IDEA’s Littlest Students

littleststudentsThis summer our teachers once again searched the hills on the Island of Bohol and identified 106 new deaf children. We held four orientation camps of which 57 of those children attended. To date we have 50 new students with 32 of them only 5 years old.

This is the first year we’ve had so many this young, much to our delight. The earlier we find them, the greater the chance they will quickly learn sign language which allows them to retain information and excel in their studies.

Though we are all thrilled with the opportunity to have these young children, our Prep teachers and Dorm Mothers bear the bulk of the hard work. Many of these children can’t feed themselves, don’t know how to use indoor plumbing or how to brush their teeth, and most significantly have never been away from their mothers before.

With tear filled eyes, parents leave their children in the arms of the Dorm Mom’s and make one of the hardest decisions they’ve ever had to make. Ultimately wanting what is best for their child means they will only get to see them every other weekend and on holidays. At five years old, that’s a lot to ask of any parent or child.

Within the first week the new recruits are starting to understand their new surroundings and enjoying the chance to play with other kids who don’t make fun of them.

The older students are so loving and patient with the young ones, many remembering their own first days away from home and learning how to communicate. They are a tremendous help to the Dorm Moms and teachers.

It’s not long before the little ones are so comfortable at school and with their new friends that they can’t wait to get back to school after their weekend visits home. Their joy and excitement makes it a bit easier for their parents to part with them.

We feel so blessed to be given the trust of the parents to give their children the chance at a life full of hope and promise.