Students from USD 475, as well as a student from Chapman High School, attended a luncheon sponsored by Coach’s Restaurant in Junction City and I SIGN Consulting on May 5th, 2017. Many of the students met for the first time today and got to enjoy themselves with other students who, like them, are deaf or hard of hearing. After lunch the group went to Putt-A-Round putt-putt course in Junction City and played a few rounds of miniature golf.
The following article was written by Susie Stanfield, Teacher of the Deaf, I SIGN Consulting:
Imagine being a child and never seeing any adults that look like you, or even other children. Imagine the thoughts that would run through your mind.
There are many things that deaf or hard of hearing (d/hh) children often ask themselves. Ninety percent of d/hh children are born to hearing families with no history of deafness. Thankfully, with newborn hearing screenings and early childhood education programs in place, these children are identified at an earlier age than ever before. Early identification is the key for educational success for these students.However, equally important, is the opportunity for these students to have real peer interaction daily, as well as staff who can communicate in the language of the Deaf Community.
USD 475 has a long history of being a place where military families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be placed. The program to serve these students has undergone many changes over the years. The elementary Deaf Ed program has been housed at Ware Elem, Eisenhower Elem, and Washington Elem, just to name a few.
It has been a few years since these students were given the opportunity to socialize with each other. That socialization is important because it provides an increase in their own self-awareness as d/hh students, giving them a community within the school district. Some of the students here today are new to the district; some have been in the same school without d/hh peers since Kindergarten; one is visiting from another district, where he is the only d/hh student in his school. The students have been looking forward to this even all semester, but we had to wait for other scheduling conflicts to end (state assessments, other field trips, etc) and for the weather to be good.
The staff here today with these students have decades of experience between them. Susie Stanfield has been a Teacher of the Deaf for 35 years. Christina Ziegler, the lead sign language interpreter, grew up with a deaf mother. Marie Wingate has been an interpreter in USD 475 for 15 years. Amanda Peterson is in her first year as a Deaf Ed para-professional. Rossi Fisher is the Deaf Ed para-professional at Chapman High School.
A big shoutout to Coach’s restaurant, Putt-A-Round putt-putt course in Junction City, and I SIGN Consulting for sponsoring this event for these students.