Preparing 8and worrying) for kindergarten...

messymama

Member
Ok, so my little boy is going to start preschool in September. He'll turn 3yo in October, so he'll be very young and won't have any speech at all, I hope he'll be able to use some sign by then (he's practicing a lot in these days, I'm sure he's good at comprehension but it's always hard to tell due to his relational issues).

Here we have nothing but mainstream, which I'm not a big fan of (doesn't work well even for my hearing daughter who is 5 and already hates school :roll:). He'll go in the same class as her, they'll share one year together, hoping the school won't choose to split them apart, which would be a problem since the other class has a completely crazy teacher... Oh, well.

He'll have two teachers (hearing without a clue on deafness) and we asked to have what we could call a "terp" for all the hours he stays at school (9-13 from mon to fri). This person will stay with him, sign to him, take him to speech therapy and work together with therapist, and become a link between child, teachers and classmates for all his school years, hopefully until the end of primary school. This person, unfortunately, will too be hearing: no deaf terps in our town or any town close to ours.

Now, the way these terps are assigned is quite complicated and confused (typical Italian style confusion). Basically, we could give some preference to one person, but to do so we must ask a favor to a woman who works in this field and has helped us before.

The problem is, me and this woman don't agree on the person to choose. I don't want to fight with her and I trust her experience, but I feel the terp is an extremely important role for my son in this moment, and the way he'll approach to school next September will be very important for him socially and emotionally. I think I should be able to participate in that choice, and I'm feeling kinda "left out". May just be my anxiety to have everything in control (I don't trust school and I'm quite worried, I must admit - remember I was a homeschooling fan before beginning this Deaf journey).

The problem is, she is suggesting a woman terp who she already worked with, experienced, probably with a different idea of education from us parents (we are the parenting freaks here you know) and, what worries me the most, she uses a different sign language.

italian sign language is not already recognized as a real language, we are fighting for that, and so every town is still using its own particular language - terps included! But they're working hard to promote a single Italian Sign Language, and that is the one we, the parents, are learning and using with the child on a daily basis. The two languages differs in MANY signs, even basic ones like "father" or "teacher".

That's why I want a younger terp: I know two of them, a man (which wouldn't be bad since my boy is already surrounded by ladies) and a woman (which is quite a friend by now and shares some of my views on education, not all of them, but I like how she relates with my son). They're at their first job this year so no experience (even if both already have little experience with older deaf children), but they have so much enthusiasm and respect for Deaf Culture. And, what matters the most, they sign like we do.

So my question is: what do you think? Is it me not understanding the importance of experience? Is it true that, to a deaf child, it's easy to adapt to different signing (that's what I've been told)? Is this true even with a child with other issues like mine? I'm afraid if we stress him on signing he'll just give up. I don't think it's good for us to change now, since Italian Sign Language is the future indeed.

What would you value the most: experience or type of language?

I don't know if it will really be likely for me to participate in this decision, but if I'll be able to, I want to be clear about what I want for my son.
 

missywinks

New Member
Ok, so my little boy is going to start preschool in September. He'll turn 3yo in October, so he'll be very young and won't have any speech at all, I hope he'll be able to use some sign by then (he's practicing a lot in these days, I'm sure he's good at comprehension but it's always hard to tell due to his relational issues).

Here we have nothing but mainstream, which I'm not a big fan of (doesn't work well even for my hearing daughter who is 5 and already hates school :roll:). He'll go in the same class as her, they'll share one year together, hoping the school won't choose to split them apart, which would be a problem since the other class has a completely crazy teacher... Oh, well.

He'll have two teachers (hearing without a clue on deafness) and we asked to have what we could call a "terp" for all the hours he stays at school (9-13 from mon to fri). This person will stay with him, sign to him, take him to speech therapy and work together with therapist, and become a link between child, teachers and classmates for all his school years, hopefully until the end of primary school. This person, unfortunately, will too be hearing: no deaf terps in our town or any town close to ours.

Now, the way these terps are assigned is quite complicated and confused (typical Italian style confusion). Basically, we could give some preference to one person, but to do so we must ask a favor to a woman who works in this field and has helped us before.

The problem is, me and this woman don't agree on the person to choose. I don't want to fight with her and I trust her experience, but I feel the terp is an extremely important role for my son in this moment, and the way he'll approach to school next September will be very important for him socially and emotionally. I think I should be able to participate in that choice, and I'm feeling kinda "left out". May just be my anxiety to have everything in control (I don't trust school and I'm quite worried, I must admit - remember I was a homeschooling fan before beginning this Deaf journey).

The problem is, she is suggesting a woman terp who she already worked with, experienced, probably with a different idea of education from us parents (we are the parenting freaks here you know) and, what worries me the most, she uses a different sign language.

italian sign language is not already recognized as a real language, we are fighting for that, and so every town is still using its own particular language - terps included! But they're working hard to promote a single Italian Sign Language, and that is the one we, the parents, are learning and using with the child on a daily basis. The two languages differs in MANY signs, even basic ones like "father" or "teacher".

That's why I want a younger terp: I know two of them, a man (which wouldn't be bad since my boy is already surrounded by ladies) and a woman (which is quite a friend by now and shares some of my views on education, not all of them, but I like how she relates with my son). They're at their first job this year so no experience (even if both already have little experience with older deaf children), but they have so much enthusiasm and respect for Deaf Culture. And, what matters the most, they sign like we do.

So my question is: what do you think? Is it me not understanding the importance of experience? Is it true that, to a deaf child, it's easy to adapt to different signing (that's what I've been told)? Is this true even with a child with other issues like mine? I'm afraid if we stress him on signing he'll just give up. I don't think it's good for us to change now, since Italian Sign Language is the future indeed.

What would you value the most: experience or type of language?

I don't know if it will really be likely for me to participate in this decision, but if I'll be able to, I want to be clear about what I want for my son.
This is a difficult post to respond to because it sounds like you do not have much choice in Italy.

The best environment for a deaf child is to be with a Deaf teacher who is fluent in the country's sign language and for the child to be surrounded by "like peers" because most of their learning comes from peers not only their teacher. This is how children learn social skills. This is very limited, if not impossible, in a mainstreamed environment. Incidential learning experience is so important and something that cannot be experienced if the environment isn't accessible.

You brought up the point of being concerned your child is resistance to language- it is probably because you or the school is making a big issue of it because he is not able to learn the language naturally. If your child was in an environment where everyone used the language, he probably would not have an issue because it is the "norm".

As for the issue of which language to teach your son...that is a challenging one. Maybe check with the Deaf Community in Italy and see which sign language they use. I guess it would depend on the resources your son's school has to offer as well. Again, I think he should be surrounded with other deaf students and learn the same language as them as he would be "growing up" with them for the next couple of years.

Good luck with everything.
 

messymama

Member
Well, I knew this was a hard one :roll:
School has no resources at all. Only terp, and another special ed teacher who probably knows nothing about deafness.

I agree with you that he should be surrounded by his peers, and a deaf teacher or terp would help, too. But... There's nothing like that here! In our town there are maybe other 2 or 3 deaf kids that are around his age, plus some others that are way older. Almost all of them are oral only. The closest SL school is more than 2 hours away. No choice for us...

I guess I'll talk with that woman again, and make clear that I want him to learn italian SL first... That's what young people is learning. And is what we already use, no need to make such a mess with sign language now.

It makes me so upset that, from what I'm learning here, we have the worst possible situation here... He'll be the only deaf in a school full of hearing :( , hearing family, hearing sister... Sounds so lonely!!!
Our speech therapist will make him meet other two signing kids (brothers, with Deaf parents), but to give them a chance to become friends we'll have to try to become friends with their parents. I hope we'll like each other because I guess there won't ever be another chance like that :lol:

His resistance is not related to language only, but about every kind of relation, especially if it's coming from others to him - doesn't look at faces, or hands, or lips, he's very very controlled and that even before dx. I think it's a matter of personality (or very functional autism, I dunno). He never let it go, except if you are VERY empathic and playful and respect his times (which you know, therapists are not always good at). He gave small but good responses to sounds at the beginning with his HA, even said some words, then they started to up the volume and he stopped everything. Goes better now, with new HA, but he seems to have come to the conclusion that all this sound thing is not very interesting at all :roll:
Had a bad experience at the hospital, and never collaborate again there... Doesn't cry or fuss: he just cut you out, and doesn't forget anything. He's really a though one(did I mention I'm hopelessly in love with him??)!! That's why I'm a bit anxious about making another mistake now. He needs to socialize so bad, but I wonder how, in such an environment.

Maybe I'd just have to follow my instinct without thinking too much about it. :hmm:

Oh well. We'll do our best, and that's all what we can do for now, I guess.
 

missywinks

New Member
I wonder if it would be worth trying to connect with the other parents with deaf kids even though they are oral...? Sometimes parents choose the oralism method because it is the only thing available in their area. You could even include the deaf parents for their insight...I would be curious to know where they went to school when they grew up, and maybe they could suggest something else as they would know the area more.

I think it is great that you are willing to meet the deaf parents and their CODA children.

Good luck with everything. Do keep us updated!
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
The closest SL school is more than 2 hours away. No choice for us...
Any chance of moving? That is very hard to believe that you guys don't even have regional dhh/partial hearing unit programs.
Seriously, I would look into moving maybe....I don't believe in sending a little kid to the dorms, unless there are very extunatating circumstances. I do think older kids can benifit (like old enough to stay overnight with someone) ..
It makes me so upset that, from what I'm learning here, we have the worst possible situation here... He'll be the only deaf in a school full of hearing , hearing family, hearing sister... Sounds so lonely!!!
Our speech therapist will make him meet other two signing kids (brothers, with Deaf parents), but to give them a chance to become friends we'll have to try to become friends with their parents. I hope we'll like each other because I guess there won't ever be another chance like that
Oh I agree! I mean you guys don't even have special education preschools!!!!! I do agree with talking to the Deaf parents and see if they might know of anything available. It's good you have that......some of us were just thrown to the wolves, with NO advice from someone who had been there and done that.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Oh wow...that sounds like a really tough situation.

What are the laws in Italy regarding to Deaf education?
 

rivenoak

New Member
Premium Member
Had a bad experience at the hospital, and never collaborate again there... Doesn't cry or fuss: he just cut you out, and doesn't forget anything...Oh well. We'll do our best, and that's all what we can do for now, I guess.
I understand.

While my son never had a bad experience, he was very scared of the audiologist's sound booth. It took until this spring, age 5.5, before we could get a complete set of tests because he would just shut down.

He would close his eyes so he couldn't see, cover them with his hands, and that was that.

We have the most patient audiologist in the world and she has made small steps with him since he was a few months old. He has seen other audiologists (school district, deaf school, etc), but will only cooperate with her. He shut down even earlier for anyone else.

Some people would criticize us for not forcing this earlier, but I found it was best for him to do it on his own time. We'd take whatever results we could get on a given day and that was good enough.

You do know your son better than anyone else. And you're right, all you can do is your best right now, this day. :hug:
 

messymama

Member
Any chance of moving? That is very hard to believe that you guys don't even have regional dhh/partial hearing unit programs
I'm not sure about what you mean. By law, we can have a person called "communication assistant" (who knows SL), a special ed teacher and an "educator". These 3 persons usually share the school hours with the kid, together with all the other students of his class and his teachers.

Educator is not always necessary for deaf kids, special ed teacher is granted by the law and is the only one that can make choices about didactics (e.g. choosing to separate the kid from class during some lessons to work with him in a one-to-one way). The comm. assistant works on communication only, since it's the only one to know SL. Special ed teacher usually have no specialization and can have absolutely no idea of what a deaf kid needs. The two should work together, but usually, since schools have money, they share the school hours (usually half for each).

Since our son is not likely to talk anytime soon, and we have no idea of what he actually grasps with his HAs, we absolutely NEED the comm. assist. for all the school hours. We asked for that, asking only the minimum required hours with special ed teacher (who is useless at this point). But we'll know what the State will give us only at the beginning of school! So our son may enter in school without a terp, and we may have to go through legals to obtain what we owe by law! In the meanwhile... :dunno:

See why I worry?????

No, changing town and job unfortunately is not an option, especially in this times of crisis. My husband and I have a shop and we are still paying for debts since we had some problems last year (robbery). We hardly make one wage working both in it!!! No way we could escape now, we tried to sell the shop and are still trying but no way until now.

It's really hard to read your bad experience in mainstreaming and to think I'm about to do the same with my son...
 

Speedy Hawk

New Member
Yeah it hard to read about mainstreaming experience thinking might happen to your son but at least you know what to look out for cos many parents don't and they usually ignore the signs.

Hopefully that will never happen to your son. I hope it all works out in the end.
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
It's really hard to read your bad experience in mainstreaming and to think I'm about to do the same with my son...
At least you are aware that he will face problems and issues. A lot of us were thrown to the wolves. And boy oh boy we thought mainstreaming here in the States was bad! :shock: What I mean by dhh programs, is a formal educational program that is at a mainstream school, specificly for dhh kids. There are teachers specificly trained to teach dhh kids, and fluent in ASL etc.
I cannot believe there's nothing for general special ed. Here in the states for preschool and kindergarten, there are programs for kids with all sorts of disasbilties to get specialized instruction. Something like that would be much better then doing a solotaire placement. But still....I wonder if you could make do until he's old enough to do a dorm placement. Like if you do a lot of out of school enrichement stuff, he could get through the first few years.
 

jillio

New Member
I wonder if it would be worth trying to connect with the other parents with deaf kids even though they are oral...? Sometimes parents choose the oralism method because it is the only thing available in their area. You could even include the deaf parents for their insight...I would be curious to know where they went to school when they grew up, and maybe they could suggest something else as they would know the area more.

I think it is great that you are willing to meet the deaf parents and their CODA children.

Good luck with everything. Do keep us updated!
Love that suggestion. Parental support groups are very valuable resouces. And you are absolutely right. Messymama could well be the way to show them that oral only isn't all that is available. I think she would make a wonderful mentor, from what I have seen.
 

messymama

Member
Yes I'm living in Italy... I've read the story of Jordan, but our situation is quite different. I've been to the audi yesterday and he (like us) thinks that the problem now is about my son's relational difficulty more that about hearing itself... He seems to hear 40-50db on speech frequencies, but still don't show any interest. He thinks too that a CI wouldn't change anything. He recommended to do all the tests to know the cause of deafness (that may give him more informations on his residual hearing) and to go ahead with signing as much as we can.
That relational problem is one of the reasons I'm worrying about school. Oh well, we'll see while we go ahead and if it will be too hard for him, we'll find another solution... Don't know which one but when needed, you find them, right?
 

jillio

New Member
Yes I'm living in Italy... I've read the story of Jordan, but our situation is quite different. I've been to the audi yesterday and he (like us) thinks that the problem now is about my son's relational difficulty more that about hearing itself... He seems to hear 40-50db on speech frequencies, but still don't show any interest. He thinks too that a CI wouldn't change anything. He recommended to do all the tests to know the cause of deafness (that may give him more informations on his residual hearing) and to go ahead with signing as much as we can.
That relational problem is one of the reasons I'm worrying about school. Oh well, we'll see while we go ahead and if it will be too hard for him, we'll find another solution... Don't know which one but when needed, you find them, right?
Don't fret yourself too much. Many problems will show similar symptoms. Have you noticed any other symptoms that would indicate relational problems?

And keep in mind as well, just because he may be able (or so the audi says) to perceive sound at a specific level does not mean he is able to discriminate that sound into something meaningful. If it is not meaningful to him, he will ignore it. All deaf children will do this.
 

messymama

Member
Well, what makes us think about relational problems is the fact that he doesn't use much sign/gesture too. He tends to run away from relation - of any kind. I think he gets very emotional and thus close up communication. Me and my father were the same when we were kids (and we still have to work on this) but being hearing it was easier. He also has some repeating actions and other things. No biggie though - but I feel like we have to watch our steps because if he closes up, it becomes very difficult for him to feel secure again. And since he's not so relational from the start, it can be easy not to notice when he's closing... It happened before so I know we have to be very careful on this. He needs to feel accepted and secure in his relations so that he can understand it's possible for him to join without being hurt. When he'll feel comfortable he'll overcome all difficulties... I think having deaf peers around will be VERY important for him, and since school can't provide that, we'll have to do it someway. He's still young but from next year on I'll have to work to find places and situations where he can stay with his peers, too.
 

deafdyke

Well-Known Member
That relational problem is one of the reasons I'm worrying about school. Oh well, we'll see while we go ahead and if it will be too hard for him, we'll find another solution... Don't know which one but when needed, you find them, right?
On the other hand, I think if you have a lot of out of school Deaf extracurriculars, that could more then make up for the lack of Deaf programming. A LARGE part of the problem with my mainstreaming experiance, was that I was totally and completely immersed in the hearing world. Also, if you haven't already done so, contact the Sign school and see if they might have outreach etc.....What about relatives etc? Do you have any relatives who may live near better Deaf ed resources? Maybe you could send your son to live with them, so he can get an education...That would be really hard....but MUCH better then dorming it...you could try to see him a lot etc if you opted for that...Just a suggestion. Too bad you couldn't come immigrate to the US or to another country where Sign Ed is much healthier.
 

messymama

Member
Well, I have no realtives out of this town, and I don't know if I would be likely to send my son away from home. It would be a good solution in theory, but he is so small and I don't want him to think we are sending him away because he's "different" from us... While his hearing sister have all her parents by herself... Being immersed in the Deaf world is important, but the people he loves the most now are hearing and this can't be changed or ignored. So for now the best we can do is to meet as many deaf families as we can and to see if we can create a group of peers to play together, etc. When he'll get older, it will be easier, since he'll be able to choose his own friends and he won't need us parents as much any more.
I think it's very important for us now to meet many deaf adults too, a lot of them are our same age and have children, we met a Deaf family from a town not too far from ours and we'd love to meet more often. Step by step, we'll build up a bilingual/bicultural environment ... At least, I hope so!
 
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