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In Focus May Transcript

In Focus May Transcript

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IN Focus Transcript on the new center for deaf and hard of hearing education
IN Focus Transcript on the new center for deaf and hard of hearing education

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Published by: Indiana Public Media News on May 04, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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>> Members of the deaf community have long debated whether deaf childrenshould use medical devices to help them hear and be integrated into the hearingculture or whether they should be enrolled in schools that provide a morespecialized education and promote the use of sign language. That debate has come to a head as the state begins pulling resources away fromthe Indiana School for the Deaf and transferring them to a new center it willdevelop for deaf and hard of hearing education. We’ll take a look at the potentialbenefits and costs of the move as we put deaf education In Focus.
Good evening.I'm Stan Jastrzebski.For years, the Indiana School for The Deaf, or ISD, was the sole state provider of counseling services for families with deaf and hard of hearing children. A new lawchanges that by moving those services out of the school and into an independentcenter. But as WTIU's Gretchen Frazee reports, the move has also stirred a debateabout the message the state is sending to parents of deaf children.
: The author of the bill says it makes more sense to separate Indiana'sdeaf services from the school for the deaf, which primary teaches using signlanguage.Rep. Cindy Noe says the state created a problem for itself when it put outreachservices under the watch of ISD.
: We had them joined at the hip through a common board with a provider, thedeaf school.And that really is a conflict of interest when you have the overall conforminggroup having a special relationship with one of the providers.
: Some people who support the law have alleged the Indiana Schoolfor the deaf advocates too heavily for sign language and does not do enough toincorporate children into the hearing community. Josh Wade's son Nathan has a cochlear implant, a device that stimulates nerves inthe inner ear, allowing deaf individuals to hear.Wade says when he went in for counseling ISD presented few alternatives toteaching Nathan sign language. He says he thinks the debate over the law centersaround the fact that people are still getting used to new medical devices likecochlear implants.
: We have a new technology and there's starting to become an academicbase for that technology and the choices need to be represented equally and Ithink that's all this was about.
But Amy Cornwell, a professor at Indiana University's Department of Speech AndHearing Sciences says sign language should not be abandoned.
: You don't live with that implant on all the time. There is an implantbut then there's a device that goes on the outside that’s taken off. I mean, youtake a bath, it's not on. You go swimming, it's not on. You're involved in sports,it's not on. All that time, they then have nothing that they can hear, so why not dosomething visually that they can see?
Representative Noe says the process of creating the new center willbe a long one, but she's still confident it was the right decision.
I believe in our heart of hearts this is an opportunity to leave some bags atthe door and to come in and have that focus of how can we best serve the parentsof and the children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
: Stakeholders are meeting regularly to lay out the details of thetransition and will later select the people who will head the center.
We're joined in studio tonight by three guests. They are: Greg Katter, the father of two children who attend the Indiana SchoolFor the Deaf.Naomi Horton, the Executive Director of Hear Indiana, an organization thatadvocates helping deaf children learn to hear and speak.And State Senator Pete Miller, who formerly worked with the Indiana Office of Management and Budget, which was charged in part, with implementing the newlaw. Thanks to the three of you for being here.I want to start by going to a piece of sound we collected from your daughter,Margaret, about her feeling about deaf education.
I can't speak for everybody but most people don't care what kind of method you use to communicate. They just know they have a similar, notdisability, but situation as you. That they can connect with you easier and that's how the deaf culture is for me.I feel that somebody else understands how I live and how I can't hear sometimesother than if I just join the hearing culture, they talk about stuff and I don'tunderstand or I can't hear them. They understand but they can't connect with me the same way deaf culture can.
So we just heard her say that she feels there's a disconnectbetween the hearing culture and deaf culture.Greg, we'll start with you and go down the panel.I want to start with a general question which is, is this a problem which has to beovercome or is it more a situation that needs to be adapted to?
What my daughter was speaking that was that she is a split-placementchild, she spends part of her time in the public school and part of the time at theschool for the deaf and she was drawing her contrast between her experience at
the different schools.At the Indiana School for the Deaf where the language of instruction is AmericanSign Language which she is fluent in, it's a very natural environment, there arepeers around her who going through the same experiences whereas, at the publicschool like any kid who's using assistive devices, whether it being a hearing aid ora cochlear implant or an FM system at the public schools, they all have the samedifficulties where they don't hear everything.She was expressing the difficulties that even at the public school there are thingsshe doesn't have access to the way she does at the Indiana school for the deaf.
I think your question is asking, we’re here at 2012 so is this somethingwe need to adapt to this new technology and I think that’s what we're seeing, thechildren that you saw in the video, that child getting his implant mapped or tunedup and programmed is one of the first group of the children who benefited fromnewborn hearing screening, and that law was passed in 1999 in the state of Indiana. Only the kids identified at birth, we are just now seeing the outcomes andthey are fantastic.We are at the stage where parents have to make a choice and they see childrendoing really well with the new technology. And so yes, it's something we areadapting to. How do we best educate those children with the new technologythat’s available.
Pete, as you were going through the discussions with this new law,is this what you were trying to figure out, which kids fit better, in hearing culturedeaf culture, one of the two?
No one size fits all.I want to make clear that the bill and the administration is not endorsing oneapproach over the other. The point is we were recognizing we at the state didn't do this very well. There were children falling through the cracks. The point is to acquire language skills regardless of whether that’s English orAmerican Sign LanguageWhen a child reaches first grade, they have to be able to communicate with thatlanguage to have a building block to acquire the knowledge they need to acquireat school. And we weren’t doing that very well.
We received a number of questions from our audience.
I would like to respond to what Pete was saying.One of the concerns of the opponents of the bill was the bill that was addressing aproblem that had already been addressed.Nowhere in the bill or in the analysis did they discuss the relatively youngstatewide referral network for deaf and hard of hearing kids which just startedworking I think it was in August.Since that network was in place, the number of people that were identified andreceived services jumped dramatically so they had virtually full participation

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