, and independent too. A hearing impaired child can learn, can communicate, and learn to enjoy life and the multitude of experiences it has to offer. (Eden, Introduction) The proper and appropriate education of a hearing impaired child is an issue that has most parents of these children confused and unhappy. The government offers the 'Free and Appropriate Public Education' system for them, and parents are advised to enroll their deaf children in these institutions, since the staff are well trained to handle such children. The Free and Appropriate Public Education - FAPE also researches and provides the 'Least Restrictive Environment' - LRE through the 'Local Education Agency' -LEA. The term 'inclusion' is an important one at this point, since it denotes the idea behind providing the deaf child with the accommodation in a school that is locally situated, and that provides all the facilities and services that the child needs to cope with his disability. (Eden, Philosophy)

When the deaf child is fit enough to be placed into a school which is meant for children with normal hearing, then this is called mainstreaming, and hearing-impaired children must be placed in these schools so that they can cope with the other children and learn to survive in the big world outside, and learn all about their limitations for the first time in their lives. They will learn to communicate with hearing children using all the techniques that have been taught to them, and learn what the outside world is all about in the process. (Eden, Mainstreaming Checklist) The 'auditory-oral' approach that is followed in the process of mainstreaming these children is one of the better methods of communication that deaf children use, and is a combination with whatever little hearing they possess and the process of lip reading and the usage of contextual clues. Spoken language becomes a reality for the deaf, and communication is easier than before. (Eden, Oral)

The system of 'Bilingual and Bicultural' education for the deaf is based on the idea that deaf children belong to a Deaf Community, and that the language that they must use in order to communicate effectively will be the 'American Sign Language'. When deaf children utilize the English language for written as well as verbal communication, and use the American Sign Language wherever necessary, then this demonstrates the fact that they will have to communicate with others in the hearing world with the language that is used by most of the people within the community, and that is English. (Eden, BiBi) Apart from this, the philosophy of 'total communication' is one that teaches deaf children to be familiar with all the various modes of communication that are available to them, and all those methods that would be suitable for all their specific needs. (Eden, Total Communication)

Among the various Institutions and Organizations that deal with classes and other form of services for the deaf, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, also known as the AG Bell, is one of the premier Institutions that is also one of the largest Organizations in the U.S.A. This membership organization, founded in 1890 by Graham Bell, is comprised of a group of people who are either parents of deaf children, or are willing to serve these children, or are deaf or hard of hearing themselves. The focus in this organization is on dealing with and teaching children who use certain auditory means to communicate with others. (Eden, AG Bell)

The American Society for Deaf Children, also known as ASDC, is another organization that deals with improving the standard of communication and thereby, of the life of the deaf children. It is the families and the parents of these children who are members. What the ASDC does is primarily to advocate the fact that deaf children can indeed belong to the outside community and can actually actively participate in various activities that would enroll them in the mainstream of life. The use of 'signing' to communicate is recognized in this institute, as is the 'Deaf Culture', which is in fact seen as the stepping-stone for these children's entry into the real world. (Eden, ASDC)

The Auditory Verbal International Inc. (AVI) considers it as its main objective the promotion of the ideas of listening as well as speaking for deaf children, and to make the public aware of the auditory and the verbal approach towards these deaf children who, in fact, need to be among hearing children so that they can communicate well with them and therefore with strangers in the workplace, etc. In later life. (Eden, AVI) There is in existence a website that serves as a reference for parents and families of deaf children who are interested in either learning more about the disability or in enrolling their children in one of the schools that are mentioned. This site is the 'Oberkotter Foundation', and it lists more than 42 Schools for the deaf all over the United States of America. (Eden, Oberkotter Foundation.) Apart from these organizations, there are a few institutions that work towards safeguarding the civil rights of the more than 29 million hearing-impaired people all over the U.S.A., in areas like education, employment, and social services, and so on. (Eden, NAD) The NCSA or the National Cued Speech Association provides information and teaches people who want to learn the methodology of cued speech. (Eden, NCSA)

The American President George Bush signed the 'No Child Left behind Act' of 2001 so that educational reform would take place in all educational institutions. The primary goal of this act was to: close the 'achievement gap' that exists in all schools, thereby offering more flexibility for the children of the schools, and providing a multitude of options for the parents of these children. Every state has to account for the steps and procedures that they would follow in bridging the achievement gap and also in ensuring that all children, including disadvantaged, would be able to achieve academic proficiency in their respective schools. To this end, the school is required to provide all parents and the state with a state and district report underlining the progress of the children. When it is found, after evaluations of the reports, that there has been little progress in these schools over a period of five years, then the method of running the school will have to be changed completely, and then there will be progress. (No Child Left Behind Act- (www.ed.gov/nclb/landing)

The next goal that was set out by the No child left behind Act is that state and district level schools will enjoy more freedom and flexibility in accounting for the Federal Education Funds that is provided by the Government for the purpose of educating each and every child in the U.S.A. This in essence means that these schools will be granted the freedom to use the funding as they see fit, like for example to improve the pay scale of the teachers, or to create new educational programs, and so on. Funds must be utilized for the purpose of making the schools a safer place for children, where, in America, it is a fact that children in the age group of 12 to 18 were victims of 128,000 violent crimes while at school. Another set goal of the Act is that after the determination and the establishment of the type of educational program that is best suited for children has been achieved after scientific research, these programs that would promote student achievement must be inculcated into the present set of programs being followed by the school. (No Child Left Behind Act (www.ed.gov/nclb/landing)

Therefore, 'proven methods' are seen as the standards to be followed by all educational institutions. Furthermore, parents are provided with more options whereby, in case the school to which the child goes to does not meet the standards set by the state, or is found to be unsafe, then the parent has the option of shifting the child over to another school, including a public charter school within their district. (No Child Left Behind Act- (www.ed.gov/nclb/landing) The question to be asked at this point is this, what does the 'No child Left behind Act' do for the deaf? The actual fact is that the Act has left many educators confused as to how the Act is to be made applicable to deaf children. The issue of AYP, that is Adequate Yearly Progress, that applies to all state schools wherein progress is measured, and, if found lacking, the parents are given the option of removing their child from the school and enrolling them elsewhere, is found to be quite confusing in the case of schools for deaf… [END OF PREVIEW]

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