Monday, 7 January 2019
Another petition demanding more inclusion in education for deaf and disabled, but, not everyone is supporting it, and only 300 did support this one. Which leaves the petitioners 99,700 signatures short of it even being debated.
One issue is that access is being restricted simply because support staff are unaffordable, not undergoing training, or just not available. A wider door isn't the ultimate in access! While not challenging the petition, (I'm sure they mean well, and that ATR refuses to support charities or petitioning as policy), but a lot of these petitions put the cart before the horse in that they are asking for a provision that isn't there, or in some cases won't be used.
This logically suggests demand is really negligible, or not agreed on, and probably no unity in what 'support', type of support, or type of education is actually being demanded. A lot of disabled areas (the deaf one e.g.) prefer specialist education, not inclusive education for that very reason.
While special schools exist, parents with children of special or complex needs are going to prefer that, and not watch their kids singled out in the mainstream, or dumped in an annex somewhere and patronised. The only proviso parents suggest, is that specialist support is localised and children not commuting elsewhere out of area etc. Mainstreaming. This isn't really viable economically, as some areas simply would not have sufficient children to fill a class. E.G. Only 3 children deaf in South Wales were sent to a special deaf school, and that was in England as Wales hasn't any. What area would build a school, for just 3 children?
There is no speciality available to work within mainstreaming. Deaf people are ALL about specialisation, alternative language approaches, and deaf education, not inclusion, as this specialist type of approach encourages and supports their cultural aspirations. There is some 'stand-off' between approaches to deaf education between parents and purists, and between local authorities and even language approaches to the national curriculum as well as the traditional deaf v Deaf battles.
The Deaf tend to ignore basic realities in that their support and that deaf schools are in sharp decline, and the specialisations they had, have been dispersed and lost, but it hasn't stopped their demands to reverse the process of inclusion being re-branded as 'discrimination' in a desperate attempt to stop the decline.
The fact that the deaf don't HAVE the specialists they demand to support them, or that they are even being trained, or, that as adults, 2 or 3 support workers for every 100 of them is the current norm, but is being ignored. This suggests logically they aren't creating the very demand for what they are asking for. It is inclusive demands by rote with no real desire for it, the drive for funding and recognition drives most of it, the conflicts of deaf versus disability and because of differences in aim, i.e. if, it conflicts with their cultural view and its preservation. Culture impetus has left communication need in its wake. It limits choices too.
While all this nonsense goes on, deaf children and their families continue to be 'Aunt Sally' for the pro and anti deaf area demands. In short, nobody are putting children first themselves, We could draw attention to the fact over 60% of deaf signers do not create own demand for interpreters, because they are using family or even technology to do that. Another 52% are using CI's with different demands. In the clamour nobody is addressing HoH issues. When they get BSL in a classroom to be included they still feel isolated and keep raising issues mainstreaming is not good for the deaf child. It doesn't stop them, however, still demanding that same support, the biggest issue with deaf education and support is the Deaf attitude, not the provision, difficult as that is to provide.
First, create real demand, then, provision may follow. This means Deaf putting themselves out there and not hiding behind sign language. Not using family support etc and making a genuine effort in mainstream inclusion, of course better support is a right too, but activism needs to put children not dogma first. Another day, another pointless petition, ho hum!