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Deaf Education 'Nonexistent' In First Nations

Deaf News: Deaf teen leaves rural community for fresh start in Regina school due to sign language boost socialization in the capital of Saskatchewan.

CBC REGINA, SK -- For those in remote and rural Sask., a hearing impairment can present major challenges. Seventeen-year-old Shayla Tanner, who is Deaf, has faced challenges academically and socially in her home community but has seen tremendous growth in the past three years.

She recalls that with few in her community of Cowessess First Nation knowing sign language, she fell behind in school and socializing. 'I just felt horrible'

"With my work I really felt like I just wanted to give up with it," she said through her interpreter as she signed. "I couldn't communicate with my friends and I felt like I was just having a breakdown.

"With reading, when I used my voice while at my old school there were four kids and they said they couldn't understand me, and I just felt horrible about that."

Tanner says she would try to read lips and write notes to speak to others in her community.

"They would talk slow to me, but I still didn't understand. They would talk and I just didn't really get it."

Making friends was more difficult than it is now.

New beginning at Regina high school. It was her special education teacher who suggested she go to school at Thom Collegiate in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Thom teacher Joanne Weber, who is Deaf herself, runs a class that has been highly praised for the way it focuses on visual learning and sign language.

Art could be the next big breakthrough in Deaf education.

And so, three years ago, Tanner left Cowessess and moved in with her brother in Regina so that she could join the program.

It's was a challenge, she says. She learned a more in-depth version of American Sign Language and gained a better grasp of English grammar... Read More.
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