ASL for mainstreamed D/HOH kids?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by sansalmom, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. sansalmom

    sansalmom New Member

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    When I last visited, we were living as expats in El Salvador and had recently learned that our 4 y.o. is HOH (mild to moderate). We moved back to the U.S. to get services, and we have him in a great public school "contained classroom" program for D/HOH. He's almost six and will start kindergarten in fall 2013 (after two years of intensive preschool with D/HOH specialists). We are thrilled with his program, but my one nagging doubt is that we had to choose oral vs. cued speech vs. total communication/ASL. We chose oral because at the time, our little one didn't speak English (he spoke other languages due to our extended time overseas). Also, the experts at the school said that he would do well in oral because his loss is mild (so mild, in fact, that we didn't know he was HOH until age 4). At the preschool level, the oral/cued/ASL kids are all in one classroom for a portion of the day, but nevertheless, our son shows no interest in signing. Our other two children (hearing) show much more interest in learning ASL (we have the "Signing Time" videos and our hearing 7 year old is learning new signs on the special ed bus).

    Here's the issue - how can parents of D/HOH kids who are mainstreamed help their kids learn ASL? It would be terrific if there were more resources for parents who want their kids to be primarily oral (as in our case, where his loss is mild-moderate), while at the same time giving them a foundation in ASL (to help with Deaf culture and to avoid the challenges of second language learning later in life). I've tried to learn ASL through classes and online, but my bad signing isn't really going to help my son. We live in the D.C. area, with a huge Deaf community, but I don't know how to break into that culture (I have considered going to the Deaf Church in our neighborhood or ASL meet-ups but I worry I wouldn't fit in). Any suggestions?
     
  2. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    Well it's good that he's in Deaf ed, and will have exposure to Signing Deaf kids, as well as HOH peers and teachers of the Deaf. Plus I think that a specialized placement is SO much better then an inclusive placement.....
    Maybe he hasn't made the connection between "I can talk with sign" with my hearing aids off yet. Spoken language is still pretty easy around this age......Maybe a good idea would be to sign to him, when he has his aids off, so that something might click.......You could make it seem like a cool secret language.
    Going to a Deaf church would be an AWESOME idea! Maybe there's Deaf playgroups and so on and so on!
     
  3. shel90

    shel90 Audist are not welcome Premium Member

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    You can try enrolling your son at the summer camp at Kendall in DC.
    Try contacting Maryland School for the Deaf for any Deaf events in Maryland and Fairfax County Public schools because they have a strong BiBi Deaf program at one of the elementary schools (Mantua).
     
  4. sansalmom

    sansalmom New Member

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    Thank you! I'll try all of the above!
     
  5. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    I do think that your son may become more interested in ASL as time goes on. I remember being that age and thinking " Oh I can HEAR!" As spoken language gets harder, he may find Sign to be valuable. Even kids with a real knack for oral skills, often find ASL to be a wonderful social tool.
    I really think that instead of oral skills being the be all and end all, they should then learn ASL as a second language. Like the old oralism used to be " oralize them and that's the ONLY thing that they'll need. They can just assimulate into the hearing world." Why not change that to " ASL is also VERY useful in a lot of ways too!" The debate seems to be over which language should be a dhh kid's first language. Personally, I think they deserve BOTH if possible.
     
  6. StevieMont927

    StevieMont927 Member

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    I found that when I made signing a game with my niece, she likes it a lot more, and picks up on it better. She's hearing, but she was late speaking so I taught her sign. Now that she doesn't rely on it to communicate, she's somewhat reluctant to learn at times (Though, after seeing me talk to my Deaf roommate with my hands, she tries to do the same). I and my roomie made it a game, though, and she picked up on it, and actually uses it sometimes.

    Kids'll pay a LOT of attention to games.
     
  7. Acrobat

    Acrobat New Member

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    There are a couple of Facebook groups/pages where you can find info on events. Look for "MD, DC, VA Deaf and ASL Events" for listings of many activities your family could participate in. Also, look for "Deaf Camps, Inc" which hosts Deaf camps in the summer in Maryland. They are having a signing Easter Bunny and egg hunt coming up in Baltimore as a fundraiser for their scholarship program and they also host a Family ASL weekend where the whole family can work on ASL skills.

    ASDC has a wonderful, wonderful national conference. The great thing about this conference is the children and teen program. While parents are going to seminars and learning about advocating for their children, the kids (deaf and hearing siblings) all have activities that include strengthening ASL skills and having fun too. This year's conference is in Phoenix in June and i think next years conference is in the Northeast...We had a great time when they had the conference in Frederick and I can't wait for our son to make lifetime friends from around the country.

    HTH!
     
  8. CSign

    CSign New Member

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    If you continue to sign and take classes, your signing will improve. It just requires a commitment to doing it. The interactions with your son carry far more weight than you realize. If you sign with and around him, it most defintely will have a positive impact. As others suggested, try getting involved with meets and programs your local (?) school for the deaf offers.

    Fluency takes time. You can and will get there if you make it a part of your day to day routine.
     
  9. MCB

    MCB Member

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    He may be absorbing more receptively, than you realize. Remember that receptive language skills develop before expressive.
     
  10. CSign

    CSign New Member

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    Taking that thought one step further... Even for DHH children who have had regular exposure to spoken and signed language, they may have acquired good oral skills and dropped the expressive sign when engaging with others (especially hearing people).

    Just because they have generally dropped their expressive sign, that doesn't mean they have necessarily chosen the "oral route". Their need for receptive access to language remains unchanged.

    That's one of the bigger misconceptions I've encountered with many parents over the years. They think that because their child is talking they don't need or want the sign- and often times that's just not the case.

    There is a big difference between expressive and receptive language.
     
  11. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    AMEN!!!!!!! The thing is, not everyone has an easy to understand voice........I remember when I was in college, my hearing friends would have to remember how to modify their speech patterns so I could hear them easier. The world is not a soundbooth.......
     
  12. Bebonang

    Bebonang Active Member

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    There is one question I need to ask you about your son. Can your son be able to understand what the hearing teacher and the hearing students including the oral deafs involving the topic of the subject that the hearing teacher teach without signing in the classroom? If he get confused or about to get frustrated trying to understand what the hearing people said, then that is why it is important to have ASL so that he can understand the ASL interpreters. It is like one way street if he can not make out what they said. I know it is mild to moderate hearing loss but still he might not be able to get it if he try to lipread them. Oral deaf can make out only 30% of the words or sentences and a lot of guessing trying to figure out what the teacher were saying. I really would like the Deaf school better than the mainstream school because they have Deaf teachers and some interpreters (not all). If he can immerse in ASL, then that is great. Yes, I would like for you to learn ASL as best as you can sign around with your son.

    So welcome to AllDeaf here. :D
     

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