The class structure is pretty cool, in my opinion. This is a program with three teachers (Kristin, Stephanie and Kayla) and 11 kids, half of whom have an IEP. I love the idea of exposing my kids to kids with all sorts of different needs and learning styles. I think a program like this is fantastic.
The day started with us walking in and Kayla saying hello. Kayla met Jeff and asked him about the stuffed animals he had brought. He told her that he had a snowman, a monkey and a panda. Then Kayla asked him what his name was. He wouldn't answer. After a few seconds he signed, "I'm deaf."
"Hmmmm...," I thought. "He's already playing the deaf card. That was fast. And that's usually Aaron's trick when he doesn't want to listen."
Kayla told us that she knew how to spell her name but not much else. Still, it was cool that she knew about sign language.
Derek and I stayed with the boys and talked with the teachers for about 45 minutes. We learned about the details of how the class runs, that they go outside every day, they have gym twice a week, etc. As we were getting close to leaving a little boy from the class gave Kristin, the lead teacher, a picture he had colored with a red marker.
"I like the red," she said as she signed the word "red."
"Oh, you sign a little in this class?" I asked. I had secretly hoped that there would be a deaf student and interpreter in Jeff and Aaron's class. The kids in this program can have an IEP for anything. It could be a stutter or a physical disability or a behavior issue so a deaf student was certainly possible.
I come to find out that the head teacher was a deaf education major for a while before she switched to special education. She said she used to go to deaf social hours and deaf events. I think she is pretty fluent. She uses a lot of signs in the class room which makes sense because of the various and unique learning styles of so many of the kids.
I told her the story of how Aaron's recent babysitter told him to do something. He didn't want to listen so he signed he was deaf. The sitter, who is going to an interpreting program, signed back to him and his response was, "You're pretty tricky, Kara!" So my boys can't get away with pretending to not hear the teacher. I couldn't have asked for a better placement.
Today after the open house we had a big day of fun. We played at an indoor play center and went out for lunch and ice cream. The boys crashed in the car and it was hard to get two sleeping, 35+ pound boys from the car to their beds by myself. They're sleeping from the long day and we'll see how things go tomorrow.