Welcome to my Blog! Hello, my name is MaryLouise and I am a Special Education Language Arts Teacher. I have utilized my lesson plans and other original teaching material to create picture books, workbooks, nonfiction and fiction articles and teacher's guides for educational resources.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Today's Topic: Writing for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Today's interview is with Eileen Amato, who has a B.S. degree in Teacher of the Deaf, and a Masters in Teacher of the Handicapped. She is certified in the following areas: Wilson Reading Program, TOD Teacher of the Deaf, TOH Teacher of the Handicapped, Elementary School Teacher, and Preschool Handicapped. Eileen also has training to become a Reading Specialist.
MLAC: How did you get started writing materials for your students?
EA: I started out a long time ago as a Teacher of the Deaf. At that time there weren't many materials designed for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. All of the teachers I knew created their own materials to help reinforce and teach skills. This became one of the most exciting parts of my career.
MLAC: How do the materials for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing differ from materials for the Average Student?
EA: I would say a Teacher of the Deaf knows what is going to be problematic for a Deaf and Hard of Hearing student when she looks at regular materials. I had to teach from a regular reading series and I would know right away what would be difficult for my kids to understand. So I would write my own stories and draw pictures, etc. to help the students understand concepts and vocabulary, expressions and idioms. Example: "His nose was running." "She had a run in her stocking." "Time is running out." So I had to explain everything to the students and we were signing every word, literally, when I first started out. We used the Oral Method where the students read our lips. Then we moved to signed English...we signed everything even adding "ed" at the end of a word. Now American Sign Language conveys concepts. I have moved to working with students who have cochlear implants which is very popular now. The students have to learn to hear and I have to go back to the Oral Method. I have to teach expressions, idioms, past tense of verbs, making sure they have an "s" at the end of a similar verb. Expressions are so important for them. So, I am back to making materials again for the students that I teach orally.
MLAC: Describe some of the materials that you have created.
EA: Lots of times I write little stories about one of the subjects the students are covering in school, such as bullying. By reading the story, the child can understand who a bully is and I also use vocabulary that's used in class. Along with the story I made up questions, games and activities that the child could complete to reinforce the concept of bullying. I create activities such as fill in the blanks, games, completing paragraphs, choosing the best solution for different scenarios, etc. Another thing I do for Social Studies and Science classes is to write a nonfiction selection to help clarify what the teacher is presenting in class. An example of this would be if the students were studying lakes, I would write a nonfiction selection and have related activities to go along with this subject matter. Then I would write a fiction selection dealing with lakes and incorporating some of the facts that the class had learned about lakes. My materials always address current core curricular standards. I have also written poems that I use to teach vocabulary, idioms and rhyming and just for fun!
MLAC: What are you currently working on?
EA: Currently, my school district has supplied all Speech Therapists with iPads and since I work very closely with these therapists, I was inspired to design Apps for the Hearing Impaired Students. That's the new thing.
MLAC: Can you describe the new Apps?
EA: These Apps are used for classification which is very important for the hearing impaired. They might not know that a car/boat/plane are considered transportation. I can use this concept in combination to teach the concept of conjunctions. Pictures can be combined, matched and used to create sentences. The child can compose, read and self correct sentences.
For more information and to contact Eileen Amato go to suki@gmail.com.

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