Saturday, January 30, 2010

High School Fun

I haven't written anything about school in quite a while, and it's been somewhat intentional*. Ever since the start of the school year, I've been struggling to hear in a couple of my discussion-based classes. The discussion is fast, and it's nearly impossible to run a single FM across the room when one of my classes is a double classroom with over 40 kids. Of course, this was only compounded by the lack of closed captioning and the struggles that every other freshman has- adjusting to the workload, reading, lack of free time, etc.

There were/are only two main classes that I was struggling in. They're college level classes, so I guess that's part of the reason so much of it is discussion rather than lecturing. I occasionally have trouble hearing/missing things in other classes, but I can deal with that. It's when I spend hours studying out of the textbook, trying to compensate the discussion I missed, only to score significantly worse than others who don't study at all, I get frustrated. It's not that they're smarter than I am, it's just that I'm sick of sitting in class feeling like I'm missing everything that's going on. Anyway, after much more than my fair share of meetings and tears, I asked if I could try out CART or C-Print and see if it would help me.

I'd already gotten the opportunity to try them out at various conventions and events for people with hearing loss. From these conventions, I also know various adults who are just past college age with CI's. I contacted a couple of them to ask if they'd struggled in high school, and they said they'd also experienced the same issues I had. They were able to get CART (often, after a long and hard fight with the school system) and it helped them dramatically.

The people from Deaf/Special Ed said that they'd have to evaluate me and determine that I have an educational need in order to access this technology. They sent a lady from Deaf Ed to answer any questions we had about the CART evaluation ahead of time. If it wasn't so frustrating, it would have been somewhat comical that this lady had absolutely no clue how the evaluation worked, and answered every question with, "You know, I'm really not sure..."  The only thing we could get out of her was that they would come by and evaluate me, both with and without CART, to find out if it was giving me better access. Okay, then... They were allowed 45 days to complete the evaluation. After 41 days, and not a single person coming to evaluate me, my mom sent an email inquiring when we would find out the results of the report. "We'll have it ready in just a few days," they said. Seeing as they had yet to step foot in a single classroom of mine, I could definitely see where the whole thing was heading...

I've decided to break up the school thing into more manageable segments, since it's an unbelievably long, drawn out story. I'm sure you could figure this out from the fact that we asked for CART in September, and it's now almost February.

*I didn't want to just complain when I actually had no answers to share. There's also the fear of anyone being able to read this blog, but at this point, I really don't care.


  1. Oh, that sounds terrible. I know how it can be working with the school system. I hope that it eventually works out for you.

  2. Wow. How frustrating! I don't understand why it is taking so long for you to get a CART, but then again I can understand (from working in the school system).
    Good for you asking for assistance. I wish more of my students would do this.
    I used the CART while I was in graduate school. I really liked it and it helped me follow the discussions and hear what was being said in side conversations.
    Good luck with getting a CART. I hope that you won't have to wait another 5 months.


  3. OK-- I know how to deal with this. I got CART for my kids' graduations. The high school balked, but I threatened to file a suit with the Office of Civil Rights. They do NOT need to determine your 'need' for CART. That is total BS.

    You are deaf! :-) Federal law requires them to accommodate you. Do a search on "Office for Civil Rights" and your state or city. There will be information about filing a suit. You do not have to pay. Their lawyers generally try to work out a conflict.

    Use email to contact your school and keep records of what they say. Then contact your school principal and tell him or her you are filing a suit with the office of civil rights.

    Trust me, your CART will be provided ASAP. I have had to do this three times-- twice over CART and once because the school decided my learning disabled son no longer needed accommodations. All three times the school decided to provide our accommodations within minutes of notification that I had filed a suit.

    The fact is school personnel do not know the laws regarding your rights. They need to be educated.

    Good Luck!! :-)

  4. I don't know if my last comment went through. You need to file suit with the office for civil rights. I have gotten CART for my kids graduations.

  5. Thank you all for your comments. This post is about what happened earlier in the year- there's an update coming.

    Kim- Sorry for the confusion, I turned comment moderation on because I had gotten a spam comment. Unfortunately, it seems that CART for educational purpose is the same as any othe accomodation in schools, and in my school system they'll do anything to get out of giving accomodations. There's more to the story...stay tuned for a more detailed update!

  6. I can't wait to read the rest of your story. Thank you for the courage to discuss your struggles getting the accomodation you need. I think it will help many others.
    All the best,

  7. Looking forward to reading the update and hoping you have some good news on that front!



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