Escuela de Educacion Especial de San Miguel de Allende provides free education and vocational training to those who are Deaf, at all levels and for all ages. A bi-lingual model of Mexican Sign Language and written Spanish ensure that the students can thrive in an inclusive environment where they learn and progress within a community of their peers. Due to Covid-19 the school has pivoted to on-line virtual learning, opening up a broader landscape of opportunities, some newly discovered.
There are no publicly funded schools for deaf children in the State of Guanajuato, Mexico. The parent of a deaf child has no option but to send her to languish, virtually untaught, in a public school classroom with hearing students and with little or no special sign language instruction. EEESMA's in-person classes ceased due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Electronic equipment, new teaching strategies and interpreters are needed to deliver an education to deaf children now learning from home.
Regardless of a family's economic situation, a deaf child now has the ability to communicate in sign language and thrive and learn within a caring environment and community of their peers. Although in-person classes have been put on hold for the time being, students in elementary and middle levels attend virtual classes every school day. Three young people are planning to begin on-line high school and another, Laurita, is pursuing a degree in education with an on-line university.
The project will continue to educate young deaf people to become literate, independent, and productive citizens who set and achieve life goals. Many students will not excel in school but may instead choose to use skills they master in vocational training workshops offered at the school to find employment and create additional income for their families. Others, like Laurita, may choose to attend university and upon graduation return to EEESMA to be a teacher of the Deaf - paying it forward.
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