The further I get away from my daughters daily struggles with school, from my constant trying to make things “work” and the more time that goes by since I let “go” of that daily struggle and pain my daughter experienced, I can see how my daughter and I have been damaged by this experience. It feels like breaking up from a bad relationship. One that you think will get better. Long emails trying to explain things that in the end your partner will never understand. There was one relationship my daughter had that was toxic from the start. This person was my daughter’s interpreter. Not only did my daughter start Kindergarten with an extremely limited knowledge of American Sign Language from day one her and her interpreter bumped heads. It was never a positive experience, I kept trying, encouraging my daughter to try harder to watch her interpreter. But that was torture because they did not get along well. A year and a half my daughter had to go through that. I have been under immense pressure to make it work. I’ve tried so hard and so has my daughter.
Today, five days after our IEP I feel a freedom from that pressure to make my daughter use the FM system, listen, watch her interpreter, stay on-line, we are free from that now. At first the feeling of freedom was welcome and felt good, but now it is becoming sad. Today there is a DHH virtual field trip with my daughters DHH peer group. This field trip is inaccessible to my daughter. Even on the e-mail from the DHH teacher it says:
“Students will get to “visit” the goats and sheep in the barnyard at the start of our field trip on Friday. They will then transition to the chickens. Throughout the field trip they will encourage students to ask questions and make observations, using a lot of the observation questions.”
My daughter can’t hear on the computer and there hasn’t been any ASL instruction on the language that will be used during the presentation. Plus no one will be using ASL and my daughter won’t watch her current interpreter, or should I say previous? That’s why she can’t ask questions and make observations or be part of the whole experience. She could do all those things in person with direct communication in a quiet environment. Or she could be taught and use ASL. She doesn’t want to go at all and these are her peers. But her DHH Peers don’t know ASL. She is cut off from her DHH peers now that she is unable to use her FM system on the computer. This makes me so sad, all these years I have put so much energy in creating a solid peer group with our DHH peers. I put all my energy and reliance on our DHH itinerant teachers and now my daughter is even isolated from the one group that she’s supposed to be part of.
I start feeling very discouraged and like this problem is so massive how can it be fixed and when will my daughter be in school again?
I watched a webinar this morning CSDF put on through their deaf education program. It was “Academic Outcomes among Deaf Children with Hearing Parents”. My daughter is living through this in an extreme way. She is isolated from all of her education ties. I even got a call from the school today asking why my daughter was absent for three days. Do you think my daughter could be out of school for a long time? Is this happening because she wasn’t taught ASL in the first place? Why didn’t anyone ever listen to me? This was my gut feeling all along. And now when we say its actually causing harm, this mainstreaming we’re dumped and ignored. A little girl suffers more. No one wants to be out of school for weeks.