|07-10-2012, 04:37 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2006
SIAST program for deaf proves literacy lifeline
Lorraine Sha'Oulle, a 26-year-old deaf woman, hopes her days of frustration, isolation and anger are behind her.
Sha'Oulle revealed to an International Literacy Day celebration Friday that her discovery of an adult learning program at SIAST Kelsey campus gives her a dream that she'll achieve a Grade 12 education and a chance to work in the future with deaf children in northern First Nations communities.
Sha'Oulle used sign language and the assistance of interpreter Rosalie Smith to convey her message in front of hundreds on the Kelsey campus lawn.
While she was growing up on the Hatchet Lake First Nation, she lacked a qualified interpreter "and it was very difficult to communicate and socialize, without hearing people, and I missed out on a lot of information and was always frustrated because I was in over my head in school.
"My mom had many meetings with the school. We were still denied services and, deeply in frustration, I quit school when I was 15 years old, went to parties with friends and acted foolishly."
Sha'Oulle's mother went to a career fair, found a brochure about the Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the Kelsey campus and Sha'Oulle moved to Saskatoon in January 2001.
"I missed my home, my reserve, my family, but I had lots of patience. I was shocked that I finally had people who could instruct me properly. I tried to read and write, and understand the vocabulary. At first, I would read a book, but didn't always know what it meant. It was difficult and I was angry, but I knew I had to be patient. With a good instructor like Sarah Palaniuk, I never gave up. I tell people, who are having trouble as learners, to be stubborn, work hard and you can still learn a lot."
Rod Goertzen, adult basic education co-ordinator at Kelsey, says eight seats are available to the deaf at his school, and more adults are coming forward, all with hopes of improving on their low literacy level, which may range in the Grade 3 to Grade 4 level.
"You have to remember these are individuals who live in a world where radio is meaningless, television is only good if it possesses close captions, fire alarms must have flashing lights and wake-up alarms must have bed vibrations. They have much to overcome."
There are some new technical advances, like an eye-to-eye camera system where the deaf can communicate to anyone around the world if they're also hooked up, and a sound field system that, if properly connected, allows the deaf to hear with a receiving device.
Goertzen has also enlisted the help of Earl Trofimenkoff, a deaf individual who is a counsellor, instructor in language development and a role model to others.
Saskatoon MLA David Forbes read the Saskatchewan government's declaration of the Sept. 8 International Literacy Day. Mayor Don Atchison read the City of Saskatoon's proclamation. Robert McCulloch, president of SIAST, and Peter MacKinnon, president of the University of Saskatchewan, also extolled the values of literacy as the foundation of education and society.
Twin brothers Josh and Jordan Rozon exchanged literacy ideas in a presentation representing the learners at St. Michael's Community School.
In Regina, Deb Higgins, minister responsible for literacy, announced the introduction of a Family Literacy SmartPack.
In its $500,000 initiative, the Saskatchewan Literacy Commission will provide about 9,000 SmartPacks to families with at least one child under the age of five. The pack will include a SmartTips Guide for families, a backpack, three books, a Saskatchewan Literacy Network booklet, a bookmark, crayons and construction paper.
|07-10-2012, 07:24 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Gee (sarcasm) I thought getting rid of the residental school would improve education for dhh kids. I thought mainstreaming was the answer! the very existance of the SIAST program indicates that we need a contium of placement, and maybe even open up the deaf school again.
I have a feeling the popularity of the SIAST program is only going to increase, espcially with the populairty of inclusion. Inclusion assumes that a mainstream school can offer everything or has good resources.....