"I would like to extend our gratitude for the opportunity you provided to our son. After our short visit to Edmonton, we have decided to relocate because we are totally convinced that our son will have a better chance of being a successful individual in Alberta School for the Deaf. We felt that he is at home, in the company of his future classmates and new friends."
- Parent of Junior High Student
"I want to write a letter telling our story.
When I first found out that my son was deaf, I was distraught. I had not had to deal with this before and it was all very new to me. I read about what I could during the time I had. But like anything else, a person's mind can be manipulated by others into doing what they 'think' is best for your child.
Being deaf in our culture is extremely hard. I praise all the deaf people because I see now how hard they have had to work and struggle to overcome obstacles that most of us take for granted. Even in today's society, I continually see blockage or obstacles for my son that should not be there. Technology has advanced so far, but still the mainstream population forgets that we are not created equal. For example, some people have mobility issues, others talking, others seeing, others breathing, others thinking, etc.
That being said, not every 'deaf' child is the same just like every 'hearing' child is not the same. Each child has a different need, different way of learning and excels in different areas and needs assistance in others. They cannot be grouped into ONE category.
Some deaf children go into the mainstream school and do fine with the help of an interpreter. Others do not. Each child is individual and has individual needs.
I enrolled my son in a mainstream school system. First he started in a school that had some signing classes that worked out or I thought was working, but it was not.
He then tried another school and again that seemed to be working but in reality it did not either. He ended up hating school. He did not want to go school.
In November of 2008 he started with the Alberta School for the Deaf. This was new to him and us. Truthfully, we were scared to register him in this school. There was this idea somehow set in our heads that by doing this we were giving up. I don't know why I had that feeling or how I had been influenced so much by others into thinking this way before. I had the feeling 'well I've tried everything else... this is the last resort.'
This is such a sad way of thinking. I am ashamed to have thought like that. I am distraught that the mainstream population seems to have these ideological ideas of what is best for your child when, in reality it is just a guess for them.
I was also scared because he has a cochlear implant and I was afraid how he would be treated in ASD because of having it. It was quite the experience because we had to face our fears and just try the Alberta School for the Deaf out for ourselves.
That was the best decision I have made regarding his life. Yes, his life! Schooling is just a part of it. He now has a life! He now fits in! He now has friends! He still struggles to learn, but he is learning now more than all the years before combined! What a drastic change and accomplishment in learning capabilities. He now has support from friends, support from teachers and staff, support from other families that go through or have gone through a lot of the same frustrations a deaf child must face.
The discrimination, the teasing, the humiliation, etc. that a deaf child faces because of being deaf in a regular school system now no longer exists. Now he just has the peer pressures that any child faces.
Yes, I also mentioned that he has a cochlear implant and yes, they help with speech too! The implant is not overlooked. It is not said 'Oh that doesn't matter' or 'what a waste that was'. No, quite the contrary. ASD helps out and works in every area of my son's learning such as speech, language, signing, math, sciences, communicating and self worth what else would you want?
My son now wants to go to school. He loves school. He may not like homework, but not many students do.
I wish that I would have looked into the Alberta School for the Deaf earlier because there is more to this school than you can imagine. The staff is great! The teachers know the frustrations and obstacles faced by the students and the support system is commendable!
Oh yes, and that 'fear' I had about registering at ASD disappeared the first day I stepped into ASD with the warm welcoming we all received and the happy fulfilled look on my son's face of .... 'Mom... I'm where I want to be!' "
-Parent of Elementary Student
"Alberta School For the Deaf (ASD) is a choice school and we are very happy we made that choice! At the age of 2 1/2 , my daughter was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss in her right ear and moderate-severe in her left. It was also determined that her hearing loss was degenerative and one day she would lose the ability to hear even with hearing aides.
From the beginning, we encouraged her verbal skill development along with the use of American Sign Language. When our daughter was four we made the decision to move to Edmonton from BC as she would be starting school and there was more options for her here. Our daughter attended an early childhood program for the deaf for two years and then it was time to decide the next step as she was ready for Grade one. We looked at mainstreaming our daughter in our neighborhood school as well as enrollment at ASD.
I was welcomed to attend a classroom at ASD to observe and get a feel of the "total communication" program that was being offered. The short time I spent in the classroom made me realize it was the place for our daughter. At ASD she would continue to access regular speech therapy sessions - increasing her verbal skills, receive services from an occupational therapist, and increase her ASL language skills all with the Edmonton Public Schools Grade one curriculum and in a smaller classroom environment.
Our daughter is now in Grade two in a total communication class with 7 other students. She has been fortunate to have the same teacher for the past two years but even more fortunate to have the support from all the staff and other students at ASD. It is a structured but fun learning environment for the kids and there has not been a day that our daughter does not want to go to school. She is always excited on Sundays that she will be going to school the next day!"
- Parent of Elementary Student