Monroe Elementary Caters To Children With Hearing, Vision Impairments

Thursday, November 27th 2014, 9:19 pm
By: News 9

With close to 100 schools in the Oklahoma City Public School district, there is only one elementary school for kids with hearing and vision impairments.

At Monroe Elementary School class, instructor Nicole Oldham teaches four grade levels to a class that can hardly hear her.

"I have to repeat myself a lot," Oldham said. "Most teachers when they turn in a set of lesson plans, they turn in one set of lessons plans for the week. I turn in four."

Oldham has to break down each lesson in multiple languages based on the child's needs.

“They may want to use signed exact English, Spanish or Vietnamese, American Sign Language or as much speech as possible with a little bit of pantomiming, and that's what we do. We match each kid to what they want and what their family sets down,” Oldham said.

Oldham's class uses the latest technology.

“I program the frequency to a specific child's hearing aid and this microphone literally pipes my voice in directly into their head,” she said.

Multiple picture diagrams and a big horseshoe table is a must, so that every student can see her. Oldham says the biggest misconceptions about her students are people thinking that they only use sign language.

"If I could tell anybody anything about deaf ed. is just stop using the word ‘only'. We do everything."

It's a much different and quieter scene in teacher Rebecca Izu's room. Her tiny class ranges from students with low vision to no vision.

"Visual impairment is no obstacle to achieving the goal of general education," Izu said. “So when the sighted students are reading in the classes, they can also take turns and read with them exactly the same thing.”

There are large print books, calculators and even maps, a globe and a copier in Braille.

"We have a program that when I push emboss, the paper comes out in Braille form."

Izu says her biggest challenge is that she has to teach every student one by one, but she says it's well worth it.

“I'm watching my kids achieving what they did not have before, learning Braille and gaining access to the world of print in their own way even though they have some challenges, they have some disabilities, they can read and write,” Izu said.

It's a lesson charted in patience and diligence that leaves these teachers with joy unspeakable.

“Success is measured in so many different ways, I love my job, and everyday they're having success and they're making milestones," Oldham said.