Remote education for deaf and hard of hearing students concern local parent

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Public Schools has more than 50 deaf and hard of hearing students. Many of them will be learning remotely and that plan has a mother concerned about how effective her daughter’s education will be. 

Iliona will be in sixth grade, and she will start the school year remotely.

“I love school,” said student Iliona Perkins.

Ilion’s mother Sherri Perkins said she is concerned her daughter could fall behind.

“She’s actually wanting to learn new things and with taking that away from her when we didn’t go back from break devastated her,” said mother Sherri Perkins. “She’s come so far over the last couple of years, we’re gonna lose progress if we remote learn.”

Sherri Perkins is worried her daughter will struggle to pay attention and see translations properly, but after teaching remotely during the summer, Wichita Public Schools said it has worked out a plan. 

“That’s what we’re going to be here for is to find a way to make it work,” said Interpreting Service supervisor Veronica Frambers. 

An interpreter will be in every classroom. They will attend virtually, split a screen with the teacher, or wear a clear face shield when unable to socially distance. 

As for the students, they can ask questions in the chat, turn on the camera so teachers can see them, and press a button to raise their hand. 

The schools will also provide closed captioning for the students. 

“I see this as a growing experience for them because they will be, most of them, using technology like this in the future to communicate,” said Fambers.

Sherri Perkins isn’t sure those steps will be enough for her daughter and other deaf and hard of hearing students. She hopes the board of education will bring the students back to the classroom, as she knows her daughter’s challenges well.

“I am her biggest advocate, and I have to be her voice,” said Perkins.

The support team plans to train students and parents before classes begin, in order to show them how to use the programs and break down what each cold will need for the school year.

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