Despite what is commonly believed by hearing people who do not understand deaf culture, most deaf children are born to hearing parents. It can be challenging to raise a deaf child, as a hearing parent. One major decision on a parent’s plate for their deaf child is the choice of a residential or oral school to enroll their child in.
Even though the students will be less exposed to deaf culture, parents of deaf children should send their kids to an oral school because they graduate with a higher reading level than kids who graduate from a residential school and learning how to assimilate with the majority of the population could help further their experience in life. One major reason for the parents of a deaf child to send their kid to an oral school over a residential school is the reading level the child will graduate with. On average, deaf adults have a reading level of only third to fifth grade.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing are in no way less intelligent than anyone else, but their reading ability depends on the age which their hearing diminished. Being that English is a very oral language, people who lost their hearing before the age of three would have a hareder time learning the language than otherwise. Hearing Americans learn it by hearing it and reading is taught by sounding out the word, or phonetics (ie. Hooked on Phonics). For this reason, most Americans are dependent on their hearing to pick up the English language.
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A higher reading level achieved by a deaf student attending an oral school accomanies the fact than an oral education gives a child increased opportunity as he or she grows older and becomes more involved in the outside, hearing world. Considering the average hearing person’s early life, first a child is born. From here, a child picks up every sound and sight continuing when he or she is entered into kindergarten. After this, comes public education through the twelth grade and from there, a kid will usually apply for high school and graduate with some sort of degree.
A degree has been proved to be a key to landing a profitable job. A deaf child may have most of these same experiences, but when out looking for a job, especially in this economy, may be hindered by the communication barrier that would exist. if they attended a residential school for the deaf. On the other side of the subject, one may argue that a residential school benefits a deaf child more than an oral school because the child still has a strong connection with their deaf culture.
This is not necessarily true, being that a deaf child may also learn sign language if wanted, but simply not through their oral school. Also, the concept of any deaf relatives can assist in keeping the deaf culture in the family. A residential school has some disadvantages of its own. If a hearing parent has a deaf child and sends him or her to a residential school, the parents would also need to learn sign language which, because of the age of the parents may be difficult being that it is harder to learn a language the older one is.
As a second drawback, a child who is fluent in ASL and is not familiar with English will not be able to successfully be entered into mainstream public school. Entering one’s deaf child into an oral school may have its various disadvantages such as limited avaliability or a distancing from deaf culture, but considering the advantages of enrolling a child into an oral school outweighs enrolling a child into a residential school.
It is plain to see that although the students will be less exposed to deaf culture, parents of deaf children should send their kids to an oral school for two main reasons. First, learning how to assimilate with the majority of the population could help further their experience in life and, importantly, they graduate with a higher reading level than kids who graduate from a residential school.
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