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Critical Yet Elusive
Guiding Principles for
Parents of the D/HH
Ronald J. Stern
and
Hedy Udkovich-Stern
A Bit about Us
Yes, we are Mr and Mrs
Yes, we are also Parents
Yes, we grew up in the Deaf Education system
Yes, we fretted over our own Children’s education
Yes, we now have a nearly 2 year old
Granddaughter whose education is important to us
O Yes, we are educators ourselves – Ron is the
Superintendent of NMSD where Hedy is the
Family Support Specialist
O Yes, we value the status of schooling for each and
every D/HH child
O
O
O
O
O
What Goes in the Minds of
Families
O That one of their children is Deaf is a
O
O
O
O
O
given
Confusion often reigns over what course
of action to take
Paramount is staying at Home and being
within the Family circle
Advice is often ear/mouth oriented
Feelings of isolation and of the unknown
But for a certain, they want the best
But...What does the Child
Want?
O Foremost and above all, the love of Parents
O
O
O
O
and Family
And a close second, being able to
communicate and converse with them and
within his environment
Being able to do so in a natural and easy
way
Being a vital part of everyday doings and
going-ons
Being included in everything – fully and
truly
And Now It’s Time for
School
O The earlier (earliest, actually), the better
O What is the Child capable of doing
O What is the Family doing at Home already
O Is the Deaf Community involved
O Is there a critical mass of peers
O Are the teachers and other school
professionals trained in working with the
Deaf
Is the Family Receiving
Support?
O STEP-Hi Based Programs (communication,
O
O
O
O
O
O
O
language, ASL, and family involvement)
Deaf Mentors (ASL, Deaf Community,
rapport)
Deaf Community events
Classes/programs
Specialists (SLP, Audiologist)
State-wide Educational Conferences
Family-based Conferences
Family to Family
Finding the Right School
Consider:
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•
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•
•
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•
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•
critical mass of peers
quality of instructional process
educational backgrounds of faculty and staff
overall expectations
whole child focus
role models
respect of cultures
full spectrum of communication approaches
involvement in school activities and programs
teamwork of school personnel
Family Involvement – What
is Desirable
Each school should welcome family
involvement:
family visits
family volunteer opportunities
family workshops
family classes
family meetings with staff
family communication support – interpreters
family to be considered integral part of
school
• family opportunities to mingle with staff and
students
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Teachers very much
welcome…
Family partnership and support:
• homework
• reading, reading, reading
• discussions of all sorts with child
• involvement of child in daily routines
• shared high expectations
• utilization of community resources
• open-ended collaboration
What are the Possible
Outcomes
With family involvement and strong
partnership with the school:
• higher performance scores
• more self-confidence
• goals for oneself
• stronger communication skills
• language and literacy skills
• willingness to participate in family and
community events
• brighter future
Discussion Questions
O How is your child allowed to be social
and communal at home? At school?
O Re: Collaboration between parents and
professionals/schools, if you could
change or improve one thing given your
role and where you are, what would it
be?
In conclusion…
O As title of presentation attests, guiding
principles are critical yet elusive
O However, collaboration with key people
and Deaf professionals, chances of
fulfillment for Deaf children as well as
for their Families are high
O We believe our Alia will do well because
of her parents’ commitment
O And we hope and want the same for you
all
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