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Lawrence Newman’s childhood was interesting. He became deaf at age of five due to a surgery that cut the seventh cranial nerve that transversed his middle ear. The surgery also left facial nerve palsy on the left part of his face. He then went to Lexington School for the Deaf and transferred to New York School for the Deaf as known as Fanwood, when Lexington became school for only girls. Bernard Bragg was his roommate at Fanwood. Newman went to Gallaudet after high school and bloomed there. He met Merv Garrettson at Gallaudet.
Newman became a teacher and his first teaching job was at Central New York School for the Deaf in Rome. He got his teaching job at California School for the Deaf, Riverside when it first opened in 1953. He eventually became a principal and assistant superintendent.
Newman was an activist for deaf children’s education. He fought the rights of deaf children’s education. He believed that every deaf child should be able to acquire sign language to be able to have a language. He is a father of five children and his last daughter is deaf. She acquired sign language since she was a baby. Her language bloomed. He was wondering how hearing parents communicated with their deaf child. They replied that their deaf child had to point to things to get what they wanted. That already proved that his philosophy of early language acquisition is important.
Newman was involved in a lot of organizations and wrote for a lot of deaf publications. He served on various boards, including the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). He became vice president of California Association of the Deaf (CAD). He became president of NAD in 1986 and served two terms. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Gallaudet in 1978.
This book is interesting. I was impressed with a quote that Newman wrote in this book, “Education is to deaf people what the Golden Fleece was to Jason in mythology. He was willing to go through many trials and tribulations because if he could get the Golden Fleece, the throne in the kingdom of Greece would be his. If deaf people could get an education, their minds would be set free and the kingdom of the world would be theirs.”
The way I see this book is that it’s good for hearing people who want to work with the deaf. It’s also good for deaf educators. It is even good for hearing parents who are not sure about the education for their deaf child. There are poems by Lawrence close to the end of the book. I enjoyed reading them. I learned some new things from this book regarding deaf education like Least Restrictive Education and Public Law 94-142 (PL 94-142). I would recommend this book to those who are in the deaf education field or those who want to work with the deaf. Hearing parents of deaf children may want to read this book also.
Lawrence Newman, a retired school administrator and President of the National Association of the Deaf from 1986 to 1990, lives in Riverside, CA.
David Kurs is a writer in Los Angeles, CA.
ISBN 1-56368-408-X, 978-1-56368-408-1, 6 x 9 paperback, 232 pages
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