Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another IEP meeting, and a change

We had Miss Kat's second IEP meeting in two weeks. The school would not budge. We can either take what we have right now (Oracy, every morning for 15 minutes working on phonics, by a hard of hearing woman trained in bilingual education, not oral, speech once a week by an SLP who has never worked with a successful CI user, and NO listening or spoken language time...not to mention terrible speech goals) or we can move to an oral program with sign support.

She will be moving. Not because we want her to stop signing, or because we value spoken language over ASL, but because it is what is right for her. We have a very short window of opportunity for success with the implant. Most of the progress she will make will be in the next 3 years. We want her to have the most opportunities, and before the CI that meant ASL and bilingual education. Post-CI it means an oral program. It is not because we now value speech above language or education, but because the silence of bi-bi WILL hold her back. She needs to immersed in sound and spoken language and they just can't (or won't) do that.

This is a terribly bittersweet moment for us. We have always hoped that our child would be able to succeed with spoken language, but now that she has, we are sad for the things she will be forced to leave behind. She has a wonderful school with kind, loving, sweet friends. I had so hoped to see her grow up with them. I love her facial expression, and the way her body looks when she signs. She is so beautiful.

I hope that we will be able to continue her growth in ASL and in spoken language, but I fear the worst. When you have two communities that fight and loath each other the way that the Deaf and AVT do, it is difficult. I hope the local Deaf community will continue to see my daughter as their own, the way they have for so long. I hope that she will still be welcomed in the homes of these friends. I hope that they will still love her and share their lives with her.

I am so afraid. I cry and cry over this decision. I do not want to be the "oral mom". I do NOT want to sacrifice Miss Kat's happiness for speech. I just want to give her every opportunity and to follow her lead, and now, I fear her path has taken us to oral school. Ugh, things were so easy when she only wanted ASL.

I know that she will forever need ASL. She will need to use interpreters, probably in school and in "real life". In fact, some day she may go back to using ASL only, and perhaps take off her CI. And for this reason, we will continue to use ASL in our home, community and church. She needs to continue to gain fluency in ASL, it is her first language and it will be part of her forever. I hope that the Deaf community will continue to help our family raise a bilingual child.

All I want is that when she comes to me as an adult, I can look her in the eyes and tell her that I gave her everything. I gave her the chance to be successful. I gave her every opportunity and tool I could, and that I followed her lead.

13 comments:

mishkazena said...

That's tough

I am sorry to hear that.

I also don't understand why, when parents ask for it, that the students receive services in bi bi and oracy, not bi bi only or oracy.

I know that one deaf school does practice oracy in bi bi program. Trying to remember the name of the school.. Maryland School for the Deaf? Not sure. I don't know how this oracy works within the bi bi program.

Miss Kat still can play with Deaf children, so she can be exposed to ASL. Would that be possible?

Good luck

Miss Kat's Parents said...

I believe she will. We are active in the Deaf community and we attend a Deaf church, so she will not be without Deaf ASL using friends.

mishkazena said...

correction: I also don't understand why, when parents ask for it, that the students cannot receive services in bi bi and oracy, not bi bi only or oracy.

Hey, that's great.

Karen Mayes said...

Have you considered dual enrollments? That way, Kat would attend a deaf school for either morning or afternoon and go to a hearing school with speech therapist in either morning or afternoon? My son has dual enrollment, attending a local middle school in the mornings and Indiana School for the Deaf in the afternoons.



That way, Kat could utilize her CIs more and still keep in touch with the deaf community, attending deaf school on a part time basis?

That is the Bi Bi's weakness... not much focus on children with CIs, late deafened children, hard of hearing children, etc. I did ask for more speech time for my daughter last year, after she asked me for it. I was told that ISD could not provide more speech time because it had a policy... up to two days a week, 20 minutes each. So it helped me make the decision to mainstream my daughter (she had been asking to go to "hearing school" and she is doing great, talking and etc. Her favorite classes are music and Spanish, she gets a kick out of singing and speaking in Spanish (basic, anyway.)

No, both of my kids don't have CIs... they wear hearing aids.

AimeeTheSuperMom said...

I think I wrote your post almost word for word two and a half years ago. Our son was implanted shortly after he turned three and we had so many of the same worries and fears that you're expressing here. (The only difference is that he only had a few Deaf friends because he was so young, and there weren't as many Deaf peers for him.) Fast forward to now, and we're so glad we did things the way we did. He still signs beautifully and has got to be the most expressive child I know. But his speech is also nearly perfect. In fact, it was too good to qualify for speech services through the school district. They still give him speech because he's AI, but only in the form of monitoring.

It was really hard to sort of "give up his Deafness", but it was what was best for him. He's a happy, healthy, well-adjusted little boy now and we're SO GLAD we did it.

Good luck to you!!

Karen Mayes said...

Aimee, won't you mind giving us the link to your posting about making the decision for your child, so that we could read and have better understanding of what some parents go through with their CI children's educational placement?

Many thanks :o) !

Miss Kat's Parents said...

Actually, we asked about dual enrollment, they said no.

We have tried to find innovative solutions but the school has turned every single one down.

David said...

(Heavy sigh)

I forget if this is a public or private school.

Anyway, many rigid thinkers out there. Our local junior college tells deaf students to apply elsewhere, because they "can't find qualified interpreters". This means that none of the local interpreters think so little of themselves that they would be willing to work for the slave wages the JC is willing to offer. Similar to the problems Glenn is facing in the NW in another blog.


David

mishkazena said...

Did they explain to you why dual enrollment isn't acceptable to them?

Miss Kat's Parents said...

They said she wouldn't be able to follow the curiculum. "What if they need to teach something that they will refer to later and Miss Kat isn't there? She would miss out".

AimeeTheSuperMom said...

Karen-
I wish I had a blog link to my writing on our son's CI implant decision. Sadly, I was still in the dark ages and writing in a journal back then. I would be happy to find and transcribe it if need be. I'd also be happy to answer any and all questions about our decision. It was so agonizing to make that choice. As hard as it was, the rewards are more than ten fold.

Mrs. Bick said...

I've never quite understood our system of education. And not only how it applies to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. Ideally we would like the very best for our children, our students. But instead we limit them to the lowest of expectations.

I taught in Deaf Ed. My educational background was in Auditory/Oral, but I was of the mind that you do what serves the learner best. For some it is ASL immersion, for others it is a more Total Communication model. Other children are naturally able to use their listening and develop and excel through auditory development and speech practice.

I feel the angst in your post...wanting what you know is best for Kat, fearing that she might lose part or all of her ASL/deaf identity. But she is one of the lucky. She has you. She is now and will be part of both camps. You will continue to foster her identity as a deaf girl who benefits from using a CI. You will continue to use ASL, and she will become fluently bilingual. (European families think nothing of exposing their children to multiple languages, fearing that they will be less "German" or "Belgian" or "French".)

She has you to help her find her place in the Deaf community, and within the Hearing Community, and possibly even help her forge a new definition of what it can mean to be Deaf in this new age. She will be a beautiful blend of both, and she will not be alone in that.

Keep doing what you are doing. It is for Kat, and she deserves it!

Anonymous said...

Can you homeschool? I know its not a panacea, but I've noticed that I've been able, with avid nighttime reading, and planned work, to match and occasionally to exceed therapeutic benefits of a short amount of time with a harried 'expert'.

I'm serious...its exhausting, and alot of sacrifice, but I've been able to do it. I'm tired of defending my child in a system that simply doesn't care about him.