Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Thursday, December 10, 2009

She doesn't like school?

Ok, I'm really upset, so I might ramble.

Miss Kat goes to an oral school now. It is new this year, she had been in a signing school since she was 3. She has always been very excited about school and been a very good student.

This week she has been telling us that she doesn't like school anymore. She says that she doesn't like her teacher, and that she is mean to her. She says she doesn't like her new friends and wants to go back to her old friends.

She also says that she wants to sign AND talk, but that her teacher says that she isn't allowed to sign.

So, I called the teacher. The teacher confirmed everything. She said that Miss Kat seems unhappy, and that she has been being a little defiant. (Which is NOT at all like her, she is very eager to please) She said that she feels like Miss Kat is being "very dependant on sign" and that every week-end she shows back up "not using her voice" and that she has stopped using sign with her too. She says that she tells Miss Kat to stop signing during class, that she can do it at recess, but that in class she isn't allowed to, that she needs to use her voice.

I'm terribly upset. We were scared of just this thing. There is no TC environment. It is oral or voice-off ASL. We want her to be bilingual, and when we placed her, they promised that "our focus is on listening-speaking but sign is not forbidden". She has only been hearing well for a year! Her first language is ASL! Why would she be getting in trouble for signing? This isn't ok with me.

I'm so scared. I want her to succeed, and I want her to be happy. What do we do now?

Last week-end we had a big Deaf community event and she got to see all her Deaf friends. She had a really good time. Is she just missing them?

Teacher also said that after every week-end she shows up not wanting to use her voice. I felt like she was implying that we are signing too much at home, and so she has to "start over" every week.

Please, help. I know most of you aren't in the same situation, but does anyone have advice?

This is my worst nightmare, having her be unhappy. We always promised that Miss Kat's happiness was more important than anything. We will give up or change anything to make sure she is happy.


Anonymous said...

I feel for you and your daughter. Signing is natural to us Deaf people. It makes sense that your daughter prefers signing. That is why cochlear implants never makes sense to us, but it's your choice. Why don't you send her to a Deaf school. MSSD, MSD, and other schools do offer a good signing environment and they do have kids with cochlear implants.

Anonymous said...

I feel for you if your only available choices are schools which offer silent ASL or voice only with no manual system. Neither one seems fair for Kat. At the very least she should be allowed to use sign as long as she also speaks to her teacher and classmates. While she has her implant, it can still take a long time to learn to understand what it is you're hearing. A manual system gives her confidence. Do you use both oral and sign together at home or do you often revert to sign alone? Does she want to sign at school because she's self conscious about her speech or unsure of herself when speaking? I hope the school system and teacher will be willing to be flexible with you and with her. For Kat, neither system alone is the Least Restrictive Environment.

Karen Mayes said...

My heart breaks just reading your account of Kat's frustration. Nothing is easy, I know...

Have you thought about homeschooling her? I am sure there are homeschool groups consisting of homeschooled deaf children in your state, so that Kat could get together with them on a weekly basis for socialization, something like that?

OR... offer to the oral school an afterschool activity learning ASL? I don't think the oral school will agree to it, but it won't hurt to try.

Best luck to you. My kids are mainstreamed and doing well and right now the situation with my daughter who's in 3rd grade is playground's cliques... she hates it, especially the friends/enemies game, pecking order kind. :o( I know it has nothing to do with what you are facing now, but I am saying that mainstreaming is not a perfect answer as well... it's up to us parents to make it work for our kids. You are a wonderful mom, from following your blog over the last year :o)

Anonymous said...

Just read your blog..i know this is a difficult decision...you want her to be happy let her go back to her comfort zone and set up a play date or get together with hearing after school or weekend so she can get exposure..otherwise if she continues like this she may become rebellious in the future and despite what you had done to her. I have seen many cases like this when parents pull their own children out of deaf school to mainstream and in the future they turned against their parents for doing this. Nowadays at deaf schools they are more acceptable and welcoming children who have cochlear implants....I do have 2 deaf children i pulled them out of deaf school to a mainstream and we gave it more time but it eventually got worse and they start stopping doing their homework and going to nurse pretending to be sick so they could go home..you dont want to do this.

Just remember your child can be enriched by going to deaf school and being exposed to speech/hearing after school ...it will benefit her in the long run.

Dianrez said...

It comes down to what kind of environment you want Miss Kat to have. Is it a disciplined, determined bend to the system you want her to function in, or is it a relaxed environment in which academic learning is paramount?

Later on, Miss Kat will have more choice in what she wants, but now you have to choose because her experience isn't enough for her to make them. If allowed to do that later in her preteens, she will be more enthusiastic about it.

The attitude of the teacher in "starting over" every Monday isn't sitting well with me. Clearly this teacher regards the oral system as superior for some reason.

I haven't any experience with sign-only schools, so am skeptical that the school doesn't offer any speech training whatsoever. Check again to see if that is really the case. Even so, you still have the option of taking Miss Kat to a private speech therapy session after school; I had that even while mainstreamed with a speech session pull-out every day.

What to do now? My gut level feeling is to pull her out soon, she isn't ready. Tell her the "experiment can be tried again when you're a little older as the experience is good for you when you are grown up." And do the hearing training at home.

leah said...

Oh, this breaks my heart. There really needs to be an option where both sign and spoken language are equally emphasized, and that doesn't exist in the current system! This worries me- we only have a mainstream school system and no options for Nolan, so we'll have to make due with what we have. He likes to talk a lot, but with his configuration of hearing loss, he hears almost nothing in the presence of background noise (something called the upward spread of masking). So we use sign for those times, and he loves his Signing Time DVD's!

I know there is one AVT (Mary Koch, I think?) who suggests using a "sandwich" approach for little ones transitioning to an oral school. Say the word, sign the word, then say the word. She may be one of the only AVT's in the world that doesn't mind the use of sign language, though.

Sending *hugs* your way- these situations are just plain hard.

Anonymous said...

Academics and Miss Kat's happiness are more important than listening skills. The listening skills will come. The world is full of sound.

Besides, the oral class teacher has broken your trust and does not even seem sorry about it. It seems like it would be difficult to have Miss Kat with a teacher who is not trustworthy and doesn't seem to have Miss Kat's best interests at heart. She seems more concerned with her own communication philosophy than Miss Kat's needs. What happened to teachers being interested in education?

It might be easier to fight for an increase in speech services at the ASL school than to fight an oralist to allow signing. Or... this would be a major fight, but possible a spoken English interpreter sitting at the back of the room, speaking through the FM system. She would not have to be up next to the teacher or speaking loudly. I don't know if it's a good idea.. but it's a thought. Maybe just for one or two subjects, like math or language arts.

The bottom line is education. Where will Miss Kat receive the best education? And where will Miss Kat have the best social access? That's the least restrictive environment.

CheryLfromMA said...

Hi, all i can say is ASL is her language :)

CheryLfromMA said...

oops correction, all i can say THAT (not IS)

A Deaf Pundit said...

I'm sorry your daughter is going through this :( The 2nd commenter is right - neither environment is the Least Restrictive Environment.

I would ask the ASL only program for help on this - I am sure they know of a program *somewhere* that accepts both ASL and CIs.

Good luck.

K.L. said...

Is the oral school private or public? If it is public, then you should be able to require an ASL interpreter for Miss Kat. If it is private, then I recommend putting her into a standard mainstreamed public school with an FM system and an interpreter. If you all agreed at the start of the school year that ASL was ok, then hopefully it is in the IEP, and you have grounds to require an interpreter to assist in the class.

In any event, she needs to be in a different classroom. There is too much negativity with that teacher.

Good luck, and keep fighting for her.

melissa said...

Sounds like Miss Kat is having a tough time, it won't be nice for Miss Kat having to go back every Monday and not being able to sign. It's her first language and she should be able to use that. Can they not let her sign as well as talking? ASL is probably what Miss Kat feels more confident in using since she knows the language. Is there no chance Miss Kat can go to a ASL program but with oral support?

haddy2dogs said...

I feel fo you. She is still very young and should have adults around her that offer communication regardless .Funny, if her teacher was more flexable she could use the sign to help model the speech. I have seen it done with great results with kids who have a CI and doing well with it.

Not sure I can help but feel free to contact me to vent. My email is on my profile.

AliciaD said...

Could you go to the school and discuss this with them? It may just be an issue with that teacher.

From my understanding - most bilingual schools offer support for children with CIs... too bad the one near you doesn't.

What other options are there? Does the bilingual school offer partial mainstreaming? Maybe she could spend most of her day there, and have a few classes with hearing students and an interpreter so she has the chance and the choice to use her voice and CI. That supplemented with AVT therapy may work.

The politics in deaf ed. can be annoying, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

I can understand how you and your daughter feel. It makes sense that your daughter prefer signing because it is her true natural language.She has every right to make her own choice. Your daughter is very smart girl.Let her sign.She doesn't need any of those oppression like we had in the past. We do not want to see her go through this. Please MOM think Audism Free for your daughter. We all know that you love your daughter very much. We all know you want to do the best for her. Listen to your child and she is telling you the truth about how she feels. She will need your support and help her to go back to Deaf school where her heart is. Yet, she will always be your daughter. You will be delighted to watch her more languages to communicate, watch her grow be a smart girl, watch her gain more knowledge, and watch her full of smile. Her smile will lighten up your life MOM I promise.

Anonymous said...

She needs to be in a signing environment. ASL will make her and you happy. :)

Anonymous said...

Obviously, signing is comfortable to your girl since she would be able to understand what is going on in the world included with a solid language through ASL.

Anonymous said...

Someone commented that the teacher had broken your trust.

YUP! Obviously the teacher does not respect your choice to continue signing.

I can tell you, I am hearing, and I can sign both ASL and speak English. ASL does not hamper my English skills in any way. I am sure ASL does not hamper your English skills in any way either.

There is no harm in knowing two languages, in fact it is super fun.

Plus, sometimes, CI's do break. You don't want communication to be an issue for her at any time in her life. Give her a good foundation now, and put her in an environment where signing is not seen as a bad thing.

Sometimes this can be the mainstream setting. Most hearing kids think sign language is super cool, and are just fascinated by it. At the middle school where I interpret, we have a sign club with about 40 members. It's so popular.

Keep her with other signing peers, around signing adults, around sign language. You are right, English is everywhere. Sign language is not.

PLUS, voice-off sign language is the only way to go when you are signing ASL. Did the teacher not take one class? Does she have a Deaf Ed degree? Do not be made to feel guilty for exposing your DEAF daughter to a visual language. It only makes sense.

Too bad you can't enroll her in oral after-school activities. That could be fun, but then she wouldn't associate her self-image with how well she functions in her new second language.

-- Katie