Enough is Enough
I am an 80 year old grandfather of four wonderful hearing teenaged grandsons of whom I am terribly proud, however, I am even more proud of my two sons that are both profoundly deaf. Our oldest boy as well as having no residual hearing and has a severe perceptual problem that means he has problems reading and writing, in spite of a very high IQ. He has never been without a job and only because many years ago a business contact of ours with a hearing problem himself hired Michael, he has been with that company ever since. He is married to a lovely deaf girl and they have been mortgage free for about 10 years. Our other son Richard is also profoundly deaf but has good reading and writing skills and is a fine welder. His wife is also deaf and they are looking forward to being debt free in a couple of years. To be honest, we as parents of these two boys have been great proponents of tough love and have been very supportive but have not helped them financially except rarely on the conditions of an interest charged loan. This short explanation is required to set the stage that my wife and I are as familiar with the hardships of the deaf as anyone.
It has come to our attention that five Schools for the Deaf in Ontario could be closed and the student body might be assimilated into the regular classrooms where possible and where the other children are to be stored is any one’s guess. I say stored because we, as parents were put in a similar situation with our Michael and fought for months to keep him from being institutionalized in a Mental hospital. Years later there was a great exposé when 40 patients were discovered in the Orillia mental hospital, their only handicap was being deaf. They were not fortunate enough to have had my wife fighting for them. And now the fight continues only on a much larger scale and with a corrupt government that will use the most vulnerable, our children, our deaf children to experiment with, just one more time. Institutions of learning are not like hospitals for the mentally handicapped. These children have great potential but need special teachers and special methods.
When our boys were in the educational system here in Ontario, we were fighting to introduce total communication into the classroom. Lip reading and the student’s residual hearing (if he had any) were the only methods of teaching, fine systems for the hard of hearing but not the deaf. Sign language and finger spelling were forbidden in the classroom. In the early 70’s my wife and I raised over $40,000 and among other projects we produced and distributed across Canada and northern USA the first public service TV ads explaining the difficulties of the deaf community. The public at that time were uninformed and in many ways still are.
Are we as a province sacrificing our citizen’s well being and education to further enhance the Liberal party and their Premier? Is this government expecting to be bailed out of their over spending and lies by selling off our resources, closing efficient Gas and Hydro Electric plants, gas plant and Ornge scandals, the list is too long and sickening, and now to add to the list of crimes, the possible closing of at least five major special educational facilities that we the people of Ontario have invested hundreds of millions of our tax dollars into. Are our Deaf children less entitled to their education than the newly arrived refugees?
Not just the deaf children are going to be uprooted and a large number not get a proper education, but teachers and special educators will be wondering what is going on. It’ not that long ago we were wondering how a child molester and sex addict got into the inner sanctum of the Ontario Board of Education. Is he behind this travesty?
The logistics of this will be a nightmare. Enough is Enough.