I’m Sorry, Your Child Is Stupid

I asked myself, Rachel, if you only had 1 year left to blog. What would you write?

I would write this…

Our experience raising Leah is not typical, not typical at all. I dare say, we have successfully raised a deaf, bilingual child.

We did it in a school environment that called us “crazy.” In Leah’s Individual Education Program (IEP), where she transitioned from Early Intervention to preschool, we were asked,

“Why do you want ASL? No one else wants ASL.”

I didn’t care what the district said, because really, we had nothing… or was it everything, to lose.

The Parent Infant Program representatives from the state agencies told us that our child would graduate from high school with a third grade reading level. Then we asked them,

“Why do you believe that a child who cannot hear does not have the ability to learn?”

We asked them,

“What are you doing wrong? What is wrong with the education of deaf children in America?

These questions kept us awake at night. Why on earth was it acceptable that generations of deaf children were being failed by the only school systems available for them to attend? It became VERY, VERY clear that we could not and would not entrust our toddler’s education to such an admittedly broken system. They could guarantee that after TWELVE years of schooling Leah would have broken English and at age 18 she would be able to read like an 8 year old. They would not prepare her to compete with her hearing peers heading to college and into the work force.

The solution offered was an embarrassment and I imagined what the reaction to that statement would be if it was said about any other group of individuals… Take a deep breath and try out the following~

“I’m sorry, your child is black. They will graduate from high school with a third grade reading level.”

“I’m sorry to tell you that you can expect your child to graduate from high school with a third grade reading level because she’s a girl.”

Go ahead and fill in the blank- “Hispanic” “gay” “has blue eyes” “short”… fill in the blank!
ANY of those statements would be met with riots! No one would swallow it as truth! No one would stand for it! It wouldn’t just be the parents up in arms, the entire community would fight for those children!

Imagine that your state-funded school had the balls to say that about ANY child!! These are your tax dollars at work.

Now, my friends, let it sink in that this is the reality for parents just like me. The Utah School for the Deaf and Blind said, “statistically you can expect Leah to graduate from high school with a third grade reading level.” Parents of deaf children have been hearing that sickening statistic for years and not just in Utah- this is a nationwide epidemic. The worst part is… parents believe it! They look at their little deaf child and believe that their potential is limited because some stranger from a state organization says so.

Where is the class action lawsuit?

Every child with a disability is guaranteed a “free and appropriate education”.

This conversation should make you feel sick.
It should make you angry.
It should be on the local and national news repeatedly until it is resolved!

For some reason, Aaron and I didn’t believe them. Instead we believed that we could offer Leah something much better than that. We would do it. We didn’t know how, but we knew that she was deaf, not stupid.

We sought out deaf adults and found many who had college degrees and PhDs!! Proof that a deaf person could succeed academically! Most of these deaf adults had deaf parents. Their parents had never struggled to accept that their child was deaf. These deaf children were in a signing environment from day one. We asked deaf adults for their advice on raising our deaf child. We asked them because they had lived the life that we wanted Leah to live… a life without limits. We followed their advice. We looked to the Deaf Community as our compass. They told us that Leah’s first language should be American Sign Language. They said that once Leah had a solid first language (ASL), we could then teach her English through reading and writing.
Finally something that made sense!

We were excited to share this breakthrough with the Early Intervention team, with the School District, with all of those people who could make a difference for every deaf child. We told them what we had learned and what we wanted for our child and why we believed it would work. They looked at us like we were crazy. They told us we needed to pick a program that they offered, they weren’t going to make up a new program just for Leah Coleman. It was such a slap in the face to have them simply re-offer their broken system, since that was all they had.

We visited every preschool in their system. We drove hundreds of miles to do so. We were looking for a teacher, the right teacher. At each school we saw the same sad scenario, the deaf children did not have free, expressive conversations, they were signing by rote.

Each time we met the teacher they would ask, “What’s her name?”
I responded, “Ask her.”
“NO! Don’t tell me she can…” and they would turn to Leah, asking her in sign, “What’s your name?”
Leah responded by fingerspelling her name “L-E-A-H” and then showed them her Name Sign.
The teachers, one after another were stunned.
“How old is she?” They asked me.
I rolled my eyes. “Ask her.”
“NO!!!” They turned excitedly and asked Leah, “How old are you?”
Leah smiled “I’m two-years-old almost 3. I’ll be 3 in December.”

It was as if they had just discovered a new species. They were fascinated by her. Then they would then sit down with Leah and ask her everything they could think of. Leah chatted on and on about this and that, her favorite colors, foods and the people in her life. The teachers were completely engaged.

And every visit ended with them saying, “We really would love to have her in our class. She would be such a great language role model for the other children!”

It was nice that everyone wanted Leah, but I had a sick feeling in my stomach.
A nagging question.

Who would be Leah’s role model?”

There was no ASL classroom and so we created one. We chose a deaf teacher and then we wrote into Leah’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that she needed to be in a language rich environment, one where she had access to acquire her natural language, ASL. It sounds simple, really and no one was opposed to writing that in to her IEP… BUT… when we explained that ASL is a visual language and it requires two fluent signers in a room for a child to have natural language acquisition, the team was a little perplexed. See, that is how we were able to get Leah a one-on-one aide. Her aide was fluent in ASL and the teacher that we chose was deaf. Now there were two signers in the class and our child actually had an appropriate and effective language model.

In school Leah could not communicate with her peers. They stared at her blankly as she signed on and on about this and that. Then she started coming home signing like them. I was horrified! All of our hard work seemed to be dissolving right before my eyes! I asked, “What did you do today at school?” Leah would respond in a repetitive, almost robotic way, “BIKE-BIKE-BIKE” she signed, not making eye contact with me. Then “EAT-EAT-EAT” “PLAY-PLAY.”
“Leah. Leah. Look at me. What did you do at school today? I’m asking a real question.” Every day the same answers by rote. She would sign like that for about an hour and then finally ease back into being the expressive, happy kid we knew and loved.

We went to the school and visited the older grades. K-4 we saw the same thing. As I looked at the projects and work displayed on the walls in each classroom, it was obvious to me that these children were not doing grade appropriate work. As far as language level, Leah was testing at the level of the deaf 4th graders, but she was only three-years-old. We couldn’t put her in with nine-year-old.

We also created a Deaf Mentor program for Leah. Leah had a Deaf Mentor when we lived in Utah, a wonderful woman named Diane would come to our home each week and teach us ASL. There was no such program when we moved to Los Angeles. Luckily it was in her Individualized Family Service Plan(IFSP) and so we continued it. We were told that it would be up to us to find the deaf adult. We agreed. We found a deaf man who was a teacher working for our school system. That made it easy for them to pay him. John came to our home once a week for an hour and we turned our voices off and just signed.

People always ask us how we did it. How we were able to smash the statistics. How Leah can comfortably identify herself as hearing and as deaf. The above is just one piece of that puzzle. We knew that Leah’s success was ultimately up to us. We couldn’t even pretend that the current school system would carry her. We took on her education and success as our own responsibility.

Most importantly Aaron and I saw Leah as a wonderful little girl with a bright and limitless future. We saw her as all of that even when so many others… so many “professionals” only saw her as a deaf kid.

This entry was posted in Crazy Little Thing Called Life and tagged , , , , , by Rachel Coleman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. www.deafchildren.org Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at www.mydeafchild.org. For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on www.SignItASL.com. Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

308 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, Your Child Is Stupid

  1. Love your blog on this issue! Ironically, my wife and I are hard of hearing and deaf with two hearing girls. I even get the word that my eldest daughter that she should stop signing while in the school. I said NO! Let her be… She’s billingual and developing into a good student with a knowledge of two worlds. I am behind ya all the way!


  2. Wow, we had such a similar experience with our deaf son in the mid 80s in northern Wisconsin. Such incredibly low expectations for our very visual, bright young son. And such few options available and very few deaf adult role models 🙁 . Luckily after attending a national conference on “Unlocking the Curriculum” we came to the same conclusion that you did and uprooted our family and moved to Indiana for our son to attend the Indiana School for the Deaf. Best decision we made, he is now a successful young adult you has his masters and is currently working at the Smithsonian American History museum in a professional role. Sure wish we could spread the word to more hearing parents of deaf children! I know I will be quoting your story as well when I am asked how to raise a successful deaf child! Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Pingback: broken education | What's that you said?

  4. I am sorry I did not find your blog earlier. I teach in an Interpreter Preparation Program and many students this year have mentioned wanting to become teachers of the deaf. I hope you don’t mind if I make your article required reading for them. I always tell them how many parents are faced with the difficult educational methods and decisions, only to be told later they “failed” if their child did not flourish and/or learn to speak. How sad that no one has fixed the broken system in 100 years!!

  5. Rachel,
    I’m a hearing, lifelong ASL lover who is a huge fan of your Signing Time series (my kids are huge fans, too!). I just stumbled across your blog today after my curiosity was piqued because of your FB post about having a long lost daughter! I am an adoptee, and I can tell you that there is no greater gift than having a birthmother who is selfless and courageous enough to sacrifice her own needs for her child. For you to be able to do that so young is incredible!
    I am in tears reading through your posts here on your blog. Happy, sad, and triumphant tears! You are so inspirational! Every woman should know she has the power to be as strong and resourceful as you have proven yourself to be.
    Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I wish you all the best in everything you do. Thank you so very much. <3

  6. Rachel,
    One of my twins has Down syndrome. He just turned two and already uses 11 signs! One of them he learned from his brother, who knows over 50 thanks to your videos! We have the same problem in Tennessee with ASL instruction. The public preschool teacher won’t allow signs. She makes kiddies hand her picture cards. I’m not going to carry stacks of pictures around with me just so my child can communicate with me at the grocery store!
    One of my friend’s daughter was under this woman’s tutelage as a speech therapist. The little girl signed a three word sentence (More cracker please)and the teacher refused to give her a cracker until she handed her the picture with the cracker on it. My friend was in the observation room and barged in on the session, demanding her three-year-old child be rewarded for her efforts.
    From what I have read and now experienced, children who sign have a 30% higher vocabulary than children who don’t. I believe it! My typical child shocks us everyday with the new words he signs and speaks!
    Whenever I catch myself whining about all the therapies and all the things in my life that have to change because of Down syndrome, I just remember your blog about being strong enough, and I pray for the courage and strength to believe that I am strong enough to be his mom!
    Thanks so much!

  7. Hi Rachel, Your family has been a part of ours since my son, then 5 mos. old, got his first hearing aids. We have all your DVDS! This is my first visit to your blog(where have I been?!) and I found it through a Deaf advocacy website. My son also has Down syndrome so his situation is extra compicated. We found out at his IEP yesterday that they feel he doesn’t belong in the SDC for DHH (where they use Total Communication) anymore because he needs to be in a Functional Skills class (I hate that term) where there is an aide who has only had 3 semesters of ASL. We tried to impress upon them that since David’s speech is so severely delayed we want to be sure he has a language. ASL is his first language and as his 9 year old sister says, “Sign language is how he lives his life!” After reading your entry, I am inspired to find out how we can create the best educational setting for our son and not settle for what the broken system has to offer. Just because David has Ds, that shouldn’t exclude him from receiving the services that his DHH peers are entitled to!!!

  8. I’m not sure where the best place is to leave this for you and Leah to check out… but I came across this Party in the USA video tonight and instantly thought of Leah. 🙂 I la,la,love reading your story and blog. Thanks for being so open and sharing your testimony. It’s so inspiring to see you truly living out your faith and making the most of your life! God has blessed you and your girls so much!

    enjoy the ASL version of Party in the USA!


    Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  9. I am an example as a Deaf role model. You can do anything you want to do in life. But it all bases on the education you get for your child. I agree any child could learn from ASL. It depends on who teaching it and how. There’s teachers out there that are signing some English within the ASL, which is totally wrong. Stick to the game plan and she will rise to what ever she wants to be in this world!

  10. This post moved me to tears. It should have come with a warning to go get the kleenex!

    I was a “professional” (interpreter/SKI-HI/infant signing instructor) that happened to have progressive hearing loss before I became the mother of a child born with hearing loss and a cleft lip/palate. Later, two more of my girls developed hearing loss as they got older. My second grader just got her FM and hearing aids.

    One of my favorite “Signing Time” moments was when you sang and signed “Happy Birthday” to my littlest one as the last in line at a meet and greet in Muncie, IN. What a great first birthday for her!

    Anyway, now that she is 5, we are currently walking in your shoes and I have taken on advocacy as more of my focus. Things aren’t great here especially with the bilingual/bicultural method coming under fire even at the Indiana School for the Deaf. Insert shameless plug here for anything you can do to help out would be much appreciated with the Deaf School. 😉

    We will continue to buck the system because, as you say, it IS broken and what passes as acceptable certainly is NOT.

    I love the inspiration you bring with your honesty and spunky attitude. It helps to know I’m not the only one who has fought the good fight only to go home and cry in my pillow about why it is soooo stinking difficult to get professional educators to understand what we KNOW is the right path for our kids.

    Anyway…all this to say thanks for this post! Every time I need to recharge that battery…I’m rereading this!

    Karen 🙂 (NICEinterpreter)

  11. Sorry if I sound much like the last post, but I am also close to tears reading this. And, also want to include a shameless plug for the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD). I have frequently asked the EXACT same things that I read in your blog and am disheartened that with so much support, the media ignores our requests, yet shows coverage on a deaf child receiving cochlear implants as some miracle instead of embracing the 3 year old with well above average language acquisition because that language is signed. I am tired of being told that my deaf son will be different and not assimilated into society because he is different. I am just tired! Any insight on how you do it and resources you have used would be so appreciated.

  12. A deaf friend of mine forwarded your blog to me. I am a Pre-K educator and I work with students with developmental delays and English language learners but I have not yet had the opportunity to have a deaf student in my classroom. Kudos to you and your husband for not taking “no” for an answer. I grew up in school with deaf students mainstreamed in classes with typical peers. One of our classes as speaking students was ASL. I can STILL remember being in that classroom, practicing signs, conversations and presentations of the songs we learned, “Kokomo- by the beach boys” :-). Oh, how found my memories are of having that experience enrich my life! I don’t understand why the school district is not treating ASL as a language. It is another language! It’s so simple it’s STUPID to interpret it any other way!

  13. I have had this exact conversation so many times with people. My son will be 5 next week and he is Deaf, he is in an all ASL school, but we are stuck in Utah and the system here could not be more horrific for parents of Deaf kids. I get so annoyed when people say to me “oh he is Deaf, can he read my lips” “No” I say “he has never heard English, he is Deaf, first he has to learn ASL, then written English, then maybe he will learn some lip reading” People are always so surprised at first then they think about it, then they get it. I am frustrated to tears with the broken system here. We know we are going to have to move so we can give Ira everything he needs. What do you think? What state would you say has the best program?

  14. A friend of mine shared this link on facebook and I am really glad I clicked on that link and read the whole thing. Your story was very engaging and it touched me in so many way.

    I am profoundly deaf and have hearing parentswith whom I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to communicate through ASL. They didn’t know any ASL at the beginning either.

    I have to credit them for not putting any limit on me and keep instilling the idea that I can do “anything” that I ever want to do with my life. I am proud to say that I have graduated with bachelor degree from Rochester Institute of Technology and am now working in the technical support department for the big corporation.

    I know plenty of my deaf friends who are as successful with their lives. I know two friends who started non-profit organizations, with one responsible for finding more deaf people around the world and another for setting up a deaf network around the world. I also know two deaf friends who work for Google and they both love it there. I know one deaf friend working for Intel. Another at Yahoo. And plenty of them working for federal agencies. There’s really no limit to what we can do and accomplish.

    A hearing parent with attitude like yours, there is no doubt that Leah can and will accomplish many things in her life as well. It is because you refuse to put any limit on her. I commend you for that.

  15. ““I’m sorry, your child is black. They will graduate from high school with a third grade reading level.””

    Bad logic much? There is nothing *unhealthy* about skin color.

    • Josh,

      You’re missing Rachel’s point! I believe what she meant was you can pick any “difference” single out any characteristic and people would be outraged….but because this is the state of things for deaf children, it is merely accepted as okay and “normal” even!

      Also, who ever said there’s anything “unhealthy” about being deaf?

      Bad logic much?

      • Renee, I agree with you. Apparently there are two Joshs here. The first one is mine, but I don’t know the 2nd one because that one is not mine. Apparently someone else logged in with the same name. Just FYI.

    • Her point was that it is wrong to say that about any one with any thing that is different about them,not that some one is black. And being deaf is a disability, not a disease. So shove off.

    • There’s nothing unhealthy about being Deaf or Hard of Hearing either, Bubba.

      Equating a language difference with the word “unhealthy” is just as preposterous as me saying my relatives from Canada who only speak French are unhealthy.

      Are they at a loss sometimes when visiting me in Texas? Sure. Then they consult a French-English dictionary and they’re just fine.

      As fine as I am when sometimes I have to resort to using pen and paper in a restaurant where nobody signs.

    • …and to add to that. It wasn’t long ago where people would have commonly said and believed the expression (pre-civil rights era) “Your child is Black and will graduate with a third grade reading level.”

      But we evolved as a society.

  16. After reading this blog, a link from another blog, (a favourite) I will say I find your story fascinating and motivating, and of course very very amazing. God has blessed you and your family with a wonderful opportunity and the rare but needed passion to beat the system and fix what is wrong, at least within yourself and your household. I am truly at a loss for words to describe how amazing your story is. Thank you for blogging your amazing experience, it is hope for all the mothers out there, beating the wrong of the system for their children.

  17. I’m glad I’ve came across “Signing Time” and this blog. My son has a moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears, but it wasn’t until June 2012 that his father and I found out for sure. I blame myself for getting help so late because he didn’t past his hearing screening at birth, but I too thought this was something that he will out grow. No one else is our family is deaf or hard of hearing. Now, since working with Early intervention and his early placement in pre-school he is using ASL and his voice. However, I’m a parent that is fed up with depending on the Public School system and listening to their negative comments about my son’s education development. I was just recently told by a special education representative that my son wouldn’t catch up to his hearing peers until he was in high school. I’m just glad that he has parents who are fighting for a completely different outcome, but hearing news like this makes you feel hopeless. Other parents are fighting to try to get extended day summer program for our deaf and hard of hearing children because we fear that over the summer break their language will regress. But, the system is trying tell us that our children don’t need it because they will always be behind. I’m a stressed out, but determine mom who will never give up on her child. Have any other parents had this problem and if so, how was it resolved?

    • Toni, in my experience many districts and professionals will tell you what to expect… and what they tell you is exactly what THEY deliver. You are right to question this information. We too fought for a different outcome, and we got a different outcome. You are doing the right thing. Trust your instincts. There is no reason to fear ASL or signing. You are on the right track:)

      • Thanks Rachel for the positive feedback, it’s very much appreciated. I’m going to continue to fight for my son’s education.

  18. Toni

    Good for you! We see so many districts doing this over and over. It just makes my blood boil, we have a moderate to severe who we chose to sign with and also were told not to sign too. She is now accepted into G/T program for our school and 3 counties! Don’t ever let anyone tell you your child won’t catch up! Delaney was a year delayed and now is passed her hearing peers! The children who are most success our the families who speak up!! If the school district believes they can’t catch up then the school district may have to re work their program. You should am expect a year growth for a year. Having a good teacher of the deaf can do great things for the school and the kids! Good luck:)

    • Gina

      I’m not happy, but I’m relieved to know that other parents of hearing impaired children are experiencing the same problems. I never realized how inconsiderated the public school system could be; however, I’m very thankful that my son has a great teacher who is very dedicated to her students hearing and speech development. I will never accept someone telling me that my son is incapable of doing anything. Anything is possible!! I’m learning, as a parent of a hearing impaired child, that I’m my child’s voice until he’s able to use his own.

  19. Great blog and great example of being parents! That’s truly what it means to make your children priority! I learned so many signs through your videos with my kids that we still use to communicate in noisy areas. We sometimes get comments from people who wonder why we’d sign if we can talk… baffles me….why does one speak Spanish at a Mexican restaurant but not at home??? Why would I prefer to yell like an idiot and have everyone know our business across a room when we can sign? For us it’s no necessity but rather a wonderful commodity that I continue try and build on. Thanks for leading the way to open up early communication that makes sense to kiddos!!

  20. I love how Leah is proving people wrong anout how smart she is.. My brother, and I were born with the cleft lip and palate,. We were judged as stupid, because of the scars on our faces, and how we spoke. We proved them wrong. My brother James had a genius IQ. All disabilities get labeled in one form or another. It’s a shame that people judge before they know the full story. Keep up the good work. It’s nice that Leah has family rooting her on in life.

  21. In 1968, when his parents found out my then three year old husband was hard of hearing, they were told the best case scenario would be for him to learn a trade. Learning a trade is a great thing if that’s what makes a person happy and is what they want to do but my inlaws wanted him to have more options.

    My husband never heard that story until it was told at a party when he got his PhD.

  22. My daughter is deaf blind with many other health issues and I have been battling the school system for 17 years. Our children ARE capable of learning their own way and in their own time!
    I even have to fight for her at the school she attends to this day and it is an ESE center school.
    Very sad and stressful and wearing on everyone.
    Thanks for letting me vent!

  23. Pingback: Colonized parents of DHH children | Deaf Marginalia

  24. I am a teacher of the deaf in the public school system and wanted to tell you that I’m sorry for your frustrations and disappointing experience. I can’t imagine how frustrating that is for parents and I completely agree that you did the right thing. Kids should be pushed to their full potential and I don’t think they always are. I can tell you personally I want that success for all of my kids and that I teach grade-level material to my kids. I also want to say that having such supportive parents and starting school with such a large vocabulary is amazing! Great job advocating for her! I wish more people would do that!

  25. It is a sad situation that a deaf student is supposed to have done well if they graduate high school with a fourth grade reading level or less. I know that too many have little language when they start school so first must learn language before being able to learn to read as too many parents haven’t learned the importance of language, but the expectations are SD o low even if they have language that I was told r we heatedly thT I just would not accept my child had as disability, and I was a Special Ed teacher! I refused to accept this and Fortunately i Iwas as able to afford tutoring so he caught up with his typical peers and earned grades good enough to get into a college. He is now a teacher of deaf students trying to figure out how to get all his students caught up with peers, as his class was all several years behind. He is a first VB year teacher,but I hope his experiences and ambition will help him find a way for his students to succeed.

  26. It’s not only children that get underestimated. I had a speech therapist who was working with my mother after she had had a stroke tell me that “You can’t learn anything after 40.” This about a woman who had taught herself New Testament Greek at 75. We ignored her and my mother re-learned how to read, and even write a little.

  27. I LOVE this! We are a “signing family” with one deaf kiddo, and three hearing kiddos. There are a couple of things that I have observed both as an educator and parent. The statistic that “your deaf child will not read above a third or fourth grade level” is very skewed for a number of reasons. 1. I have no proof, but I think that stat has not been updated since the ’60’s (or so). And people, including educators are still believing it.
    2. There are many deaf kids that have disabilities in addition to deafness that are making the stats look as though the deafness is the “cause” of a reading deficient. (My child is one of these kiddos. His difficulty reading has nothing to do with him being deaf. It is in ADDITiON to being him being deaf. He has multiple learning disabilities that makes it super difficult to learn traditional academic learning.) I can’t count how many times we have been told, “he is SO behind his peers”….and we smile, and with steal in our voices, respond, “so we have heard, we are not interested in how behind he is, we are interested in WHERE he is going, and how we will get him there.”

    I would be interested to know the level of reading for Deaf kids with Deaf parents, Deaf kids who have full access to language, and Deaf kids who have deafness only, without other special needs. I would guess that the stats would show a very different picture!

  28. Pingback: 5 Lessons from "The Silent Child" About Deaf Communication

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