So we had been handed a menu of options to chose from that would help us become parents of a deaf child. We were told we could ask for anything.
It was like going to a diner and they hand you a giant menu with flashy pictures of all the delicious culinary delights they offer. Giant ham sandwiches with piles of cheese melted on sourdough bread, biscuits and gravy with a stack of bacon, three patty cheeseburgers and deep fried chicken. There are pages of options but you are looking for a nice healthy salad with a splash of olive oil.
You request this and are told the chef will try. An hour later a ham sandwich arrives. You send it back politely. Then a tuna salad arrives, you send it back explaining you realize it is a salad but you are allergic to tuna and asked for a green salad. You ask to speak to the chef.
The chef arrives 30 minutes later and tells you he can't open the cooler with the veggies. You ask who has the key? That would be the manager. You ask to speak to the manager and they send out the assistant who tells you he needs to research the location of the key and they have never served vegetables before.
At this point you are starving and getting grouchy. You have to maintain your cool because if you show your frustration they will kick you out and there isn't another restaurant for miles. The manager finally arrives and opens the door a crack for the chef. The lights are not working so he grabs some fruit and tosses it on a plate. This is your salad. You eat some of it and go home to just make a green salad yourself.
We thought our requests were pretty simple.
We asked for a deaf mentor. We were told they didn't have any deaf staff to fill the position and it had to be an employee of the school district. They didn't understand why we didn't just use one of our deaf friends.
We asked for the teacher who came for home visits to be deaf. Again same problem.
We asked that the home center class use ASL. They told us that the other families needed the service as provided. I asked for a new class to be set up. They would look into it. I told them my son needed and interpreter while we waited. The sent a pregnant staff member who walked in the room and said,
" I have no idea what you expect me to do and my legs are swollen"
" Interpret everything that is said so my son can see"
" He is too little to pay attention"
"That is not the issue"
She was frustrated and confused and tired from being pregnant so she needed to sit on the floor. She didn't interpret the class.
That is just a sample of some of the issues we had.
For the last 11 years we have been grateful for his education. The only thing is it was always just off. Except for a 1 1/2 years of preschool in L.A. we have always been fighting for something. The last fight was an ASL curriculum at the deaf school. They got a new Principal last year and guess what? He convinced the board that the school should go bi-bi! Too late for us but I am so happy for the kids.
This is the first school year where we can relax. More about that later I need to go watch my son's dance class at school.