Day 15 of 20 Days in a Pandemic- “Holding it Together”- Homeschooling Deaf Education Troubles Keep me in mental chains

Mental Chains for me, Physical and mental chains for Fiona. I want to start by saying my gen ed homeschool is WONDERFUL! Our Principle has used every tool in his box to accomodate Fiona. What she’s done for Jack is beyond amazing! Jack is thriving with this teacher even virtually! It’s going better that I could have expected. I don’t feel mad at the school district at all. I love my school district. They have been very open to incorporating ASL into the curriculum and are open to ALL my ideas about integrating more deaf culture into our mainstream environment. I have not had to fight for any services, speech, itinerant services, we’ve received tons of support hours. The problems that we are facing are deeper, they are Systemic. The mainstreaming system, from our experience favors listening technology, Hearing aids, FM systems, and cochlear implants so students can “hear” and “listen” in a class above all else. This is their main priority. There is not a wholistic approach or even an individualized approach.

When Fiona was in pre-school I was told on several occasions she didn’t NEED sign language. I have continued to say I thought Fiona did need sign language. I won’t go back into my Signing exact English beginning, I’ve written about that prior, and my experience learning about American Sign Language, I’ve written about that too! I’ve also told you about our story the summer before Kindergarten and our scramble to learn as much ASL as we could. Fiona would need to know ASL to use her interpreter.

I am hearing, I am a beginner in ASL. Fiona said this morning she doesn’t know enough ASL to use her interpreter. She can’t use her FM snd can’t hear what’s going on during virtual learning. IF in preschool Fiona and our family would have been told and supported in learning ASL Fiona would be able to participate in school today. But today Fiona is no longer able to participate.

I’ve also been cautioned about being Fiona’s primary teacher because it may strain our relationship.

This is just crazy! This is a continuous very stressful situation for Fiona and I. It’s ongoing never ending. We’ve got to change this system. We can’t rely on technology, I’ve been saying this for years. Fiona has had chronic ear infections through the years and has not been able to wear her hearing aids. Educators need to know this is common for kids who wear hearing aids. When this happens they loose access to spoken language. If they don’t know Sign language and there’s not a sign language infrastructure in place they loose so much communication. They become isolated.

I really don’t understand why educators continue to let this happen to our kids???

I know this post has nothing to do about making art! But I am working on my stitched pieces and they feel right. Stitching things together, holding it together, holding our homeschool, pandemic, ASL, Deaf education crisis, together.

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist