Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day of (Oral!) School

Today was Miss Kat’s first day at the oral deaf class. I had to work, so I sent Daddy to take notes and report back to me. I also went there straight after work and checked up on Miss Kat. I hung around for about an hour and then came back to pick her up.

There are nine students in the class, including Miss Kat, seven girls and two boys. Miss Kat’s spoken language is by far the lowest of all the students, but academically, she is absolutely on grade level. She is the only one who is severely delayed, except one little girl, “M”. M uses cued speech. She has a transliterator. She is very dependant on the cuing. I don’t understand why M can have a transliterator, but Miss Kat can’t have an interpreter…

When Daddy walked Miss Kat into the classroom, the teacher had all the kids go and find their desks. Miss Kat got very worried. Up until that moment, she had been very excited and proud to be going to school. She was worried that she wasn’t going to have a desk (poor baby) Of course she did have a desk, and she was very happy when she found it! I had tried to prepare her and worked really hard to try to answer all her questions and assuage any fears she might have. We had played on the playground, looked around the school, found the bathrooms, and talked about the schedule and where the library, gym and lunchroom were. I NEVER thought that she would think there was no desk for her; I guess there is no such thing as totally prepared!

First thing in the morning, they discussed the day, and what was happening. She was paying attention, and when she understood, she would turn to Daddy and sign it to him. After a few minutes, she turned and told Daddy that she needed to potty. He told her to tell the teacher, she raised her hand, and voiced “Potty”, and the teacher understood and took them all to the bathroom.

Through the day, if Miss Kat didn’t understand, the teacher would repeat and then sign or gesture and Miss Kat would understand. The teacher knows some sign, but nothing like at the bi-bi school! She says she is trying, but she worries that Miss Kat doesn’t get the information if she doesn’t sign. I told her that we are also worried, but that it is still very early, and we are hoping that it will click soon, and she will start catching up. She says she isn’t too concerned yet, but that we all want to be on the same page.

Miss Kat is very very happy. She is excited to go to school. She tells me how much she likes “talking school”, how much she loves her new teacher, and that she has lots of friends. She is terribly proud that she can hear and speak. She always tells us “I can hear you” with a big grin on her face.


leah said...

It sounds like a successful day, despite the "no desk" fears! The things that run through kids' heads, lol.

Miss Kat sounds like she loves it there, and you guys are really on top of things, so I'm sure you'll be able to set off alarm bells with the school if she starts to slip behind academically. It would be nice if they allowed a translator for some of the instruction (maybe not the whole day, but for reinforcing read-aloud stories, involved directions, etc).

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for quite a while and was wondering how Miss Kat woud do in the oral program. I'm a recently retired teacher of the Deaf, trained orally and taught orally for quite a while. I also have Deaf friends and spent 3 summers at Gally to acquire fluency in ASL. My most satisfying and challenging years were teaching Deaf CI kids who had learned ASL with their families and then at the K level I used ASL as a bridge for teaching spoken and written EEnglish. That reminds me of your daughter's situation except she's in an oral only program. My situation was rare because I was in charge of the Resource Room for DHH kids and told them that if I were to agree to do the aural rehab to develop listening skills I would insist on using ASL as the means for teaching and gradually the kids dropped a lot of the signing BUT they still needed ASL for instruction in Reading and writing English as they went thru 1st and 2nd grade. I understand in your oral situation they will for some reason acceppt cued speeech but signing is frowned on. I think you've been doing an amazing job with the way you've put Miss Kat's communication needs first. I hope and pray that things will work out in this situation. Do keep an eye out for any hint of Miss Kat sliding or becoming anxious. I wish you all the best and apologize for such a long post. Please PM me if you want.

Linda said...

I'm sorry I didn't have a Google account before. I got one so you could contact me if you wanted to.I was the previous "anonymous" poster.

MB said...

A transliterator provides word for word, sound for sound, visual access of spoken English. As you well know, ASL is its own language with its own grammatical structure.

For more on the difference of cueing vs. sign you can check out

melissa said...

Sounds like Miss Kat is just doing GREAT!!!

haddy2dogs said...

I have no idea how I stumbled on your blog but I did and I couldn't help looking around. My 11 yr old is deaf and I had forgotten how crazy the first years are. Now it just a side note to our family. I am happy to see JTC has changed we tried to go but had to leave because they wouldn't let us sign.
About social developement, it is huge! Also emotional developement. My son was never labeled special needs or disabled so he is really confident.
I applaude you and wanted to let you know it gets easy with school if you do the work at an early age.