Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just when I thought the internet was boring!

The governor has a line item on his budget giving half a million to a special interest group.  Nothing new.  But in this instance it is for deaf education.  Deaf education as it is practiced in 2 private schools that serve 190 students total, getting an additional $2631 per pupil.

So it got me back into the discussion that I haven't been interested in for 3 years.  Deaf education.  I'm interested in G's education.  We've been blessed to have a smooth transition to a wonderful situation for him.  He goes to the state school for the deaf a few hours each day.  He talks at home and signs at school.  He goes to private speech therapy willingly, and signs at church.  He walks this line of hearing and deaf, and sometimes it is hard. 

M's main exposure to school is G's school.  Today we attended a party with the elementary kids.  Several of the girls M's age were sweetly curious about who she is.  I try to remind M to sign so they know she's cool.  So they know she's a potential friend.  Luckily one very outgoing kindergartener V goes to the same speech therapy office as G, so M and her are hugging friends.  And V's friends become M's friends too.

Today we went to a bottle rocket event at the library.  (Our library has the coolest programs for kids ever.  I love those librarians.)  So there was G, chatting it up with the other hearing kids, and the librarians, totally comfortable.  Did they understand everything?  I don't know.  But he felt comfortable. 

After much discussion on the budget line item, I just think it's typical lobbying.  The advocates for these 2  schools got the line written so that only they would get the money.  G's school gets a lot of money too, and I'm so grateful.  I think the leaders of those schools are jerks, but as far as government funding, they are only doing what others have done before them, serve their own interests.

And it is important for deaf kids to have choices.  Like more than one kid to be friends with.  The thread of the discussion got me thinking about kids who come to the school late.  Maybe their parents weren't able to decide that signing was necessary until they were 4 years behind in speech acquisition.  Maybe they just couldn't move, and didn't want to send their kids to a residential situation.  Even by 3rd grade, those kids who come from small programs, or even mainstreamed, have spent 7 years being ostracized.  And even if they miraculously have on grade language skills, their social habits will be so messed up. 

We were able to get G here to start Kindergarten.  He's already had 3 years with the expanding cohort of kids.  His kindergarten was 5 boys.  Now there are 20 kids in his 2nd grade split between 2 classes.

In pre-K he was the only child in his year that signed.  There were 3 kids in the 3 years above him that were deaf and signing, but G was at and above their language level.  And he couldn't even be with them because he was pre-k and they were in the grades.

It's amazing how wonderful our life is.  We don't have to fight for anything.  G's getting wonderful access to friends, language, legos...  M's face glows when she plays all the twinkle variations with no mistakes.  lP is learning that a gentle hand on mom's arm, and a quiet voice will get her almost anything, but not a second visit from mom in the evening.  P's personal cell phone tower replacement came in the mail today.  The song bird clock my Mom gave me for my early birthday present is delightful and pleasantly surprising (we're never home for the Jay call!).  Now we just need to have a baby.  Did I tell you his name is going to be B? 

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