OVERVIEW OF DEAF EDUCATION

CURRENT ISSUES PERTAINING DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING STUDENTS

AND THEIR FAMILIES IN CALIFORNIA 

Presented by Jaclyn Vincent, ACSE Commissioner

March 7, 2013

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PRESENTATION IN POWERPOINT FORMAT 

EARLY HEARING DETECTION AND INTERVENTION (EHDI) SERVICES

There is an unbalanced representation to monitor EHDI services: Department of Developmental Services versus California Department of Education (CDE)/California Schools for the Deaf (CSD)

After identification, the baby needs to be referred to CDE and its State Special Schools Division (SSSD) for next steps because this is an educational issue rather than a health issue

Language, not hearing and speech, is the real issue here

ISSUES WITH INDIVIDUALIZED FAMILY SERVICE PLAN (IFSP) SERVICES

There is no record in Part C Department of how well Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) toddlers in California are doing the first three years of their life (i.e.: language acquisition and concept development)

  • Are data valid and informative? All children with disabilities are under special education, which makes them a cluster of one group. DHH children need to be under one category, blind children under another, and so on.

Mandatory language benchmarking needs to be normed; further developed and utilized

  • Should start at 9 months old and onwards, with clearly expected outcomes of development; system for monitoring development; and accountability (consequences of lack of development)
  • For accountability, language benchmarks need to be monitored very closely to ensure that the child gains one-year’s skills within one year’s time (children with age-appropriate language skills enter pre-school or kindergarten ready to learn).
  • Examples of assessments for DHH toddlers:
    • MacAurthur Communication Development Inventory
    • ASL Development Observation Record
  • Parents not made aware that successful language acquisition and development is foundational for their children to later become kindergarten ready

Family Education with Deaf/ASL signers is vital during the first year

Teams often have professionals who lack knowledge about ASL; underestimate or do not understand the full potential of ASL/Language/Bilingual skills  

 There is a dearth of ASL Specialists in Day Care setting

  • Hearing parents learning ASL want their Deaf or Hard of Hearing baby constantly exposed to ASL. IFSP services at their district need to offer full day rather than half-day. This means child’s access to language is neglected if receiving “half-day” services. Parents needs to learn how to self-advocate for services.

 ISSUES WITH INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) MEETINGS

Teams often have professionals who lack knowledge about ASL; underestimate or do not understand the full potential of ASL/Language/Bilingual skills  

IEP teams typically withhold information about CSD

  • Required by law to give parents ALL educational opportunities available
  • In one recent IEP, the DHH administrator told a parent that she wasn’t “allowed” to visit CSD without telling the administrator first

Some schools do not honor parents’ wishes

  • Parents fought for their Deaf and Hard of Hearing children to go to CSD.  They were not able to because of their hearing and speaking abilities, including those wearing cochlear implants
  • Their reason for choosing CSD: whole-child approach (actively engaged in learning, challenged academically, meaningful peer interaction, incidental language acquisition, positive social identity development, world knowledge, and full access [leads to independence])

ASSESSMENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION AND DHH STUDENTS

California has three diagnostic centers under SSSD: Northern, Central, and Southern

  • Lack of qualified specialists to evaluate DHH students
  • Mislabeling (deaf or deaf with additional challenges) and flawed recommendations occurs
  • Lack of follow-up services
  • With no one on staff qualified, are diagnostic centers actually doing the assessment on DHH students?
    • Where and exactly who do assessments?
  • Only CSD and some regional programs provide qualified assessment

PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PROGRAMS

There is a HUGE need for a governing board to go into ALL the public school that offers DHH programs and oversee:

  • Quality control and accountability
  • Appropriate ASL exposure and Deaf language models, cultural exposure, etc.
  • This prevents administrators who have no background in this area to keep acting completely at free will of the special education professionals at the expense of the children

EDUCATIONAL INTERPRETERS IN MAINSTREAMED SETTINGS

Level of expertise of the interpreters

  • The majority of them are grossly under qualified and hired by administrators or human resources personnel who do not know ASL
  • Hearing teachers overlook poor interpreting quality
  • General Education teachers are under-qualified to teach DHH students language and concepts

DHH students with lack of expressive/vocabulary skills will not be able to enjoy full classroom participation and may not be able to speak up for themselves

  • There is a resulting incredible danger of wasted time in accessing and learning the curriculum, causing harm to DHH students

Huge lack of understanding of the role of interpreter in a classroom

BILINGUALISM IN SCHOOLS FOR THE DEAF

Academic vs. Social Language

  • Language allocation and use throughout the day
  • Involves both social and academic spheres
  • Positively impacts academic skills

Positive Parent-Child Relationships

  • It is not spoken language that will develop strong academic skills; it is early language. This method provides children with ASL and helps some hearing families feel connected to their children because they can voice at home while still having the benefits of sign especially for school.

Bilingualism in the United States promotes success!

  • Subtractive Bilingualism in General Education means to use two languages until the second language is mastered; the first language is then dropped, like with Spanish speakers learning English as a second language
    • The majority of these students typically drop out of high school or finish high school with poor reading and academic skills
  • Additive & Maintenance Bilingualism in Deaf Education: With this bilingualism, both languages are mastered without dropping the first language. For DHH children, it is ASL/English bilingualism.
    • Canada is using this concept with much success.  With hearing children, they teach English/ French and their curriculum is being used with Deaf children (ASL/English or FSQ/French).  
    • Since we live in one of the most monolingual nations where people often hold a strong disdain for additional languages, this attitudinal issue is challenging to address.  

RESOURCES ABOUT BILINGUALISM

Visual Language and Visual Learning Science of Learning Center (VL2) 

  • Research Briefs: http://vl2.gallaudet.edu/document.php?id=6
    • Research Brief #6: The Implications of Bimodal Bilingual Approaches for Children with Cochlear Implants
    • Research Brief #7: The Benefits of Bilingualism: Impacts on Language and Cognitive Development
  • VL2’S Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Visual Communication and Sign Language Milestones Checklist (available from vl2@gallaudet.edu)

New Early Childhood Organization: The National ASL/English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education: http://bilingualece.org

Nussbaum, D., Waddy-Smith, B., & Doyle, J. (2012). Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Use Sign Language: Considerations and Strategies for Developing Spoken Language and Literacy Skills. Seminars in Speech and Language, 33(4), 310-321.

Through Your Child’s Eyes: American Sign Language. http://www.csun.edu/~tyce/

United Nations Enable: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)   http://www.un.org/disabilities

Webinar:  http://www.gallaudet.edu/Clerc_Center/Information_and_Resources/Training_and_Technical_Assistance/Distance_Education_at_the_Clerc_Center/Webinars/Everything_You_Always_Wanted_To_Know_About_ASLEnglish_Bimodal_Bilingual_Early_Childhood_Education.html


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    © Jaclyn Vincent 2015. All rights reserved.