Alone in the Mainstream
A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
Series: Deaf Lives Series
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Editor’s Foreword: Alone and Together
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Gina Oliva’s Alone in the Mainstream inaugurates Gallaudet University Press’s “Deaf Lives” series. As the opening act for a series intended to feature contemporary autobiographies and biographies written by or about “modern” deaf and hard of hearing people, Oliva’s book offers us some of both related genres. In Alone in the Mainstream, Oliva...
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“I was the only one.” I have heard this comment over and over again during my thirty years at Gallaudet University. In the course of conversation with other deaf or hard of hearing adults, we would shortly discover that we had both spent our K–12 years as the single deaf or hard of hearing child in a regular school. Invariably,...
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Children of My Heart was the first title I envisioned for this book. In just four words, this phrase describes the depth of feeling I have for all deaf and hard of hearing children. Living with my father, who also had a hearing loss, intimately connected me with the controversies surrounding sign language, deaf history, and deaf children. Our...
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Like most of the kids who lived on my small town street circa 1955, I was destined to attend Cos Cob School, which was just up the street from our house on Mead Avenue. It was probably the third week of my kindergarten career, and Miss Voight’s class was having a...
2. Lessons from the Neighborhood
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Before I dive into what the Solitary Mainstream Project participants had to say in retrospect, I would first like to share some explorations and ruminations about our world—the world in which we found ourselves in the last half of the twentieth century. When I speak of...
3. A Glimpse at Everyday Life
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When my mother first read Deaf in America, a landmark book about the Deaf community, she objected to a term she came across—hearing person.1 “I don’t like being called a hearing person,” she said. “I’m just a person!” I explained to...
4. But Mom, I Hate Telling People!
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DISCLOSURE refers to the practice of deaf or hard of hearing people informing hearing people that they have a hearing loss. It is a term used when talking about interfacing with the world, and it is generally used by those...
5. Academically It Was Better Than a Deaf School,But Socially, Well . . .
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In those many conversations I had with adults who had been solitaires, perhaps the most pervasive theme was that their social lives had been discouraging, even dismal. Almost all of the books and articles I read verified as much. In their writings, project participants became conflicted trying to reconcile the advantages that their mainstream...
6. Social Life in Adulthood: The Oasis
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I have often marveled at how, in spite of obvious or subtle messages from family and society to the contrary, numerous solitaires decide in adulthood that they have a good deal to gain from association with other deaf and hard of hearing people and with hearing people who use sign language. They...
7. The Best of Both Worlds
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After I had been immersed within the Deaf community for about ten years, I got the itch to venture back out into the mainstream. I have since engaged myself in several such ventures, and it appears all were attempts to participate in some activity that was not available in the Deaf world. Each...
8. Alone in the Mainstream Again: Constructing Inclusion
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After I had been immersed within the Deaf community for about ten years, I got the itch to venture back out into the mainstream. I have since engaged myself in several such ventures, and it appears all were attempts to participate in some activity that was not available in the Deaf world....
9. Children of Our Hearts: A Change in the Neighborhood
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Bringing this book to a close has been difficult. The story is not complete. I am struck again by the lack of connection between and among solitaires who have faced great struggles yet have never found the oasis of the Deaf community...
Appendix: Research Methodology
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Selected Readings and Resources
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Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 10 photographs
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: Deaf Lives Series