Every year, thousands of children are born with, or acquire, some degree of hearing impairment.
Fortunately, 95 percent of these children have at least some degree of residual (or undamaged) hearing. Only about 5 percent have what can be termed as a "total loss" of hearing, for whom the cochlear implant is now available. As a general rule, it can be said that if a hearing-impaired child does not develop the ABILITY TO SPEAK, it is because he was simply not taught to do so. Since the 1860s, Alexander Graham Bell and other scientists concerned with the auditory process have known that any degree of natural hearing can be utilized as an aid to speech development.
The Sergia Esguerra Memorial Foundation, Inc. [SEMFI], with its two special schools – Philippine Institute for the Deaf [PID] and Integrated School of the Philippines [ISP] utilizes "ORAL" instructional methods for the purpose of developing speech and language skills for deaf children and youth. NO SIGN LANGUAGE IS USED. The common goals for every young student at the school are to LISTEN, LEARN, AND TALK. PID program is the pioneer and premier ORAL School for the deaf in the Philippines since 1988 and "one of a kind" in the Asia Pacific Region. ISP is a model “Inclusion” High School, where orally trained elementary deaf graduates sit with “hearing” peers taught by specially trained SPED Teachers where they receive regular classroom instruction consistently found in most schools. Although Japan Oral School was first in Asia, its medium of Instruction is in the Japanese Language. SEMFI believes that the use of English as a medium of instruction will help the graduates to be more globally competitive and adept in a chosen career. The primary emphasis for the children is on developing listening and spoken language skills. Once listening skills are developed a child can begin to develop speech and language skills that will allow them to communicate in the mainstream.
Some people believe that deaf children can do everything BUT hear, but with proper amplification (hearing aids or cochlear implants) SEMFI and those committed to the auditory/oral approach believe that deaf children can do everything AND hear! This is particularly true today with the advent of cochlear implants. Helen Keller was once quoted as saying: "Why should we be content to crawl when we can soar like an eagle?" It has been clearly proven over the last few decades that with early identification, appropriate and aggressive audiological intervention, and immediate training by skilled professionals, even the most profoundly deaf children can develop and effectively use hearing to learn speech and language. The objective of this specialized training is to utilize what hearing a child may have to assist in the development of speech ... enabling the deaf child to become a part of, rather than apart from, A WORLD OF SOUND.
Through the years, the Philippine Institute for the Deaf has been home to almost 200 teachers who have diligently and whole-heartedly educated, trained and cared for our deaf children.
Teaching the deaf to speak is a grueling task, not just for the students but for the teachers as well. Imagine the process they have to undergo: Each single sound of vowels and consonants are studied individually. Fundamental to this is the greater understanding of our speech organs, how they work and how they contribute to the total production of sound. Upon mastery of these elements, teachers help the students put together two sounds to make a syllable, then syllables combine to form a word, then words into phrases, phrases into sentences. All of these lessons until the student applies all that he has learned into natural conversation.
In addition, each student has his own psychological situation to contend with. Teachers are frequently exposed to a child's display of anger and frustration with their inability to express themselves. This is most prevalent with the younger kids who are still getting accustomed or acclimated to being in a classroom setting. The provision of a nurturing environment, counseling and workshops for teachers, parents,students and caregivers help everyone cope with the daily challenges.
It is therefore, understandable that the PID has a high teacher turn-over rate with all the stresses of the job and barely enough of a salary to compensate them for all their troubles.
In appreciation to the teachers and staff who have remained loyal to the Institution and its mission, the PID is working on programs which shall reward these stalwarts of their profession with incentive bonuses, trainings and seminars held locally or abroad and other privileges which they truly deserve.