Position Statement on Inclusive Education March 2012
children have the right to an education.
Education for the deaf means the education of students with various hearing
levels in a way that addresses the students’ individual differences and needs. An
inclusive education program for Deaf students must be customized to address
each individual student’s unique needs.
- the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangment of teaching procedures;
- adapted equipments and materials;
- teachers of the Deaf;
- ASL/English interpreters;
- accessible settings;
- other interventions designed to help students of various hearing levels achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and community than would be availble if the student were given access to a typical classroom education.
closures of schools for the deaf throughout the world and in particular the
Newfoundland School for the Deaf, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of
the Deaf (NLAD) has no choice but to accept Inclusive Education for students
who are deaf.
recognizes that while Inclusive Education in public schools may be acceptable
and suitable for many students who are deaf, it may not be for all students. Generally,
the Deaf child in a regular school is isolated due to the
language/communication difference. Inclusive Education must allow each student
to feel respected, confident and safe so he or she can learn and develop to his
or her full potential. It is based on a system of values and beliefs centered
on the best interests of the students. It must promote social cohesion,
belonging, and active participation in learning, a complete school experience
and positive interactions with peers and others in the school community.
The regular classroom must accommodate the individual needs of Deaf students and teaching methodologies.
- Specialized services may be provided inside or outside the regular classroom, depending on the service or the particular course of study. Deaf students may need to leave the regular classroom to attend small, or one on one more intensive instructional teaching in a resource room.
- Individualized programs (ISSP)
- Deaf students with complex severe needs may require access to specialized classrooms where appropriate supports are in place.
The Government of Newfounland and Labrador needs to ensure additional professional supports and servics are avilable to students who are deaf in the Newfoundland and Labrador Inclusive Education system. These supports and services include but are not limited to:
- Guidance counsellors who understand ASL and Deaf culture
- ASl Development Specialists/Evaluators
- Professional and paraprofessional services available to pre-schoolers
- Teaching of ASL to Deaf babies and Deaf pre-schoolers
- Assistive technology professionals
- A committee to regularly oversee and evaluate the individual Deaf students in Inclusive Education placements
American Sign Language, or ASL, is
a complex form of manual communication
in which hands, limbs, head, facial expression and body language are
used to communicate a visual-spatial language without sound. ASL is not related
to spoken English, and features an entirely different grammar and vocabulary:
linguistically it is a complete, natural and fully realized language in its own
Acquisition of the spoken language is probably the major education
challenge for deaf children. The ability to speak, read and write the language
of the majority society greatly facilitates the life of the deaf person, but
learning to speak is not a simple task as many factors influence this
acquisition for example residual hearing, family involvement and learning
Effective communication in American Sign Language (ASL) demands
consistent visual attention to the signer unlike spoken communication where
visual attention to the speaker is not required.
Early social interactions in which the deaf child can learn ASL and
the appropriate linguistic behavior as well as facilitate cognitive development
Studies on ASL and on the development of language in deaf children
provide evidence that deaf children exposed to a signed language acquire it in the
mind the same way as hearing children learn a language spoken in their
environment. Deaf children process information in signs and do not translate
the signs into corresponding English words.
It is imperative that for Deaf children be exposed to ASL early in
life for language acquisition. The acquisition of a natural sign language
supports the acquisition of a spoken language.
Successful education of deaf children is dependent on the use of
ASL as the language of instruction. Deaf children cannot achieve complete
mastery and native fluency in a language to which they have but limited and
conditional access. The significance of language for human life is indisputable.
Many children born deaf are not given the opportunity to discover
unconditionally the world of language early in life. It impacts not only the
linguistic environment but also the child’s psychological, social and emotional
Early exposure to a signed language has permanent linguistic
benefits. Sign Language competency is positively related to spoken language
literacy. It is clear that deaf children need to be educated in Sign Language.
Deaf children educated bilingually often achieve high reading and writing
Language is connected to our identity, self-awareness and inner
being. Language connects people. Individuals using the same language often feel
a special bond. The language tie tends to be stronger than other human
characteristic. Our linguistic development is linked to our cognitive, social
and personality development as well as to our self-esteem and identity.
Deaf children need deaf adults as role models and peers with whom
they can interact and play.