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January 2, 2006

DC Area a Magnet for Deaf Students

From: WJLA - Washington,DC,USA - Jan 2, 2006

An abundance of classroom programs for the hearing-impaired is making the D.C. area into a magnet for young deaf students from abroad.

Many of the opportunities available to deaf students in the region's classrooms come from their proximity to Gallaudet University.

Seven of the 57 students in Fairfax County (website - news) 's program for deaf students at W.T. Woodson High School are from other countries. Meanwhile 26 percent of the student in Montgomery County (website - news) 's programs for deaf students are first- or second-generation immigrants.

All four of the students for the Heritage High School's program for deaf students in Leesburg are foreign-born.

This has presented some challenges for teachers of students whose experience is only with other languages, or non-American sign language. Gallaudet professor Barbara Gerner de Garcia has created an online class for teachers of deaf Latino children.

She tells The Washington Post that the extra effort is important because deaf children who don't access to language in their first five years are at a permanent disadvantage, whatever their nationality.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.
©2006 WJLA/NewsChannel 8, a division of Allbritton Communications Company