Thursday, September 6, 2007

Growing up Deaf - Part 10

Going to School - Grades 1-5

In first grade, I had this deaf oral classroom, and at the end of the year they told mom and dad that I didn't need to attend deaf classes at all. For the next few years, I'd be tested in my English skills, and was always reading and writing at or above my grade level. I had the hearing tests as well.

In second and third grades in Florida, I attended this small Christian school. I did pretty well there and everyone pretty much accepted me it seemed. But this is where some things ended. It was the beginning of my being picked last for anything. The kids would kick the ball high into the air, and we'd compete to catch it. Many times, someone would go in front of me and interfere with my catching.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my parents were told not to use sign/ASL, but to keep me talking as they were afraid that if I was to learn sign, I would quit talking. It seems no one thought of total communications long ago. It was either oral or sign. I didn't learn sign til starting around fifth grade.

Adoptive mom and I can't seem to talk much about it or go into it too much without us breaking down. It's still an emotional issue with us even today seeing how much I missed while being mainstreamed and not gone to a deaf school. Even though I did have deaf classes, it was only in the first and fifth grades, and even then, they were oral classes and didn't allow any sign to be used. It was also around sixth and seventh when I was in a deaf class with total/simultaneous communications, despite my other classes being with hearing classmates. My last two years of high school had a homeroom with other deaf.

I'd always be sitting at the head of the class, first desk in front. The good thing is that I'd usually be taking part in other classroom activities. That particular seating arrangement would never change all through my school years.

Then we moved again, staying in Florida. Fourth and fifth grades were with a deaf-oral class. There was still no socialization with other deaf except here. I had a second class with some other hearing students. It wasn't unusual for me to go to lunch before those in the deaf class and then go to the hearing class. It was here in this class that I didn't miss things and was able to communicate well with the others.

Next - Attending middle school.

1 comment:

ASL Risen said...

I remember one summer, my mom did warned other mom of Irish mainstream hard of hearing daughter not to use sign language with me during the summer time before I was going to be 6th grade. I was so happy to meet her first time and finally got to know her where she lives. She did used sign language while talking the same time to me without our parents watching us. We rode our bikes to visit each other and other places like Park, tennis court and ice cream store.

But I was shocked that she did enrolled my Deaf Oral Catholic Residential school, SJI in St. Louis when I was 7th grade. She had hard time making friends at the dorm but I did gave her advise to take time. I did asked her why she came to SJI for. She did told me that her parents do not want her to use sign language anymore! Duh? My fault??