“For a Deaf Son”
My four year old son’s name is Tommy and he is deaf. My husband and I both have normal hearing therefore, we knew raising a deaf son would be a demanding and difficult learning experience. Tommy is currently enrolled in an all speaking school. His speech is intelligible so he has the potential at successfully communicating with only oral language, if this is the option we wish for Tommy to take. He often becomes frustrated when he struggles with his oral speech and hearing. As Tommy’s parents we want the best education for him and we have struggled in the decision of whether to educate Thomas in sign language versus strictly verbal speech or both. We spent a lot of time researching the best options Tommy had available to him. We interviewed the headmasters at different schools as well as experts in deaf education to make sure we had all the information we needed. Although, many may not see what the pressing decision is, Tommy is our son and his form of education will affect the rest of his life and his future. After discussing and collaborating our thoughts, concerns and frustrations we finally came to a final decision. We plan for Tommy to use Total Communication. Total Communication supports the use of all modes of communication and language as needed in differing contexts. This includes ASL and more English-based systems of signing, spoken English, facial expression, lip reading, body language, and gestures. Some programs may also incorporate Cued Speech. The intention of this philosophy is to provide a deaf or hard of hearing child with any and all strategies necessary to support his or her development of communication and language. It does not intend that all strategies be used equally or used at the same time. A common form of total communication in deaf education is simultaneous communication, which merges many different forms of communication together (galludet.com). For example, Tommy would speak orally while also signing. We feel as if...
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