Alone in the Mainstream: A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School

Front Cover
Gallaudet University Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 207 pages
1 Review

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.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - touchthesky - LibraryThing

This book gave a great insight into what school was like for children who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. Since I'm HoH myself, I was able to relate to a lot of the different stories that other people ... Read full review


Lessons from the Neighborhood
A Glimpse at Everyday Life
But Mom I Hate Telling People
Academically It Was Better Than a Deaf School But Socially Well
Social Life in Adulthood The Oasis
The Best of Both Worlds
Alone in the Mainstream Again Constructing Inclusion
Children of Our Hearts A Change in the Neighborhood
Research Methodology
Selected Readings and Resources

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 10 - ... special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of handicapped children from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the handicap is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily...
Page 3 - Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act...
Page 10 - The purposes of this title are — (1)(A) to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living...
Page 10 - To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and...
Page 9 - President Gerald Ford signed into law the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, also known as Public Law 94-i4z, which exrended equal educational opportunity beyond racial lines to all children with disabilities. Thus, mainstreaming — the practice of educating all exceptional children in public schools alongside theit "normal" peers — became a household rerm.
Page 9 - ... deaf have parents who hear and most of them have one or more non-deaf siblings. Many who marry have non-deaf children. And for many of the deaf the facts that are known of inheritance raise further conflict as to the wisdom of segregation. Alexander Graham Bell in 1884 published a treatise entitled "Upon the formation of a deaf variety of the human race" in regard to problems of intermarriage among the deaf and those having deaf relatives.
Page 12 - The mistaken belief that ASL is a set of simple gestures with no internal structure has led to the tragic misconception that the relationship of Deaf people to their sign language is a casual one that can be easily severed and replaced. This misconception more than any other has driven educational policy. Generations of schoolchildren have been forbidden to use signs and compelled to speak.
Page 6 - American deaf leader has written: '1880 was the year that saw the birth of the infamous Milan resolution that paved the way for foisting upon the deaf everywhere a loathed method; hypocritical in its claims, unnatural in its application, mind-deadening and soul-killing in its ultimate results'.

References to this book

About the author (2004)

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

Bibliographic information