Thursday, August 21, 2008

A visit by the teacher of the deaf

Today we had a guest in our speech therapy class.She was a principal of a deaf school who use mostly sign language.She said we try to make them speak but they do not .How will they?The language atmosphere is not there as they are surrounded by similar kids and as there is not much conversation , they end up signing.They do wear hearing aids, but are they really focusing on speech or they are mere things hanging?they still lip read as they are not taught to depend on hearing but still depend on visual our class from the very beginning we were focused on sound alone and not on looking and seeing.In the dark the lip reading and sign language will fail.Once a person wears aids,he should be made to be attentive to sound and sound alone.
The teacher was surprised to hear Prisha.She said that what surprised her was, Prisha never looked at the face while being showed something, she picked up 2 people's conversation and learnt from them and that even from behind when she was asked something she responded.But that is what AVT is all about.Learning through listening.Listening and then speaking.The focus is on listening alone.
She told us that the school was a residential one.All the more there is a problem.There is no input from normal sources except the teachers.Each teacher has 15 deaf students.How much can she focus and how much will she talk and what.In such cases individual attention is required at least in the form of family who would make them feel like normal people.At home listening to normal conversation and a variety of discussions would give adequate language opportunity to the child.
She mentioned a thing which is so typical and so education and academic oriented.She said we teach the children , give them answers to questions required for the curriculum, but after they were told to learn and answer them , they looked blank.To this I put forward my view that when the child does not have the basic language to understand concepts, how will he remember the answers?The knowledge is ABSTRACT for them!To learn a complicated thing we need to understand simple things 1st.They are not able to converse as they don't have the language, then how can they remember the answer as they cannot understand it.It is like this......I don't know french, then if I am told to remember a write up in french, how can I just rattle it off?Even if I memorize it I would not be able recall it and say as I don't have an understanding of the language.It just made sense to her.My heart goes out to those children who are not able to speak because of non availability of the right infrastructure , right teachers and correct speech therapy.I wish there was a revolution in India and people had a heart to help and not focus on their own monetary benefit.

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