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Letter to San Diego Union Tribune regarding “Advocates for the deaf hope
people are listening.”

Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD (9/11/00)

    To Bernie Jones, Op-Ed

    San Diego Union Tribune
    Re: Advocates for the deaf hope people are listening, SDU-T,
        9/10/00, B-1.
    "There is nothing to stop deaf children from achieving full literacy
    skills," says Kay Vincent of the Alliance for Language and Literacy
    for Deaf Children.  "The public school system," she states "is not
    trying to address the issue.  They’re forcing the auditory approach."
    Whenever the truly, handicapped, such as the deaf and blind, are not
    accorded every possible skill with which to adapt and compete, they
    have been failed in a critical, fundamental way.  When children, whether
    deaf, blind or normal, and capable of literacy, are not provided that
    literacy, we are speaking of a "Firestone/Ford catastrophe;" and of a
    "tire separation and a rollover" in their lives.  They have no
    alternative, they must go to public schools where they get the "auditory
    approach," or the "whole language" or "psycho-linguistic" approach to
    reading because that’s "what’s in."  That’s the prevailing fad. It
    doesn’t have to work. And they have no alternative but to accept that
    the "third- or fourth-grade reading level" accorded them is "their
    fault;" "the best they can do" because, they have "learning disabilities"
    and because "educational malpractice" is non-existent.
    But the failed, deaf children are not the only ones destined to be
    illiterate in a literate world.  In 1987, "Cutting-edge," California,
    educators adopted "whole language" to the exclusion of "phonics".
    "Phonics" materials were swept from classrooms.  Since then California’s
    children have been the poorest readers in the nation.  In 1994 (National
    Assessment of Educational Progress) 59% of California’s 4th-graders read
    with less than "basic" competency while 86 % were less than "proficient."
    Nationwide (1998 NAEP) the performance of public education is hardly
    better: only 31 % of 4th-graders, 33% of 8th graders and 40% of 12th
    graders were  "proficient" or better.
    Under the circumstances, we delude ourselves in speaking of "educational
    Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD
    1303 Hidden Mountain Drive
    El Cajon, CA 92019
    fax 619 442 1932

… wrote:
> Thank you very much for your e-mail (letter to San Diego Union
> Tribune of 9/14/00).  Devastating.  I may have exaggerated the 50%,
> (her, 'off the top of her head' estimate of numbers of deaf
> schoolchildren in San Diego on Ritalin or other psychiatric drugs)
> but I do intend to find out what the numbers are.
> And I thought that depriving deaf children of a first language
> during the
> critical period was catastrophic.  It seems that in many of the
> cases I
> have been close to, we have replaced traditional parenting with
> drugs.
> L. (mother & advocate for the deaf)

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