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SCHOOLS FOR THE DEAF

 

INTRODUCTION

In addition to the obvious benefits of accessible education, residential schools offer a wealth of social, linguistic, and cultural opportunities that are otherwise hard to come by for K-12 deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students born to hearing families and then "mainstreamed" into a public (hearing) school setting.  

Over the years, we have met many, many students and adults who attend or have attended residential or other schools designed specifically for educating deaf and hard-of hearing students.  Each of these students or former students expresses delight about the experience (the education; cultural and extra-curricular activities) and the fond memories and lasting relationships forged during important formative years.  Of those we have spoken with, not one has expressed dissatisfaction - each feels that their families made the right choice in allowing them to attend a school designed to accommodate their language and cultural needs.  

While our reports are anecdotal in nature (admittedly not scientific), we believe they speak well for the experience and advantages available to DHH students in a residential or day-school setting.


LOCATIONS:

For a listing of U.S. schools for DHH students, click here.  For information about a particular school, contact the school directly.


TAKE A TOUR:

If you and your child are considering the choice of attending a residential school, contact one or more schools to request a visit and tour the campus.  Meet the staff, see the campus, explore the textbooks, lesson plans, extra-curricular activities, academic resources, music, art, and sports offerings.  Ask to speak with (interview) current students and their families.  Most schools for the deaf are only too happy to welcome you, your child, and your family to their campus, and are pleased and proud to show you what they offer.

For information about visits and tours, contact one or more schools directly.


BENEFITS:

Of course, a primary benefit of attending a school for the deaf is the availability of and complete access to a solid, comprehensive education.

The perpetual exposure to language role-models and full-language access is arguably one of the greatest benefits of attending a school for the deaf.  Students are taught, tutored, and carefully supervised and nurtured by a variety of caring and responsible teachers and administrators who come from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds.  Typically, the teachers, administrators and staff are themselves deaf or hard-of hearing and native- or expert-signers.  Among deaf and hard-of-hearing teachers, administrators, and staff; some use traditional or conductive hearing aids, some have cochlear implants (CIs), and some were raised in the oral tradition with a focus on spoken communication.  Residential schools and day-schools for the deaf are a truly rich and varied language resource -- one not to be missed!

Theatre of the Deaf at Gallaudet University

Peers interaction, friendships, and the opportunity to participate in clubs and extra-curricular activities abound at schools for the deaf.  Who does not know first-hand the benefits of friendships, shared activities and interests?  Clearly, residential and day-school settings offer life-enrichments that may not be so easily accessible to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

For information about these and other benefits, contact one or more schools directly.

CHALLENGES:

Families who do not live near a residential school may feel challenged by the idea of a child's weekly absence.  Sometimes, a family will resist allowing a child to attend a residential school because they wish to avoid being parted for several days at a time.  Some families relocate to live closer to a residential school; others do not.  Some families agree to "try it out" for a semester or a school-year, to "see how it goes."  Typically, students return home for weekends, holidays, and summers.  Whether a family is able to relocate or not, parents will know they have made the right choice when their child comes home smiling, happy, and full of stories about what they learned, the friends they made, and activities in which they participated that week. 

Some families allow their cultural background to effect their decision.  Their particular culture may have taught them that "sending your child away" demonstrates weak or failed parenting; that parents must "raise their own children" no matter the cost to the child.   When parents are deeply embedded in such a culture, their children often pay a heavy price for the adults' need to comply with cultural dictates.  This is a difficult challenge that prevents many thousands of children each year from access to the broad and deep benefits of learning at a school designed at its very core to provide and support optimal learning and information access for a child who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.

For information about other families have managed actual or perceived challenges, contact one or more schools directly.


STUDENTS:

The student body at residential schools includes students who range from profoundly deaf to hard-of-hearing, aided or implanted (users of hearing aides or users of cochlear implants), aged 5 or 6 through 12th grade, DOD or DOH (deaf-of-deaf families or deaf-of-hearing families), African-American, Latino, Caucasian, and members of many other cultural and national backgrounds.

As is the case at public (hearing) schools, most students are able to perform academically at grade-level; some are not.  Like public schools, some students have additional challenges; some students may use a wheelchair or other transportation device; some may have emotional challenges.

The student body is broad and varied.  For enrollment information and statistics specific to a particular residential setting, contact the school directly.

 

This page was edited: 09/15/2009
This page has been visited Hit Counter times since:
October 2008.
TerpTopics is a trademark and service mark of TerpTopics, LLC. © 2008; 2009. All rights reserved.

TerpTopics™ is an independent entity; as such does not claim or attempt to claim, represent, or imply by any means whatsoever that it is associated with any other entity that may or may not offer services, goods, or information of interest to interpreter, Deaf, or student communities.  The opinions expressed here those of TerpTopics unless otherwise stated.  Please keep in mind that, while every effort is made to present correct, appropriate, and reasonable information that is based on our experience, anecdotal experiences of others, or developed during the general course of study and professional development, we do not represent TerpTopics as having cornered the market on wisdom (heck, no!) or experience; one reason why links to several other good and reliable resources are made available throughout this site, and we hope that earnest seekers of knowledge will take advantage of them.

 

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