Deaf Schools vs. Inclusion

schoolhouse.jpgThe Irony of “Inclusion”: Here’s an article on Deaf schools from our northern neighbors. In the same way as in the United States, Canadian Deaf schools face threats of closure as a result of the push toward “inclusion” or mainstreaming students. Money issues are usually the main reason for efforts to shut down Deaf schools or change them in major ways, such as opening them up to hearing students or merging them with schools for blind students, to cite just a couple of ideas that have come up in the news recently.

As the Canadian article notes, Deaf students who attend primarily hearing schools are likely to experience more difficulties related to their identity, language development, and sense of belongness in the community, all of which can put them at greater risk for experiencing mental health problems. Rather than promoting friendships and connections, the practice of “inclusion” increases Deaf students’ feelings of isolation. Deaf schools, on the other hand, provide opportunities for strengthening identity, developing social skills, and creating lifelong friendships, all of which are invaluable in establishing emotional well-being.

1 Comment
  1. DeafWatcher July 12, 2006

    Opening Deaf schools to hearing students? It is called reverse mainstreaming!! What will teachers do if hearing students start talking to each other using voice? What will they do if hearing students sit together in one place and Deaf students sit together in another place (i.e. cafeteria)? What about Student Body Government? Will hearing students be officers and make decisions FOR Deaf students? What will happen if hearing students outnumber Deaf students? It will end up looking like a regular mainstreaming program. The Administration people end up feeling they have to hire more hearing teachers/staff because of hearing students? I am not too sure about CODAs. I can see some advantages to having CODAs in Deaf schools.


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