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Washington Voices


Thu., June 18, 2009

Letter misunderstands HOPE School’s focus

I am writing in response to the letter written by Eloisa Williams and Betsy Jordan (June 11 Voices) in which they criticized HOPE School’s mission to provide a “listen and spoken language” education to preschool children with hearing loss (May 21 Voices).

Ms. Williams and Ms. Jordan clearly did not read the article, or they would not have the mistaken notion that an auditory-oral education relies on lipreading. The preschoolers at HOPE School have listening devices (hearing aids or cochlear implants) which provide them the chance to hear and become oral communicators. Their success depends on intense early intervention which includes speech therapy, audiological monitoring and a small-group, language-enriched preschool environment where they receive instruction from a certified teacher of the deaf and a certified speech-language pathologist/instructional assistant.

The focus at HOPE School is listening and talking, not speech reading (lipreading).

It is important to note that the parents of the children at HOPE School have chosen to have their children access oral language through modern technology. These children, given the appropriate education, will have the opportunity to become functioning members of the hearing world. This is a miracle.

It is clear from Ms. Williams’ and Ms. Jordan’s closing remarks about “issues and barriers” and being “just like so-called normal people” that they, along with some members of the deaf community, hold a prejudice against providing deaf and hard-of-hearing children an opportunity to learn to listen and talk. Well, a doctor once said to me, “When the right tool is in the tool box, use it.” Modern hearing aids and cochlear implants are the tools of the 21st century. What a miracle!

Jennie Wheaton

Certified speech-language pathologist

instructional assistant, HOPE School


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