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Book Cover for: Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School Volume 1, Gina A. Oliva

Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School Volume 1

Gina A. Oliva

When Gina Oliva first went to school in 1955, she didn't know that she was "different." If the kindergarten teacher played a tune on the piano to signal the next exercise, Oliva didn't react because she couldn't hear the music. So began her journey as a "solitary," her term for being the only deaf child in the entire school. Gina felt alone because she couldn't communicate easily with her classmates, but also because none of them had a hearing loss like hers. It wasn't until years later at Gallaudet University that she discovered that she wasn't alone and that her experience was common among mainstreamed deaf students. Alone in the Mainstream recounts Oliva's story, as well as those of many other solitaries.

In writing this important book, Oliva combined her personal experiences with responses from the Solitary Mainstream Project, a survey that she conducted of deaf and hard of hearing adults who attended public school. Oliva matched her findings with current research on deaf students in public schools and confirmed that hearing teachers are ill-prepared to teach deaf pupils, they don't know much about hearing loss, and they frequently underestimate deaf children. The collected memories in Alone in the Mainstream add emotional weight to the conviction that students need to be able to communicate freely, and they also need peers to know they are not alone.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Gallaudet University Press
  • Publish Date: Apr 30th, 2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.08in - 6.00in - 0.59in - 0.85lb
  • EAN: 9781563683008
  • Categories: MemoirsPeople with DisabilitiesSpecial Education - Physical Disabilities

About the Author

Gina A. Oliva is Professor in the Physical Education and Recreation Department at Gallaudet University.

Praise for this book

"Mainstreamed adults were usually 'alone' in their school and did not have others who shared their stories. Describing educational experiences to family members, colleagues, or spouses either do not occur or perhaps, fall on ears that cannot fathom the experience of education in isolation. Oliva's research succinctly describes mainstream children's isolation from peers, support from their parents impacting education, and their self-awareness of who they are and what they are capable of today because of mainstreamed education."

-- ""

"Alone in the Mainstream is a fresh, comprehensive book about mainstreamed education. Fresh because Gina Oliva personalizes her own story; and comprehensive because she mixes in the viewpoints of others who themselves were products of mainstreamed education in basic human terms that all of us can understand . . . I highly recommend you read it yourself and see if you can find your own story there."

--Ann McIntosh "Hearing Loss: The Journal of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People"

"The strength of Gina Oliva's Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School comes in the many first-person narratives shared by the author and other d/Deaf and hard of hearing individuals throughout. These emotional and conflicting stories of social isolation, the immense desire to belong, and the joy of finding one's 'people, ' linger long after putting down the book and reflect the complexity of the inclusion debate . . . Ultimately, the book makes an important contribution to Deaf culture and Disability Studies and reflects the strengths of qualitative research by raising complex issues with the passionate voice of human experience."

--Zach Rossetti, Syracuse University "Disability Studies Quarterly"

"In addition to describing the formative experiences of her life and her development as a Deaf person, the book engages in debate about the relative meanings of inclusion. As such it is a valuable, if more personal, perspective on this ongoing debate. So often policies and discourses about inclusion focus on the features of 'minority groups' and neglect the fact that inclusion is also a very personal issue . . . It highlights for parents, educators, and Deaf people important personal perspectives and the satisfaction that can be embodied in developing and living a 'Deaf life, ' while being effectively engaged in a largely hearing world."

--Merv Hyde "Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education"