5 factors to consider before searching a school for deaf children
We often take the sense of hearing as the most granted amongst the 5 senses. For hearing impaired children, it becomes a major hindrance in pursuing mainstream education, if their hearing capacity is lower than normal levels. After consulting with doctors and teachers, if it is determined that the child needs special education, it is imperative that the parents decide on a special school for deaf children that recognizes their potential and nurtures them at par with their regular school-going counterparts.
In the present day Indian education system, schools have become business-places rather than knowledge imparting institutions. It is hard to find a competent school for hearing impaired. If you try to get your hearing impaired child a mainstream education, it poses several difficulties and concerns.
To start with, the schools have a rigorous interview process. If they find that the child will need extra attention, they might ask for heavy donations to include him/her in the regular classroom. This provides no guarantee that your child will receive the special attention that he/she needs.
Also, if you manage to get the child admission into a mainstream school, there are certain behavior traits of other classroom children that cannot always be controlled. The child might undergo bullying from peers. There’s always high risk of sexual abuse going unnoticed, because of the special conditions of the child.
It makes sense therefore, to enroll your child into a special school for hearing impaired. Such schools consider it their duty to ensure the overall well being of the child and go an extra mile to incorporate courses that will help them overcome their condition.
Here are some factors that you should consider when searching a school for deaf children :
1. Distance from your house and/or place of work
The school should be in the vicinity of the area you live in, for the simple reason that your child may need assistance anytime. If both of you are working, you can consider a school near your office area. This will make it possible for you to pick up and drop your child, instead of sending him/her in a school bus.
This is by no means to encourage over-protectiveness, but it helps the child adjust to the new environment better. If you find the facility up to the mark and safe, you can let your child commute by bus when he/she gets familiar with the route and fellow students.
Like mainstream teachers need to have good credentials, teachers for the hearing impaired also have to have special training and certifications in order to provide quality education to their pupils. Every staff in the school, including the office and support staff, must know sign language. They should be friendly and approachable by the children on their own. In light of verbal and physical abuse in the form of unnecessary detentions and corporal punishments by teachers, it is absolutely necessary to verify from authentic sources (Government registrations, fellow parents) that the school takes utmost care in recruiting their staff.
Although hearing impaired children can manage fine with mainstream syllabus, it is necessary for the teachers to include measures like visual teaching, etc. to help the students grasp the subjects easily. You can also check whether the school prepares the students for transition to mainstream schools in the due course of time.
4. Extra-curricular activities
Sports and arts should be taught with special methods. The children should develop a creative bent. This fills them with confidence, and instills the belief that they are no less than their hearing brothers and sisters. Apart from this, vocational skills should also be developed at the school level itself.
5. Efforts undertaken to counter the hearing impairment
The level of hearing impairments varies from child to child between deaf and hard of hearing. Certain impairments can be easily overcome with measures like speech therapy, which guides them in pronouncing better.
The school authorities will guide you through their facilities, to help you better understand if the school is suitable for your child.
You can see from the above points, that the factors to be considered before choosing a school for the hearing impaired are almost the same as when you search for a mainstream school. Only, the school should be devoted to the cause of educating these children wholeheartedly and inclusively and turn them into independent citizens of India.