SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 111

Unlocking the Curriculum Johnson et al. interpreter as he or she attempts to encode what the teacher is saying. In such circumstances, an interpreter's signing stands little chance of providing an adequate model of either sign language or English, and without one-to-one communication the child stands little chance of learning a language. It is our view that the mainstreaming of deaf children from hearing families is entirely inappropriate, and that the appropriate placement for them is in environments where they will be allowed to come in contact with other deaf people and to acquire a natural language through interaction. For deaf children of deaf parents who have already acquired age-level proficiency in a natural sign language, mainstream placements may be less inappropriate when there is a highly skilled ASL interpreter present. However, aside from the widespread problem of unavailability of qualified interpreters, even these children are likely to encounter both social and academic difficulties stemming from such factors as stigmatization, social isolation, inability of even the best interpreters to convey everything that is occurring in a classroom, a general restriction on the child's ability to independently receive information from peers, and such practical considerations as having to watch the interpreter while the hearing students may listen and simultaneously perform important visual tasks, such as reading, looking at diagrams on the board, and so on (Winston 1988). In addition, it stands to reason that if interpreters are using ASL, children are again not receiving a model of English. Stone-Harris (1988) has observed that, in spite of these difficulties, the current situation within deaf education programs has caused many deaf parents to seek mainstream placements for their deaf children in order to provide access to at- grade-level curricular content. If our proposals were successful in providing at- grade-level content in special programs, such adaptations would be unnecessary for deaf children of deaf parents. Description of Major Components In this section of the paper we describe the components of a model program for the education of deaf children. A Family Support Program assists in the adaptation and language learning of deaf children and their families from the time of their identification. A Family-Infant- Toddler Program provides organized activities and training with the goal of providing a rich environment for the acquisition of ASL and socio-emotional development. The goal of the Preschool-Kindergarten Program is to prepare children linguistically, socially, and academically for entry to a regular primary school curriculum. A cooperative Child Development Center will provide day-care and linguistic and developmental experiences for children from early childhood through the third grade. In grades 1 through 12 the aim is to achieve on-grade-level performance in academic achievement. SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 111