February 28, 2011

I Was Mainstreamed

I was mainstreamed in a general public school from kindergarten to seventh grade. I loved it.

Classes were very small at the time and socializing with everyone was not much of a problem for me. I had really good friends there.

Even though we lived out of district, the school provided a school bus to pick me up and take me there everyday.

They had a deaf and hard of hearing program with self-contained classes and resource rooms. I had a resource room teacher who I saw every now and then. Because I was doing so well in academics, I hardly attended the classes for deaf and hard of hearing students for academic instruction. But, I regularly visited for social reasons. Various deaf and hard of hearing visitors frequently visited the classroom. The visitors that stick out in my mind were the deaf tennis players who came and played a few games for us. I really liked how they communicated to each other across the court in sign language. The teachers talked to us about Gallaudet University and RIT. They showed movies and television shows that included deaf and hard of hearing people. They taught us some sign language. It was fun.

However, I would have liked to have learned more about how to advocate for myself in terms of my hearing needs, learned what my hearing loss is, learned more about how we hear, learned how to take care of my hearing aids, and such.

Because of the deaf and hard of hearing program at this school, I was surrounded by others like me. I knew many students of all ages, who were like me, in that they wore hearing aids or use FM systems.We understood each other. I knew that I was not alone.

I was very lucky that I attended a great mainstreamed program from kindergarten to seventh grade.