Interview with the Author
Gina A. Oliva
GUPress: What was the impetus behind “The Solitary Mainstream
Author, Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf
Woman Remembers Public School
Gina A. Oliva: Well, first, people need to understand that my own
father had a hearing loss, but he remained “in the hearing world” his entire
life. He had a loss similar to mine—it started out as a moderate loss in
childhood and progressed to a profound loss by the mid-20s. How he dealt with
(or did not deal with, actually) his own hearing loss, and how that affected his
life and our family life, was the real impetus behind my desire to bring the
“solitary” experience to light. So, I interviewed 60 hard of hearing and deaf
adults who were mainstreamed “alone” as I was.
GUPress: How did you come up with the idea of writing Alone in the
Mainstream from that research?
Gina A. Oliva: I wanted to publish something that
would emphasize that people like my father (e.g., people who are deaf or hard of
hearing but have nothing to do with the deaf community) are really ubiquitous.
And, further, I am concerned that the children who are subject to “inclusion”
are in danger of becoming isolated adults, like my father.
To be honest, the book in its final form is the result of recommendations from
the GU Press (thank you!). My first manuscript was about 90% research report
with about 10% of my own story. The Press suggested that I add more of my own
story and reduce the large number of quotes from the 60 Solitary Mainstream
Project participants. In the process of rewriting, I found my voice, so I came
to really appreciate that recommendation.
GUPress: Do you think deaf children coming out of mainstreaming
programs today have a sense of Deaf identity or Deaf culture?
Gina A. Oliva: My observation is that children who have little or
no contact with other deaf/hard of hearing children or adults do not have a
sense of Deaf identity or culture. However, once they meet others like
themselves, they will and do develop that sense. A great majority of the
Solitary Mainstream Project participants found the Deaf World (hurray!!) and
that, in itself, says a whole lot.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The Real Ideal
How Integrating Children With
Since the enactment of PL 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children
Act of 1975, the United States has undergone a profound transformation in
its efforts to provide a “free and appropriate education” for school-age
individuals with disabilities. Robert L. Osgood’s
The History of
Inclusion in the United States attempts to understand more thoroughly and
accurately what inclusion is, how it came to be, and where it might go.
Core issues in the inclusion debate are: efficacy; efficiency and economy;
territory; community; legality; power and identity; and axiology. While distinct
in many ways, these issues share three questions central to their exploration:
Where shall such education take place? Who should be responsible
for it? And what, if anything, is so truly special about special
education that separate educational settings are necessary.
The History of Inclusion in the United States examines the ideal
of authentic physical, educational, psychological, and interpersonal integration
of children with disabilities in regular education settings: how it started, who
has supported it and why, who has questioned it and why, and what our responses
as a society have meant to the education of all students, whether formally
identified as disabled or not.
Read chapter three, “1960-1968: Challenging Traditions
in Special Education,” which covers the period where segregated
special education grew steadily in size, scope, and power, and the role of the
federal government increased dramatically.
History of Inclusion at a special savings of 20% off.
Alone in the
Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School, the inaugural volume that
launched the Deaf Lives
series, author Gina A. Oliva combines her personal experiences with a survey of
deaf and hard of hearing former public school students to describe what it was
like to be the only deaf pupil in the school.
Her work did not go unnoticed. A review from About.com, a guide-based
information portal, highly recommends this title: “Professionals working with
mainstreamed programs would benefit by reading this book of collected memories
to determine how to keep all the positive consequences of the mainstream
experience intact while addressing the isolating experience that so many
mainstreamed students speak of and experience.” In addition, Oliva’s research
“succinctly describe mainstream children’s isolation from peers, support from
their parents impacting education, and their self-awareness of who they are and
what they are capable of today because of mainstreamed education.” Read the
review in its
order Alone in the Mainstream.
Studies Quarterly published an exceptional
review of Gaillard
in Deaf America: A Portrait of the Deaf Community, 1917, the third volume in
Classics in Deaf Studies series, stating:
“Gaillard in Deaf America functions as an accessible historical text
that provides an interesting account of early deaf communities in America, and
should be a valuable resource for scholars of both Deaf Studies and Disability
Studies. The editor’s introduction provides a solid framework for the purpose of Gaillard’s narrative and the historical importance of his work. For those in the
field of rhetoric, the appendix also includes Edwin A. Hodgson’s speech,
“Benefits of Education to the Deaf,” and for those interested in education and
pedagogy in general, education of the deaf is a core element of Gaillard’s
work.” The tome chronicles the travels of Henri Gaillard during his visit to
America only a few weeks after the United States entered World War I.
Order Gaillard in Deaf America today.
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