Solano County Office of Education teacher, Katherine Reyes, making a difference for the deaf and hard-of-hearing:

Helping Deaf Students Be Heard

I lost my hearing at a young age. The first school I attended was a public school near my home in Los Angeles. Being the only deaf child at that school didn’t work out, and I was transferred to a special classroom for the deaf out of town. I learned sign language and started to thrive. However, my parents wanted me to listen and speak, so they enrolled me in a private oral school where I had intensive instruction in lip reading and speech for five years before I was mainstreamed into a public middle school.

That’s when things started to fall apart. Even with my oral training, I couldn’t keep up with the rapid auditory pace in the classroom. By the time I got to high school, I had concluded that I could not learn. So I pulled myself out of school and got my GED.

Katherine Reyes
Katherine Reyes


Years later, I got lucky when I met a college counselor who was also deaf and who helped me enroll in community college classes with sign language interpreters. I not only found out that I loved to learn; after I got involved in disability studies, I discovered that it’s common practice to assume people with disabilities including the deafare incapable and hence socially inferior to the rest of the population.

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