Fifty-Five Years of Change in Deaf Education

Elsa Auerbach is a teacher for the Deaf in America. Auerbach has been teaching the Deaf since 1963. All Ears at Child’s Voice: A Hearing Loss Podcast interview Auerbach to discuss the changes that she has seen in education for Deaf children. There is no music during the podcast. Before 1960, Deaf children’s access to education was through oralism. William Stokoe is credited for the change to the option of American Sign Language after publishing his research called Sing Language Structure in 1960. Auerbach can reflect on fifty-five years of evolution.

The podcast supports the historical view by discussing the changes in oralism since 1963—the information the Auerbach does help the historical narrative since the shift to the bilingual approach. Oralism programs became spars until the 1990s. Auerbach describes that in the ’70s, she began private practice for oralism due to requests from the parents. Due to the change from oralism, there were no longer programs for children to use their voices. New advances for communication, such as sign language and total communication, were predominant during that time in Missouri. In 1996, she helped establish a program called A Children’s Voice. She discusses that children were commonly diagnosed at the age of five in her classroom. Today, this is not the case due to new technology where children are tested at birth. New technologies such as the cochlear implant were introduced during her time as an educator.

I feel as this podcast provides useful information about difficulties with technology in the 1960s. However, the podcast is lacking Deaf culture, Deaf pride, Identity, and other factors that many Deaf people identify as. In Deaf culture, there are two types of Deaf people. The community classifies it as capital D, Deaf and little d, deaf. Lower case d, Deaf is an individual that views their deafness as an impairment instead of an identity. This podcast represents that part of the community. When listening to the podcast, I felt that the title of the podcast did not represent all Deaf education such as oralism and bilingualism. I enjoyed listening to how oralism has changed just as other aspects of Deaf education. The sound quality is excellent, and I was able to hear both the interviewer and Elsa Auerbach.

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