Refusing to Be Left Out
As we move into summer, many kids are looking forward to playing sports with their friends. Research shows that children involved in sports not only learn crucial skills like teamwork and time management but also earn higher grades and show increased levels of self-esteem. However, many deaf and hard of hearing kids are denied the opportunity to be involved in extracurricular activities. The cost of providing an ASL interpreter and the need to make minor adjustments during practices and games lead some organizations to deny players and parents full communication access; they sometimes even attempt to sway them from participation to avoid providing accommodations.
8-year-old Xiao is a deaf second grader who has been eagerly anticipating playing baseball this summer. Sadly, the program in his area has been unwilling to take the necessary steps to allow him to fully participate. DAC staff have seen quite a few families face this type of scenario. Parents, much like Xiao’s mom Lindsay, inform these programs of the most effective accommodation and program coordinators respond by suggesting everything except what’s best for the player. Lindsay and Xiao are prepared to advocate for their rights as a family and are pursuing all avenues to ensure rightful accommodations are provided and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) mandates are properly followed. If you and your children have been denied access to sports or other summer activities, please reach out to DAC so we can support you and ensure access for all, not just a few.