We are collecting the good stuff at People of the Eye (POTE) so if you would like to send in your letter (ASL and/or English) to the Indiana Senate to post up here too so folks see your wisdom, courage, love, hope and faith that our legislative bodies still know how to serve the people rather than serve the special interest groups – post your letter in the comment sections or email it to me and I’ll create a new entry for it.
See previous entries for other letters and entries re: the hypocritical HB1367. Hypocritical because it calls for a new center for the Deaf and
Hearing Impaired Hard of Hearing hat would be NEUTRAL and UNBIASED when the sponsors for this new center are TOTALLY BIASED and NOT NEUTRAL. OY! What a waste of tax payers money to try to yank good, just and right services from one place to put it in a totally new space with new staff.
Thank you Dianrez for allowing me to reprint your thorough, just, and true letter here.
I am a Deaf professional, now retired, and have two grown children who are hearing and a Deaf son who is attending college at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in New York.
When my son was born, since I have a master’s degree in counseling, I proceeded to do due diligence in finding an appropriate program for my son. I investigated four programs: two in hearing public schools, one in a nursery school through twelfth grade state-funded program for disabled children, and one in the local school for the deaf. I also explored what the University audiology department could do for us.
I chose the school for the deaf. I recognized that they are the REAL experts. Both Deaf and Hearing professionals put my family and my son through parental support, home education, infant education, audiology services including fitting of aids, communication training, and schooling from age 3 months to age 18. I can wholeheartedly tell you that this was the best decision and I do not regret it for one second. Not only are staff at the School committed to their profession, they have a commitment to the community of deaf people at large and deep respect for Deaf adults. The staff at the other programs impressed me as superficially competent and committed: they work a 9 to 5 day and go home, responsibilities fully discharged and their work put away till the next day with no further thought. I wanted professionals who were concerned about the outcome of their work in the future Deaf adult.
I am a Deaf person and this may seem like a bias to you, but I am also a product of the educational system. I personally experienced the weaknesses of the oral-auditory system and the language of signs, and the pitfalls of inappropriate education. I live in the Deaf community, so I personally know many who were failed by the system: most were confined to oral education until age 8 or so, and then taught academics, reading, content, and thinking skills. This is a very late age to begin, even age 7 is late. I have for twenty years counseled and tried to rehabilitate these people, but many of them were so far behind in schooling by age 18 to 22 that they could not compete in the workplace nor in higher education. This is an unacceptable situation and can be laid directly at the steps of the “pure oral” philosophy being applied to all students. It is my strong conviction that a combined approach FROM INFANCY is best for all children, with the most effective techniques emphasized later on as they become evident for each individual child. This is independent of whatever devices or surgery has been applied to the child.
Here is a boilerplate letter from this point on, one that I completely agree with. Please review it again even if you have seen it before.
The points are especially relevant to what you are doing.
Please register my opposition to HB 1367 and Vote NO to this bill, rather than revamp or enhance already existing services at ISD’s Outreach.
I hope you will investigate House Bill 1367 deeply and listen to those of us that oppose it. Without justification based on facts, it takes a necessary service away from the ONLY state entity that is an expert in Deaf Education, the Indiana School for the Deaf, and gives OMB untrammeled discretion to set up a new agency at an unknown cost… all without having proven through official documentation that the existing entity isn’t doing the job that it was charged with. This bill is not a study. This bill is a predetermined action to dismantle services from ISD’s Outreach. It lacks transparency. It was created without Deaf professionals and Deaf people’s input. Once again For Deaf WITHOUT them. Please put the brakes on the bill.
This bill is NOT about parent Choice of options and services when it comes to Outreach services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. It is about gutting one state agency that is an expert in Deaf Education and Early Intervention, the Indiana School for the Deaf Outreach, to replace it with an unknown, unplanned, and unfunded agency under the SOLE direction of the Office of Management and Budget with no accountability to anyone.
This bill was based upon NO official OMB report on ISD’s Outreach and NO accurate fiscal analysis. This bill aims to gut ISD’s Outreach by reinventing the wheel with NO Plan instead of simply enhancing services that are already provided through ISD’s Outreach. This bill is not a Study Group…this bill creates a team SOLELY administered and overseen by OMB who has full authority to hire who they want and place this center wherever they like. This bill seriously leaves out Deaf/ASL Professionals. Deaf children WILL fall through the cracks without Deaf professionals.
* ASL means American Sign Language. A full language comparable to any spoken language. (One that is fully accessible and understood by children without usable hearing as compared to oral English, which is not fully accessible.)
§ ISD’s Outreach Holds NO Bias and DOES meet the resource needs of ALL Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Indiana. Deaf professionals work along hearing professionals to provide Best Practices in Early Intervention and Education. (I believe that a combined approach is the best in the beginning.)
§ ISD’s Outreach already works with DOE, DOH, FSSA, Early Steps, and even a private religious oral school called St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf.
§ ISD’s Outreach is separate from ISD “the school”. Don’t let them throw you off: ISD’s test scores are low because many students who are in mainstream who are failing get enrolled at ISD at a late ages…8, 12, 15 etc., many times middle school. By this time, they are so far behind in language and academics that it is almost impossible to catch them up. ISD tries its best BUT this still pulls ISD’s state test scores down. Those students that start at ISD at an early age, on the average, do VERY well on their state testing. So don’t be fooled. ISD is one of the top schools for the Deaf in the nation.
§ 90% of Deaf children come from hearing families. 80% are mainstreamed. There is N0 data on how many use ASL or spoken language or both.
§ Cochlear implants are not a cure. Many children with cochlear implants will not benefit from them or will later stop using them. The cochlear implant removes all hearing and when the cochlear implant breaks down or batteries fail, the child is left without any residual hearing.
§ St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf who provide services for ages 0 to 8 and Hear Indiana organization are advocate for oral only education and Outreach. This small private school does not provide for any ASL and in fact prohibits its use. ISD’s Outreach is inclusive of all approaches, languages, and opportunities for all ages of Deaf and Hard of Hearing from ages 0 to 21.
(Signed, full name plus degrees earned in colleges)