Follow Your Child's Lead

by Karen Mayes
(Indiana)

Hi, I'd like to share one thing...

Both of my children are mainstreamed (well, my daughter onestreamed full time and my son mainstreamed part time, he atttends ISD on a part time basis for "soft classes" such as gym, art, and ASL/Deaf Studies.) I keep in touch with their teachers and their support team... I listen to my kids as they relate their experiences to me. As for mainstreaming part, my daughter has been asking for it for a long time so I let her go mainstreaming to experience it. She is thriving, having friends, going to girl scouting, and wants to join Math Pentalthon after school. Yet she plays basketball with other deaf kids at YMCA and hangs out with deaf families. She is a happy girl... so far. I am fully aware that things could change over the time and I don't want her to feel "stuck". She is hard of hearing and has an ASL interpreter.

As for my son, who is late-deafened, was once a full time onestreamed student until he requested to go back to ISD. We quickly learned that he was a native English user, a strong aural learner, which ISD could not accept him as a full time student, so we agreed on the dual enrollment which has quickly turned out to be the best decision. He is averaging A's and B's in core academic classes at a local middle school and just plain average B's in ISD's classes (I guess he views ISD as a place to relax and not to take it seriously, as a place for socialization.) He uses CART at the local middle school and relies heavily on FM system (he likes it more than having an interpreter.) He also aced the state exams, which he had been doing (passing easily) that since 3rd grade.

But both already have strong foundations for languages and parents need to work closely with the teachers, adminsistration, etc. and to be sensitive to the child's needs as a whole child.

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