Topic: Gloria: Less is More

Date 06/08/2013

By Ryan Odland

Subject How rewarding can "Less is More" be to deaf-blind students?

Gloria, the author, brings up an intriguing topic for discussion. There are some pieces in this article that I could agree with regarding deaf-blind students in their youth and some I disagree with in regards to decreasing number of activities to benefit the child. To start somewhere, I can definitely endorse that deaf-blind children are often over-scheduled with therapies and specialist appointments on top of their school studies. It is oftentimes difficult for the families to accept the fact that their child has some hearing and vision limitations, progressive or not, and they expect to be top of things in the medical venue.

Truth be told, the current trend we are seeing in deaf-blind children being laboratory patients from the day they are diagnosed to have dual sensory impairment distract us from recognizing their true potential as contributing members of our society. Needless to say, doctor appointments and therapies can be beneficial at times but they should never be made against the child's wishes. If the child desires it, then they will find the balance in academia to do well in their studies. Do not, I implore this, decrease the child's school activities in volume to accommodate the gratification of the families.

Why -- one might ask -- shouldn't a parent ask for less activities for her child? Stagnant as a result of limited external stimulation is dangerous and can have an everlasting impact on children. If a child receives less stimulation, his or her brain will acquire less skills to function normally on the par with other children. Skill acquisition is critical at young age and if parents desire to see their child to receive post-secondary education, they need to make wide berth of opportunities available to the child.

If one should doubt my words, I recommend to review research done on children (hearing not deaf-blind or deaf) on their performance level by comparing them on types of activities they participate in.

-Ryan Odland

Brief Bio: I have a master's degree in Elementary Education and Deaf Education from Gallaudet University and a bachelor degree in Psychology from Rochester Institute of Technology. I am Deaf-Blind -- profoundly deaf and legally blind with 5 degrees of residual vision remaining. My current aspiration is to obtain a doctorate degree in educational neuroscience with specialty in deaf-blindness.