Discussions about specialist schools for deaf students, routinely highlight that educational outcomes for the students tend to be well below national averages – despite large sums of money being invested into the schools, into digital tools and into teaching resources.
Cost Analyses Can Be Illuminatory
Reading the critique, Why Are Expenses So High At School For The Deaf?, by Dr Nick Fina, a consultant with Choices Delaware (US), reveals why traditional deaf schools can routinely resist new options for infants like cochlear implants and auditory verbal therapy.
Dr Fina’s points remind us of the piece, Deaf Schools Internationally Are A Dying Breed, by Sym Gardiner, from the parent campaign for bilateral cochlear implants in New Zealand.
Parent Voices Count
Too often, parents are brushed aside when making crucial decisions for their deaf children – scary choices that will shape their childrens’ future as teenagers and as adults. This is a mistake. Today’s parents are better informed about the educational options for children who are deaf, and will fight for the right to the intervention route their family chooses.
Traditional service providers must heed parents’ views and redirect their service provision to stay in the game. For many entities, this is a real crunch time in make or break terms.
Direct Payments Are Needed In Ireland
In Ireland, the Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT Network) is advocating for families and individuals with disability, to access a direct payments system for independent living. Theoretically, the family of a deaf child taking the AVT route, would get a budget to buy services they need, instead of following HSE assessments and protocols for services.
What this means, is the children can live full lives in mainstream society with their families, siblings and neighbourhood friends while accessing life opportunities off their own bat.
Change can be ugly, but if its pain points lead to fewer limits and greater independence for children and people with hearing issues, why try to derail this process?