Minister Darin King’s response to Gary Malkowski of August 7, 2010,

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Dear Mr. Malkowski:

 

Thank you for your letter dated August 7, 2010 regarding Newfoundland and Labrador’s Provincial School for the Deaf closure.  The decision to close the Newfoundland School for the Deaf was made after careful consideration.  Since 2003, the enrollment at Newfoundland School for the Deaf (NSD) has been in decline and the number of students in the building is extremely low. With advancements in medical technology, many families are choosing to fit their children with cochlear implants which allow their child to attend their neighborhood school.  The Department of Education’s auditory verbal therapist works throughout the province to support the itinerants for the Hearing Impaired to ensure appropriate programming for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.

 

In 2007, when families were presented with the option to educate their children in their community schools, many chose to do this and a teacher of the Deaf was hired or reassigned to work with the children.

 

Curriculum is changing to accommodate the needs of all types of learners and teachers are being trained to meet the diverse needs in their classrooms.  Assistive technology and alternate format materials to enhance learning are provided, and courses in American Sign Language are being offered to students and teachers.

 

Deaf and Hard of Hearing students will be provided with the supports needed to promote their educational, social and emotional growth.  They have access to the services of a teacher of the Deaf, an ASL interpreter, an itinerant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a departmental liaison, an auditory verbal therapist, a special education teacher, a student assistant, an audiologist and a guidance counsellor, depending on their academic, language, emotional and social needs.

 

The Department of Education will continue to provide a sound education and opportunities for networking within the larger community by supplying iPhones to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, their teachers and parents to create better access for communication. We are working in liaison with Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – NL (CHHA-NL) to keep abreast of the latest technology and advice for setting up classrooms that are conducive for learning.

 

Sincerely,

 

DARIN T. KING, PhD

MHA, District of Grand Bank

Minister

 

EXC/10/8/1457

 

Janet Cormey

Secretary to the Minister (A)

Department of Education

P. O. Box 8700

3rd Floor, West Block

St. John's, NL  AlB 4J6

Phone:  709-729-5040

Fax:  709-729-0414

 

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  • DeafCanadian
    August 31, 2010 - 20:19

    Newfoundland Deaf children are now in danger of becoming dependent on society and the government. This is truly disabling Deaf children. Look at how many personnel the government is talking about hiring for a solitary Deaf child per public school: 1. a teacher of the Deaf, 2. an ASL interpreter, 3. an itinerant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, 4. a departmental liaison, 5. an auditory verbal therapist, 6. a special education teacher, 7. a student assistant, 8. an audiologist 9. guidance counsellor "depending on their academic, language, emotional and social needs." That's practically an army for ONE Deaf child in a public school! My educated interpretation of what this army means...( and I'm a fully functional INDEPENDENT Deaf adult who has NEVER worn a cochlear implant! )... a) Velcro interpreter who (IF found by some miracle from the TINY NL pool of interpreters, assuming they actually use ASL, and not some half-baked communication mode that mangles both ASL and English) will be with the Deaf child, but only interprets what the teacher says and NOT the full class discussions... several of which will occur simultaneously in the classroom and in halls. b) itinerant teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing , who will show up once or twice a week and tinker with the student's hearing aid or cochlear implant, check the FM system to see if it's working, and maybe tutor for 40 minutes oto an hour or so depending on the request) then goes on to another public school with one Deaf child there... c) departmental liaison... who? What does that mean? Is that a coordinator for IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) planning, interpreting services etc? I'd be interested to know what the government's description of that job position is! d) auditory-verbal therapist who, judging by the virulently audist, monolingual, AVT philosophy, is dead set against ASL and believes that ASL is detrimental to the development of speech, and against any visual cues including lipreading... e)Special education teacher that views Deaf child as disabled... and not fully functioning member of society... (Special education is a far cry from Deaf education. The two are mutually exclusive, and do not have the same views or strategies to teach Deaf children. ) f) student assistant... PLEASE! That's assigned to a peer student who will shadow this Deaf child and "help" this child interact with others... That student assistant will grow up with the audist perception that Deaf people NEED help for the rest of their lives... g) audiologist... to check for changes in hearing status and to repair hearing aids and ensure that they are in working form. Same for cochlear implants (I assume) h) guidance counsellor... just for the Deaf child? to decide the type of employment and pathway appropriate for the Deaf child? Now, multiply this army by the number of public schools where solitary Deaf children are placed in Newfoundland, and you have a greater expenditure than if all Deaf children were placed in a school for the Deaf. Presto! New job positions for all those professionals... on the backs of Deaf children. The government would rather go the expensive route than let Deaf children go to NSD, in an inclusive situation where they can thrive socially and educationwise in their own language... ASL, and write and read English. THAT's BILINGUALISM IN ACTION! Placed as solitaries in public school, Deaf children are doomed to monolingualism... and in many cases semilingualism. This would translate in longer waiting lists for mental health care in adulthood, higher incidence in imprisonment for Deaf adults who were robbed of their education and potential. Again, look to Saskatchewan for proof. The NL Ministry of Education dropped the ball on this one big time.

  • DeafCanadian
    August 31, 2010 - 20:03

    Now that's political spinning of a bad decision for you... The parents were pushed to make the choice to mainstream their children. (Remember the former NSD principal's description of how the gov't has been slowly strangling NSD through attrition to the point they could finally justify the closure of NSD in the name of... inclusion (which ironically enough manages to EXCLUDE the Deaf child and make the Deaf child dependent on society.) The Minister of Ed.'s reply to Gary Malkowski's letter which objected to the closure of NSD is quite deceptively glib. What this minister doesn't know will happen is that this decision will come back to bite the NL government big time. Saskatchewan's butt is currently sore from the enormous chomp their government got, with the court decision indicting the government in their mishandling of the education of a Deaf boy. Google it, please. The plight of that child is mirrored in the majority of deaf people in Saskatchewan in the last 20 years. Yet, NL government didn't bother to do their homework???