MANILA, Philippines — QUESTION: I have a deaf child who is transferring from a regular school to a special school. I’m worried about her adjustment since she is used to interacting with hearing people, although she knows how to sign. She doesn’t like the idea and she wants to stay in her current school. I just wanted her to interact with other deaf children her age. The school has a lot of good programs suited for her. Am I making a right decision about this? Please help. – Worried Mom
TEACHER TESS SAYS: Two reasons are mentioned for your child’s transfer to a special school. First, you want her to interact with other deaf children her age.
Referral for a special education evaluation is the first step in the process of determining if your child should receive special education services. The evaluation should examine all areas of suspected disability and provide a detailed description of your child’s educational needs. The evaluation should answer these questions:
1. Does the child have a disability? What type?
2. Does the disability cause the child to be unable to progress effectively in regular education?
3. Does the child have difficulties in coping up with the inclusive education requirements?
4. Does the child require specially designed instruction to make progress or does the child require a related service or services in order to access the general curriculum?
5. Does the current school give the necessary services for the child?
The answer to each of these questions should be “yes”. Students cannot be determined eligible for special education just because they cannot learn academic skills or because they find difficulties in their socialization skills. Or when the reason is just like what you have mentioned in your query.
Second reason: The school has a lot of good programs suited for her.
Special education is specially designed instruction and related services that meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. The purpose of special education is to allow children/students with special needs to successfully develop their individual educational potential and talent(s). Along with providing services to these special learners, if necessary, services are provided to parents and teachers.
When your child transfers to a special education program, she will be aware that she is not in a regular classroom setting. You may discuss with her why she is going to a special school, its advantages such as more teachers with specialization in teaching special students, more enjoyable activities, and more children who are like her.
As your child has openly shown her dislike for going to a special school, discuss your concerns and the purpose of why you think special education is appropriate for her.
The Philippine School for the Deaf is an excellent national school that offers a comprehensive special educational program specially designed for their eligible special students. It has institutionalized a school-to-work transition and adult vocational education which assures students of academic, personality, socialization and career development programs for their community integration in the future.
Both of you may visit this school for her to see how she can make effective progress and develop her maximum potential and eventually be a productive, self-directed and fully participative and empowered member of the society.
So which school is right for your child?
You can answer this question based on your child’s particular, individualized needs. Ask what kind of setting wherein your child will learn best, and at the same time maintain and keep in touch with her friends from the other school
Finally, be sincere and honest to yourself and your child about the real reason why school transfer is necessary. God bless!