Barb's Blog

Play Ball

Author Fred Bowen recent wrote an article in The Washington Post describing the efforts of one county to get parents and coaches to simmer down during their kids’ soccer games.  In response to the over-zealousness of adults watching the games, Arlington County, Virginia is conducting a Silent Soccer Weekend.  During matches “Folks can clap for good plays and support their teams in other non verbal ways.  But no screaming at the kids to ‘wake up’ or ‘get the ball.’”

As the parent of a football player on a deaf team I was always grateful that our side never felt that we had to yell during games.  I used to listen parents and coaches on opposing teams and be glad that we didn’t need to have any of that stuff coming from us.  There was the pedestrian:

“Watch the pass!”

“Run fast!” and

“Block that guy!”

As well as the more –well, not very nice:

“Show ‘em what you’re made of!”

“He barely hit you, get up!” and (my favorite!)

“Go hard or go home!”

As for the former:  well, don’t the kids already know the rules of the game?  Do these kids really need Mom to remind them, as if this is an on-field version of “Do your homework.”?  I mean, everybody is at least trying to watch the ball, right?  The kids who are supposed to be running already look like they are moving pretty fast.  And sometimes one guy completely misses the other guy, hard as he tries.  Anyway doesn’t all of this get a little confusing – run, block, tackle, throw – I bet these boys already know who is supposed to be doing what.  And if not – it’s too late!

As for the latter:  just let me say I was not thinking along these lines at all.  If I were going to call out anything across the field it would have been something like:

“Asher honey, watch that boy, he is going to try to knock you down!”

“Asher dear, it’s cold and rainy, tell the coach you want to go home!” and

“Asher darling, stay away from that big crowd of kids, someone is going to get hurt!”

It’s possible the coach would not have appreciated this advice.

Bowen describes the technique of longtime Baltimore Orioles coach Cal Ripken Sr., father of Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.  He “never approached a player during a game to tell him about a mistake.  Instead, [he] marked it down in a notebook and went to the player the next day to explain what he had done wrong and how he could correct it . . . Ripken knew from experience that the player would not listen to him during the game.  The player would be too upset or embarrassed about striking out or booting a grounder to really hear his coach’s advice.  So Ripken waited for a time when the player was ready to listen.”

Interesting advice for coaches, parents, and the rest of us.   

On second thought, maybe it would not have been such a bad idea to get Ash off the field on those really cold nights.  Chicken soup, anyone?

Copyright 2012.  Do not reproduce without permission.

It's 2012. Do You Know Who Your Special Education Director Is?

This weekend I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by Melody Musgrove at the annual gathering of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) in Hartford, Connecticut.  Melody is the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education.  Melody had flown up from Washington, DC for the speech, waking up at 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday to catch her flight.  Isn’t the life of a presidential appointee glamorous? 

Melody shared information with the audience about U.S. Department of Education activities, for example, new initiatives that will require states to focus more on raising student outcomes and less on simply reporting data.  Melody likened the process to the way in which a thermostat and thermometer work to heat or cool a house.  The thermometer reports the temperature.  The thermostat causes something to happen.  The new focus on outcomes should cause states to function more like thermostats than thermometers.     

Several months prior, Melody’s office hosted a focus group on deaf education, in which educators, parents, researchers, and others identified gaps and barriers in education and proposed solutions.  The proceedings from that meeting will help guide OSEP in its deaf education investments and target resources where they are needed.  Attendees made recommendations in the areas of coordination of services, progress monitoring, Least Restrictive Environment, professional preparation, data tracking, research, and others.

At the end of her presentation Melody left a lot of time for questions from the audience, and a productive dialogue followed.  Several of the comments and questions centered on ensuring that parents receive complete information about communication opportunities and educational settings.  Melody emphasized the importance of meeting each child’s needs and ensuring that each child has access to the appropriate educational setting.  She has issued guidance stating:

“Any setting that does not meet the communication and related needs of a child who is deaf does not allow for the provision of  [a Free Appropriate Public Education] and cannot be considered the [Least Restrictive Environment] for that child.  Just as the [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] requires placement in the regular educational setting when it is appropriate for the unique needs of a child who is deaf, it also requires placement outside of the regular educational setting when the child’s needs cannot be met in that setting.”

She closed with sharing her e-mail address and phone number with the audience and encouraging folks to contact her.  I’ll do her the favor of passing that information on.  Her e-mail address is Melody.Musgrove@ed.gov, and phone number is 202/245-8020.  Anyone can contact her.  This means you!  Let her know about the successes your child has had in school, and let her know the challenges.  Tell your family’s story.  We need to work with policy makers like Melody to make sure our kids get what they need.  She can’t do the work without us. 

Successful outcomes for our children:  That’s worth getting up at 3:00 in the morning for.

Copyright 2012.  Do not reproduce without permission.

© Barbara Raimondo 2015