I was adamant that Aileen should learn English, have a high level of proficiency, and have the skills to function in an oral environment. My thought processes are always rather simple. She needs to read the Word of God, to achieve her purpose in living. I believed that deafness is no handicap from a spiritual viewpoint, especially if the deaf child has high skills in reading and writing, and english proficiency. This belief was fostered and developed at the program at the Mississippi State College for Women.
The College for Women has an oral communication proficiency policy. In the University’s prospectus, it sums up the pivot of our work with Aileen in Mississippi. It states: “Speech-language pathologists working with individuals who have communication disorders must demonstrate excellent oral communication skills. Speech-language pathology students are expected to model all aspects of Standard American English including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and suprasegmental aspects of speech. Additionally, students must speak in a clearly intelligible manner during spontaneous conversation, and produce all consonant and vowel phonemes of English accurately, at the sentence level, prior to beginning the clinical practicum experience.”
So, that was our new world after Africa: phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, suprasegmental aspects of speech, producing all consonant and vowel phonemes of English accurately, at the sentence level.
As I watch the life story of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention of 2016, her activism to get this law passed was highlighted. In reality. this law gave Aileen the possibility for the best support and educational programs throughout her school years in Mississippi and North Carolina.
We were so lucky to have the program at this Women’s University. I have tried to find some of the teachers involved, but so far, I haven’t received a response. Without their help, Aileen would not have achieved all she achieved.
I don’t have enough pictures of Aileen during this period, but her pictures show her concentration and the energy she used to learn. Although one can say that professional help, schools, and her parents contributed greatly to her ultimate success, without the Aileen’s determination and hard work, it would not have happened.
Some of the pictures are about auditory training. Small groups, technology, dedicated teachers with special training….all part of the program and needed.