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Unread 08-21-2011, 04:33 AM   #1
naturelchick
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Does anyone else feel like their life was ruined by mainstream school

I went to a deaf school from pre-k to 3rd grade...i was popular and very social... The school and my parents decided because I was ahead of my peers that I should be transferred to an all hearing school to be mainstreamed... My parents got me all hyped up about it and made Me feel smart and better than everyone in my class. Then my ego was shot down when I was around all hearing people... People always had the misconception that because I could speak clearly that I could hear more than I could (lots of agonising speech therapy and I became deaf at around age 5) coupled with my parents giving me the impression that deaf people were kind of low educated compared to me I was so ashamed about my deafness so I always tried to hide it by nodding alot which made me feel so stupid..i didn't even have an interpreter...my mom did the majority of my homework so I never learned much.. Classes were so boring..i woulddaydream or read books. I was anti-social and isolated myself. Then around 10th grade I had a teacher (not my teacher) that slowly changed my views..i fought for an interpreter but because of my already extremely low-confidence I was embarrassed most of the time. If it Hadn't been for him I never would have gone to gallaudet where my social life exploded.. But I still have social awkwardness... The early years are important for development of personality I believe...i remember I begged my parents to move me to the state residential school..i figured a social life would be better than neither social life or education.. My parents flat out refused..so ridiculous! I feel sorry for anyone that had to go through what I did by being mainstreamed!
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Unread 08-21-2011, 07:08 AM   #2
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Yep, my years being mainstreamed were pretty much the same and as a result, I learned to hate myself and my deafness so much that I was engaging in self-destructive behaviors as a young adult because I felt like a big time failure for not fitting in with my hearing peers after trying so hard to be like them.

Yep, that's mainstreamed for ya. There is even a book about it. I will have to dig up the name. Very powerful.

That is what most hearing parents refuse to understand when it comes to their own deaf children. "No, my child will be different." Turns out the their children end up with the same issues.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 07:37 AM   #3
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I'm actually glad that I was mainstreamed. It made me more aware of what was really going on. In some ways, it made me understand things from both worlds. I even learned to dislike how some other deaf students were being educated compared to how I was being educated. This goes towards the teachers, interpreters, and the parents.

Yes, some interpreters were just horrible. They even had the authority to punish students or do whatever they wanted. I had an interpreter who would slam my desk if I wasn't giving her my full attention. I was trying to take notes from the overhead projection during math class. She would also leave 5 to 10 minutes before class was over so that she could take her medicine. (Umm, 5 or 10 minutes isn't going to kill you to wait to take your medicine.) They would even tell on hearing students if the hearing students did something behind the teacher's back. (Like tell a dirty joke, or pass notes, etc.)

Teachers? I didn't really have problems with mainstream teachers in general, but I did have problems with the deaf education teachers. They treated deaf students poorly. Know those state tests that deaf students take to determine how educated they were? Well, there was one deaf guy who thought his test was too hard... that the teacher actually helped him through by giving him answers to some of the questions?

Then there's the parents. Yes, some if also depends on the parents. It's the parents who are ignorant enough to not consider that their deaf children are just as capable as the hearing students. So, they're constantly whining to the school that the school is being too hard on their deaf children. They spoil the deaf children and don't take in part in the homework that the children bring home.

My parents saw me as a deaf child, but didn't look at me as a deaf child who couldn't do what hearing people did. They would make sure I did my homework. (They helped me sometimes.) They would say "that's because you didn't study" if I did bad on my tests/quizzes. They would check my 3-week and 6-week report cards to see how I was doing. I even failed a class once and was expected to take summer school to make up for it.

So, at the end... I'm glad I did what I did when I went through mainstream school.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 09:35 AM   #4
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I was mainstreamed starting with 3rd grade. I hated every minute of it. I was an outcast, even called "that freaky deaf kid" and so on. Totally picked on for signing, my speech, everything. 3rd grade to graduation was hell.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 09:40 AM   #5
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School years were bad, but my life has been good after. So no it didn't ruin my life.
It useless to speculate on what might have been. I believe you have to take control of your own happiness and not let outside forces and things you didn't have charge of ruin it.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 09:48 AM   #6
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Mainstream was hell for me. I am glad I attend Florida school for the Deaf and the Blind this fall.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 09:50 AM   #7
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I hated hated my mainstreaming schools. I have been 4 different mainstreams schools and they all just bad as each other. Teachers are useless in all of them. Hearing kids treated me the same, picked on me and bullied me, even hurt me.

I wouldn't tell any parent with deaf child to go mainstream ever. Mainstream are cruel place for deaf child, very cruel.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 10:37 AM   #8
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No, I don't feel like my life was ruined by mainstream. It wasn't perfect, sure. But it's one of those things that I feel shaped my life into who I am and I'm grateful for that. Kind of like how those old people say "When I was your age, I was in the army and learned to be a tough guy." gimmicks.

But I think if I went to a deaf school, I would not have picked up on some of the things I learned in mainstream. I would have been in a pampered life, and would not know what to do or broke down crying, being negative or something if hearing people made fun of me after I got out of school.

It was early on from mainstream that I learned how to defend myself from people in the real world.

I had zero problems with the teacher personalities, they were all nice, every single one of them each year always asked if I needed accommodations. It may have been better from the deaf services, but the way I saw it, both have their perks.

Bottisini is right, speculation is just like hypothetical situations, it's not productive to indulge in.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 10:42 AM   #9
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I wanted to add...if I had gone to a Deaf school, I would have learned what my rights were, how to advocate for myself, and had Deaf role models who would help me feel ok about my deafness. Mainstreaming taught me that I was a "broken" hearing person.

If I had a deaf child, I will never mainstream him/her.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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It was my karma being mainstreamed. I think back on it and am still learning lessons from it. Some people's karma entails them being in prison a lifetime, others entail living a life of luxury and incredible privilege. I look back at my time in mainstream and am still trying to make sense of it.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 12:36 PM   #11
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My answer would be yes, but my parents saw the downward spiral and promptly placed me in CSDF. I was doing fine academically but I had no friends, which is something that many "specialists" and parents fail to recognize the importance of.

I was lucky.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 02:39 PM   #12
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Yep, my years being mainstreamed were pretty much the same and as a result, I learned to hate myself and my deafness so much that I was engaging in self-destructive behaviors as a young adult because I felt like a big time failure for not fitting in with my hearing peers after trying so hard to be like them.

Yep, that's mainstreamed for ya. There is even a book about it. I will have to dig up the name. Very powerful.

That is what most hearing parents refuse to understand when it comes to their own deaf children. "No, my child will be different." Turns out the their children end up with the same issues.
Same here. Always trying to fit in. To belong. Self destructive. All of the above.

I'm glad OP had earlier intervention and awakening than me. It wasn't until my 30s that I accept me as me and begin to embrace being Deaf.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 03:15 PM   #13
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I have Dallas mainstream school together. Without Dallas, mainstream would been horrible.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 04:25 PM   #14
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I have Dallas mainstream school together. Without Dallas, mainstream would been horrible.
I keep seeing you mention Dallas... Who is that?
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Unread 08-21-2011, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
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School years were bad, but my life has been good after. So no it didn't ruin my life.
It useless to speculate on what might have been. I believe you have to take control of your own happiness and not let outside forces and things you didn't have charge of ruin it.
Just because the school years are horrible, that doesn't mean that our entire lives have to be that way. Each of us determines what our lives are going to be like once we enter adulthood. You can look back on childhood and allow yourselves to be victimized by it OR you can rise above the crappy childhood, and make the rest of your life the way you want it to be.

It's how the individual sees themselves. You can maintain that victim role or give it up. It's a CHOICE. You can stay stuck in "poor me, my childhood was crappy." OR You can say "OK, my childhood was crappy, but, I can make the rest of my life better." Its up to each person to decide how they want to live their lives.

I like this post.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 05:12 PM   #16
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Same here. Always trying to fit in. To belong. Self destructive. All of the above.

I'm glad OP had earlier intervention and awakening than me. It wasn't until my 30s that I accept me as me and begin to embrace being Deaf.
Yea, me too..glad for the OP.

When I finally learned ASL and the Deaf community at 25 years old, it didnt solve all of my problems right away but by the time I was 30, I finally felt at peace within myself after going through all the stages of shock, grief, and anger about realizing how wasted my childhood was.

Now, I am almost 40 years old and I have learned to be very aggressive with hearing people about making ignorant comments, about meeting me halfway with communication, and telling them that I am not heairng impaired nor a broken hearing person. it has been working great so far.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 05:30 PM   #17
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I keep seeing you mention Dallas... Who is that?
I am going to wager that it's obvious that Dallas is her sig other.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 05:50 PM   #18
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It was the other way around for me...public schools until a few months into the 8th grade then to a deaf school after becoming deaf (for only 2 years.) I do remmy some problems I had in public school, but the majority of the time I sat in front of the class. Going to a deaf school, I knew no ASL and never had met a deaf person in my life, so it was quite "shocking" at first....I hid under the bed covers for 2 days!...

However, I did adjust, learned some ASL and made deaf friends (life-long ones) and still have hearing friends from my days of being a hearing person. I'm immersed into both worlds and would not have it any other way.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 05:54 PM   #19
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I keep seeing you mention Dallas... Who is that?
Dallas my best friend / boyfriend :-)
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Unread 08-21-2011, 10:37 PM   #20
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Oceanbreeze, that's easy. Because my experiance in mainstream school basicly gave me PSTD. You wouldn't tell an Iraq vet to just get over their PSTD would you?
I also think telling our stories can help parents understand the negative impact of mainstreaming. So often mainstreaming is painted as some glorious utopia. It's not, and never has been. What I mean by mainstreaming is solotaire mainstreaming.
Granted some states have reconized that kids can benifit from placements like regional dhh programs and magnet programs. But still.......
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Unread 08-21-2011, 10:53 PM   #21
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Oceanbreeze, that's easy. Because my experiance in mainstream school basicly gave me PSTD. You wouldn't tell an Iraq vet to just get over their PSTD would you?
I also think telling our stories can help parents understand the negative impact of mainstreaming. So often mainstreaming is painted as some glorious utopia. It's not, and never has been. What I mean by mainstreaming is solotaire mainstreaming.
Granted some states have reconized that kids can benifit from placements like regional dhh programs and magnet programs. But still.......
My upbringing gave me PTSD, too, DD. I'm still dealing with the fallout from what happened in my childhood. But, I do it with an understanding that the past is the past. I can't change it, but, I CAN change my future.

It's a CHOICE. Once you reach adulthood, it truly becomes a choice to either live the rest of your life bitter and angry about your childhood, or to acknowledge that it happened and decide that you can change it for the better. Its up to the person to choose what they want to do. They can either live the rest of their lives as a victim, or, they can decide to live life on their own terms.

I'm not saying it's easy. It's NOT. It takes time, and sometimes, therapy to get to the place I'm talking about, but it can be done. The person HAS to want to change, though. Some do. Others don't.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 11:07 PM   #22
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Oceanbreeze, that's easy. Because my experiance in mainstream school basicly gave me PSTD. You wouldn't tell an Iraq vet to just get over their PSTD would you?
I also think telling our stories can help parents understand the negative impact of mainstreaming. So often mainstreaming is painted as some glorious utopia. It's not, and never has been. What I mean by mainstreaming is solotaire mainstreaming.
Granted some states have reconized that kids can benifit from placements like regional dhh programs and magnet programs. But still.......
Like you, I was also very traumatized by my mainstreaming experiences, especially the elementary school years. But I do get what OceanBreeze is saying which is one needs to learn how to let the anger and the trauma go so it doesn't affect the quality of the rest of their lives. I don't think she means you don't have a right to be angry about what happens but not to let that anger stop you from being a happy person despite what happened. it's not easy and like she said, it has to be a conscious choice. I made that choice at age 27 to consciously take the chip off my shoulder and put it away so I could be happy for a change. It wasn't an overnight process, it took time to learn how not to give others the power to get to me so much. It's still a work in progress that's for sure.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 11:26 PM   #23
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Like you, I was also very traumatized by my mainstreaming experiences, especially the elementary school years. But I do get what OceanBreeze is saying which is one needs to learn how to let the anger and the trauma go so it doesn't affect the quality of the rest of their lives. I don't think she means you don't have a right to be angry about what happens but not to let that anger stop you from being a happy person despite what happened. it's not easy and like she said, it has to be a conscious choice. I made that choice at age 27 to consciously take the chip off my shoulder and put it away so I could be happy for a change. It wasn't an overnight process, it took time to learn how not to give others the power to get to me so much. It's still a work in progress that's for sure.
Thank you. That's exactly what I meant! Of course, they have a right to be angry about what they went through. I have that same right given what I went through as well, but there comes a point when you just have to acknowlege it, and then, let it go for your own sanity and happiness.

Being angry is understandable. Being BITTER is toxic. And, yes, there IS a difference between the two, and a very fine line between the two as well.
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Unread 08-21-2011, 11:30 PM   #24
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I had posted something along these lines in another thread but I don't mind rewriting

I was mainstreamed throughout my school years. I had a teacher in 3rd grade named Mrs. Joke... she wasn't funny at all. In fact when there was a PTA meeting she told the principal in front of my mom and stepdad that she REFUSED to wear the FM system. Needless to say, principal put her in check, but she made my year a living hell. I wasn't allowed to do creative projects. I was forced to sit around and do sentences every day instead of going out to recess. Absolutely the worst teacher I've ever had.

Kids were bullies left and right, I did go to IEP in elementry and junior high and in high school I was in special education... except English and my English teacher loved me so much he wanted me to go to his college prep classes. I did get special services where I would get rides to and from my school in a white van. I did try to socialize with the deaf kids in the van with me, but those kids were cruel too. Then my mom gained custody of me (long story there) and I moved away and went to yet another mainstream school. I was embarrassed to be open about my deafness and sure enough I learned quickly that it wasn't a walk in the park. The school was more advanced than my previous one. I didn't really teased like before but I didn't have a load of friends either. I was just, like my previous school mostly a loner that had selective few friends.

I was never encouraged to take ASL and it really annoyed me now, being 26 and looking back.... I wish things were done differently. But I can't change the past. I can only move forward and be the person I WANT to be now.
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Unread 08-22-2011, 05:54 AM   #25
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I had posted something along these lines in another thread but I don't mind rewriting

I was mainstreamed throughout my school years. I had a teacher in 3rd grade named Mrs. Joke... she wasn't funny at all. In fact when there was a PTA meeting she told the principal in front of my mom and stepdad that she REFUSED to wear the FM system. Needless to say, principal put her in check, but she made my year a living hell. I wasn't allowed to do creative projects. I was forced to sit around and do sentences every day instead of going out to recess. Absolutely the worst teacher I've ever had.

Kids were bullies left and right, I did go to IEP in elementry and junior high and in high school I was in special education... except English and my English teacher loved me so much he wanted me to go to his college prep classes. I did get special services where I would get rides to and from my school in a white van. I did try to socialize with the deaf kids in the van with me, but those kids were cruel too. Then my mom gained custody of me (long story there) and I moved away and went to yet another mainstream school. I was embarrassed to be open about my deafness and sure enough I learned quickly that it wasn't a walk in the park. The school was more advanced than my previous one. I didn't really teased like before but I didn't have a load of friends either. I was just, like my previous school mostly a loner that had selective few friends.

I was never encouraged to take ASL and it really annoyed me now, being 26 and looking back.... I wish things were done differently. But I can't change the past. I can only move forward and be the person I WANT to be now.
Damn and i thought my sixth grade teacher in mainstream was awful.
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Unread 08-22-2011, 06:17 AM   #26
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Does anyone else feel like their life was ruined by mainstream school
My life wasn't ruined by mainstream schools. I was in mainstream schools all my life. I've had good times. Teachers were great. My childhood life was pretty good.

Bad Part? I felt left out or felt like a third wheel even though I was involved in many activities and friend gatherings because I don't know what they were saying. I can't keep up.

Few years ago - I learned ASL and met many deaf people. Could not believe how much I was missing out in group social conversations. Now I know what people are really talking about and my life just got more interesting
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Unread 08-22-2011, 07:22 AM   #27
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I am truely sorry that you all had such terrible experience in school. I know a little how bad it was. But my experience is not the same as you. I guess I went to the deaf school. I never forget how heairng people says that to me that I have not been experience but in a shock. One of those saturday, I was chatting with my deaf friend and spotted the other three teen kids that came to us. Of course They made fun of us by their idiot signing. I was like, in my mind, "what the heck they are doing, they must be idiot to say stuff to us" It just came to my mind that I do not know why that I did it. I Actually did flip the bird to them. They looked like they did not expect from me and gave us bad words too. I said, " come on, " with my hands were fists. I wasn't afraid of fighting them. But my friend's mom came in, and the teen kids ran away. Drats! I got a bad habit of flipping the birds to them when they made fun of me with their idiot signing from time to time. I wasn't afraid of them. Guess SOme of them found out who I was that they know who my siblings are and they back off at me. Iam the last fifth baby and used to fight with my brother on a daily basis. Thanks to my brother for shaping me up who i am as confident that I don't fear of hearing people.
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Unread 08-22-2011, 07:45 AM   #28
radioman
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wow! I never knew I could totally relate to many here on Alldeaf.... looks like we all were fighting the same battle, but never felt so alone till now.

my experience is simalar. I went to pre-k deaf school for 2 years, but I don't rememeber much of it. I remember couple bits and pieces but rest seems blocked out. my mother drove me nearly 50 miles each way everyday to pre k school .
Since k-12 I was in hearing school, I wouldnt call it mainstreamed as I was the only one there and I was the only deaf many hearing kids knew. Looking back There were many instances that I regret that I wished I manned up or learned from it, but I didnt know any better till I got into a deaf college all because I couldnt hear or understand what was happening. When I went to NTID, I was in a culture shock as I didn't know a single sign and I thought was in a zoo full of monkeys. over time, my perception changed, had to go thru mental teenage growing up to do again and couldnt be happier since. It's kinda like a second chance but had to be the late bloomer. I learned to sign on my own when I met a hoh girl in band I was playing in that I really liked and she told me I had to sign if I wanted to be with her.

Looking back now, its kinda a tossup if I should have resented my folks for keeping me in hearing school and stay home or go away to deaf school. I seem to be able to have a certain perception that many dont seem to have in both worlds.
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Unread 08-22-2011, 07:32 PM   #29
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I think a couple of things that would really improve the experiance of a dhh kid, is: Make sure that kids and parents know about the specialized schooling option, and that it's available to ALL dhh kids. I really do think too many parents think that " oh speech is enough, and my kid will get a superb education by being solotaired." I pretty much guanrentee you that if a lot of the parents of the dhh kids who are oral and solotaire knew about deaf schools or sizable formal programs, we'd have a ton of Deborahs......I think too that we need to offer a continum of placement.....Like, I, shel, bajagirl, jiro, and radioman may not have desperately needed ASL and placement at a deaf school, but neither did that mean that we couldn't have benifited strongly from attending a Deaf program or actually having teachers who KNEW how to teach kids like us. Solotairing SUCKS!
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Unread 08-23-2011, 12:48 AM   #30
Dixie
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I hated mainstream. I wished I had been transferred to ASD. I might have grown more socially. Instead, I was often isolated and taunted by the other kids because I was the class retard. No one wanted to be my friend, except for a few along the way that my parents didn't approve of or they simply just used me for their benefit.

I wasn't allowed to go on outings, I wasn't really allowed to socialize outside of school so therefore, I became socially awkward as I didn't know how to behave in certain social situations.

When my hearing deteriorated, instead of really being helped, I was slapped with ill-fitting HAs that I didn't like and at the same time I was slapped with braces and I was going through some really tough stuff at school. To me, at that time, I felt like I no longer had control over me. This led to a lot of self-hatred and self-destructive behavior. Even to this day I still struggle with these issues on a daily basis.

My parents were fed audist crap and they never consulted with me about how I felt about school. If I was failing, I was yelled at and told that I was just being lazy, even called slow. I was made to be ashamed of being D/HH. I was mainstreamed with no support services and I admit I struggled a lot. I felt like I had to work twice as hard as the other students just to get a simple 'B' in a class. Thankfully though I fell in love with reading and books so, I was able to work my way through that class with ease. I was even given an English Award that is given to graduating Seniors in front of my entire high school. It was the first award I had been given in years and still today I am proud of that award, even if it is just simply a small pin. To me, I felt like I had accomplished something.

I felt like I was unable to communicate. Like most people have posted, I just simply nodded my head. I would day dream, or whatever, but I was afraid to admit I was really D/HH because it would have been just one more thing for the other kids to make fun of me for

As mentioned before, I didn't have many friends. I had a few friends in elementary and middle school, but my parents never approved of them, so I was never allowed to hang out with them outside of school. By grade 8, all of my friends had moved away and I was left with people who would continuously taunt me for the rest of my school years.

I preferred the company of animals - dogs mostly - because to me a dog just accepted me unconditionally, they would just greet me with a wagging tail and a doggie-smile. People thought I was a little strange when I would let a stray dog follow me around town. The dog was looking for a friend and so was I, we just understood each other, but also understood our limitations.

When it came to people, I preferred the company of older people, people that were a little dorky. At least these people weren't so blatantly cruel to me.

Even now as an adult, I'm slowly finding friends who understand, and as I've said before those who don't understand and refuse to aren't my friends for very long.

I'm just glad I found AD when I did because it made me realize that I'm not in this alone. There's someone out there that's been in my shoes that really understands. For that, I am grateful for.
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