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May 28, 2003

Father: Teachers have made a difference in his son's life

From: Clinton Sampson Independent, NC - May 28, 2003

By: Mark S. Price, The Sampson Independent

CLINTON - One man's struggle to give his son a quality education became a team effort when teachers in Clinton City Schools adapted to meet the needs of his hearing impaired child.

Albert Tante was distraught over what to do concerning his 12-year-old son Adam when his family moved to Sampson County in August 2002. Adams has suffered from a loss of hearing since birth.

When Tante went to enroll his younger of two sons into sixth grade at Sampson Middle School, he was told by school officials that they had no experience in dealing with a child with Adam's handicap.

"After being well taken care of by his teachers in Jacksonville," noted Tante, who recently retired as a Navy medic after 23 years of service, "I was very concerned about my son's future.

"But the school administration did not shirk their duty," he continued. "By stepping up to the plate, they went to bat for my son and gave him the most successful year of his life."

Adam received a cochlea implant, a device which allows vibrations to enter the ear to imitate sounds, behind his left ear when he was 5 years old.

While Adam attended school in Onslow County, he was mainstreamed into a regular classroom with a private tutor to help him absorb the material.

However, Tante says that his curriculum had to be somewhat modified because he was so far behind in his classwork.

"When we made the move to Clinton," the former Navy medic remarked, "a core group of teachers came up from Jacksonville to help make the transition easier.

"Since coming to Clinton," Tante continued, "Adam has improved dramatically and is now doing work on his grade level.

"He has come into his own this year," he added.

Adam receives three hours a day of one-on-one teaching from Ann Newton, who according to Tante has become very good in dealing with his son's educational needs.

"All of Adam's teachers have gone above and beyond their duties as educators to make sure he understands the material," commented Tante, "but Mrs. Newton is largely responsible for my son's success this year."

Tante went on to say the lack of experience has been more than compensated by enthusiasm, determination and extra effort by the entire school to make sure Adam received the same education as a hearing child.

Tante believes mainstreaming his son into the regular classroom will benefit him in the long run.

"The personal interaction with the other students helps Adam a great deal," Tante said. "He needs to learn to cope with his environment.

"The world can't change to suit him," continued the former military man. "He has to fit into society's changing personalities.

"Sampson Middle School is helping him do just that." he added.

©The Sampson Independent 2003