The Irony of “Inclusion”: Here’s an article on Deaf schools from our northern neighbors. In the same way as in the United States, Canadian Deaf schools face threats of closure as a result of the push toward “inclusion” or mainstreaming students. Money issues are usually the main reason for efforts to shut down Deaf schools or change them in major ways, such as opening them up to hearing students or merging them with schools for blind students, to cite just a couple of ideas that have come up in the news recently.
As the Canadian article notes, Deaf students who attend primarily hearing schools are likely to experience more difficulties related to their identity, language development, and sense of belongness in the community, all of which can put them at greater risk for experiencing mental health problems. Rather than promoting friendships and connections, the practice of “inclusion” increases Deaf students’ feelings of isolation. Deaf schools, on the other hand, provide opportunities for strengthening identity, developing social skills, and creating lifelong friendships, all of which are invaluable in establishing emotional well-being.