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Communication Access for Deaf Children
In 1982, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Amy Rowley, a deaf six-year-old, was not entitled to have a sign language interpreter in her public school classroom. Lawrence M. Siegel wholeheartedly disagrees with this decision in his new book The Human Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children. Instead, he contends that the United States Constitution should protect every deaf and hard of hearing child’s right to communication and language as part of an individual’s right to liberty. Siegel argues that when a deaf or hard of hearing child sits alone in a crowded classroom and is unable to access the rich and varied communication around her, the child is denied any chance of success in life. In The Human Right to Language, Siegel proposes that the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution be enforced so that Amy Rowley and her peers can possess that which virtually every other American child takes for granted – the right to receive and express thought in school. He asserts that the common notion of a right to “speech” is too infrequently interpreted in the narrowest sense as the right to “speak” rather than the broader right to receive and transmit information in all ways. Siegel reveals that there are no judicial decisions or laws that recognize this missing right, and offers here a legal and constitutional strategy for change. His well-reasoned hypothesis and many examples of deaf children with inadequate communication access in school combine to make a compelling case for changing the status quo.
Interviews and Analysis
While many researchers focus on the educational development of deaf children, precious little time has been devoted to studying the child’s social development and “self-concept.” Conducting interviews with seven deaf children between the ages of 7 and 10, author Martha Sheridan offers a fresh look at the private thoughts and feelings of deaf children in Inner Lives of Deaf Children: Interviews and Analysis. “What does it mean to be a child who is deaf or hard of hearing?” Sheridan asks in the beginning of her study. She turns to Danny, Angie, Joe, Alex, Lisa, Mary, and Pat for the answer. The author selected the children based on their unique cultural background and conversed with each child in his or her preferred method of communication. Her procedure remained consistent with each: in addition to standard questions, Sheridan asked each child to draw a picture based on their life and then tell a story about it; next, she showed them pictures clipped from a magazine and asked them to describe what they saw. The results proved to be as varied as they are engaging. Angie, an adopted, profoundly deaf, ten-year-old girl who communicates in Signed English, expressed a desire to attend a hearing college when she grows up, while also stating she hopes her own children will be deaf. Joe, an African-American, ten-year-old, hard-of-hearing boy, drew pictures of deaf people who are teased in public school, reflecting his own difficult experiences. Sheridan draws upon her tenure as a social worker as well as her own experience as a deaf child growing up in a hearing family in analyzing her study's results. “From listening to the voices of these children we learn that they do not always see themselves, their lifeworlds, and their experiences as researchers have traditionally described them,” she writes. “These children have strengths, they have positive experiences, and they enjoy positive relationships.” With evident devotion to her subjects, Sheridan renders Inner Lives of Deaf Children an enlightening read for parents and scholars alike.
Debates and Challenges
Margret A. Winzer and Kas Mazurek combine two disciplines in this collection, comparative and international studies and special education, to explore the ways that diverse nations respond to persons who are exceptional. Their learned contributors also explore the changing parameters of special education, employing comparative studies theories and methods to document, explore, discuss, and analyze social and educational inclusion. International Practices in Special Education: Debates and Challenges travels the world to examine the progress of special education, from inclusive reform in Canada, “education for all” in the United Kingdom, the reform-restructure-renew movement in Poland to the journey from awareness to action in the United States. Chapters describe the challenges and opportunities in the United Arab Emirates; conflicts regarding educational welfare in South Korea; new perspectives on special needs and inclusive education in Japan; facing inclusion in India; making the invisibles visible in Pakistan; problems and prospects in Nigeria; special needs education in Ethiopia; and the developments, prospects, and demands of special education in a rising China. “One step forward, two steps backward” describes Israel’s special education issues. Germany’s special education receives an international perspective; and education policy and pedagogy for students with disabilities in Australia, completes the analyses in this remarkable, comprehensive work of scholarship.
New Perspectives on Language and Deaf Education
Of the more than 400 studies presented at the 18th International Congress on Education of the Deaf, the 20 most incisive papers were selected, rewritten, and edited to construct the trenchant volume Issues Unresolved: New Perspectives on Language and Deaf Education. The resulting book provocatively challenges the invested reader in four critical areas of deaf education worldwide. Part 1, Communication: Signed and Spoken Languages, addresses matters that range from considering critical periods for language acquisition, researched by Susan D. Fischer, to assessing the impact of immigration policies on the ethnic composition of Australia’s deaf community, intriguing work by Jan Branson and Don Miller. Part 2, Communication: Accessibility to Speech, continues the debate with works on the perception of speech by deaf and hard of hearing children, contributed by Arthur Boothroyd, and automatic speech recognition and its applications, delineated by Harry Levitt. Educational issues are brought to the forefront in Part 3 in such engrossing studies as Lea Lurie and Alex Kozulin’s discourse on the application of an instrumental-enrichment cognitive intervention program with deaf immigrant children from Ethiopia. Stephen Powers offers another perspective in this section with his retrospective evaluation of a distance education training course for teachers of the deaf. Part 4, Psychological and Social Adjustment reviews progress in this area, with Anne de Klerk’s exposition on the Rotterdam Deaf Awareness Program, and Corinne J. Lewkowitz and Lynn S. Liben’s research on the development of deaf and hearing children’s sex-role attitudes and self-endorsements. These and the many other contributions by renowned international scholars in the field make Issues Unresolved a compelling new standard for all involved in deaf education.
Contexts and Practice for Students with Special Needs
The book provides theoretical perspectives and practical examples of learning diversity in the Chinese classroom. It covers a range of topics, including students with motor disorders, communication and hearing impairment, giftedness, visual and perceptual difficulties, cognitive disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, counseling within the increasingly relevant context of inclusive education.
Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Central Asia
Contains six case studies that address a significant aspect or specific phenomenon in the local context of inclusive education or social inclusion in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The cases raise a number of questions relating to the purpose and nature of schooling, about who should have access to schools and how such access might be negotiated. These cases also ask questions about the respective roles of policy, parents, civic society, advocacy groups, professionals, NGOs, and government agencies. It considers how notions of disability are constructed in the region. In particular it looks at some of the ways in which the Soviet legacy of “defectology” still informs policy and practice today.
Cultural and Contextual Perspectives
This compelling collection advocates for an alternative view of deaf people’s literacy, one that emphasizes recent shifts in Deaf cultural identity rather than a student’s past educational context as determined by the dominant hearing society. Divided into two parts, the book opens with four chapters by leading scholars Tom Humphries, Claire Ramsey, Susan Burch, and volume editor Brenda Jo Brueggemann. These scholars use diverse disciplines to reveal how schools where deaf children are taught are the product of ideologies about teaching, about how deaf children learn, and about the relationship of ASL and English. Part Two features works by Elizabeth Engen and Trygg Engen; Tane Akamatsu and Ester Cole; Lillian Buffalo Tompkins; Sherman Wilcox and BoMee Corwin; and Kathleen M. Wood. The five chapters contributed by these noteworthy researchers offer various views on multicultural and bilingual literacy instruction for deaf students. Subjects range from a study of literacy in Norway, where Norwegian Sign Language recently became the first language of instruction for deaf pupils, to the difficulties faced by deaf immigrant and refugee children who confront institutional and cultural clashes. Other topics include the experiences of deaf adults who became bilingual in ASL and English, and the interaction of the pathological versus the cultural view of deafness. The final study examines literacy among Deaf college undergraduates as a way of determining how the current social institution of literacy translates for Deaf adults and how literacy can be extended to deaf people beyond the age of 20.
A Young Australian’s Experience with Deafness
Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1974, Paul Jacobs lost his mother when he was three months old. When he was five, he lost most of his hearing. These two defining events formed the core of his being. He spent the first two decades of his life “coming to terms with being neither Deaf nor hearing — a neither/nor, an in-between — and a person with a social identity that had yet to be invented.” His memoir, Neither—Nor: A Young Australian’s Experience with Deafness, recounts this journey. Jacobs excelled in sports and the classroom, but he never lost awareness of how he was seen as different, often in cruel or patronizing ways. His father, a child psychologist, headed a long list of supportive people in his life, including his Uncle Brian, his itinerant teacher of the deaf Mrs. Carey, a gifted art teacher Mrs. Klein, who demanded and received from him first-rate work, a notetaker Rita, and Bella, his first girlfriend. Jacobs eventually attended university, where he graduated with honors. He also entered the Deaf world when he starred on the Deaf Australian World Cup cricket team. However, he never learned sign language, and frequently noted the lack of an adult role model for “neither—nors” such as himself. Still emotionally adrift in 1998, Jacobs toured Europe, then volunteered to tutor deaf residents at Court Grange College in Devon, England. There, he discovered a darker reality for some deaf individuals — hearing loss complicated by schizophrenia, Bonnevie-Ullrich Syndrome, and other conditions. After returning to Australia, Jacobs recognized what he had gleaned from his long journey: “Power comes from within, not without. Sure, deafness makes one prone to be stigmatized. Yet having a disability can act as a stimulus for greater personal growth, richer experiences, and more genuine relationships.”
The Early Years
To correct the paucity of information on deaf or hard of hearing children and their parents’ experiences with early intervention services, researchers explored these relationships as part of the National Parent Project. From this investigation, Parents and Their Deaf Children details the experiences of a group of parents and their deaf children from the first identification of the latter’s hearing loss through their early years in elementary school. Renowned scholars Kathryn Meadow-Orlans, Donna Mertens, and Marilyn Sass-Lehrer reveal here for the first time the goals and expectations of the parents, the children’s achievements and troubles, and the families’ satisfaction and disappointment with health and educational systems. Parents and their Deaf Children stems from a nationwide survey of parents with six-to-seven-year-old deaf or hard of hearing children, followed up by interviews with 80 parents. The authors not only discuss the parents’ communication choices for their children, but also provide how parents’ experiences differ, especially for those whose children are hard of hearing, have additional conditions, or have cochlear implants. Also, one chapter is devoted to families from minority cultures. The final section of this distinctive study offers solid advice for other parents of deaf children and also the professionals who serve them.
Issues and Trends from the 21st International Congress on the Education of the Deaf
The 21st International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED) witnessed revolutionary exchanges on the vital themes in education. Presenters addressed topics encompassing seven major strands: Educational Environments, Language and Literacy, Early Intervention, Unique Challenges in Developing Countries, Educating Learners with Diverse Needs, Technology in Education, and Sign Language and Deaf Culture. These presentations and ensuing dialogues raised many complex questions. Partners in Education: Issues and Trends from the 21st International Congress on the Education of the Deaf features all of the keynote addresses by renowned luminaries in deaf education: Breda Carty, Karen Ewing, Nassozi Kiyaga, John Luckner, Connie Mayer and Beverly Trezek, volume editor Donald F. Moores, Peter V. Paul, Antii Raike, Claudine Storbeck, James Tucker, and Alys Young. Most critically, the contributors to this collection explore the many multifaceted challenges facing the world’s deaf students. Deaf children are being diagnosed with overlays of disabilities; more deaf children are growing up in poverty; and many deaf children represent minority racial/ethnic groups or are immigrants to their country of residence. The situation for deaf individuals in the most impoverished countries of the world is desperate and of crisis proportions. This volume brings these themes to light through its exceptional synthesis of the outstanding discourse that took place at ICED 2010, including abstracts from 30 celebrated conference presentations.