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Mainstreaming is the practice of placing deaf* children into the "mainstream" of public schools instead of placing them into residential schools for the Deaf or other Deaf-focused programs. Many culturally Deaf individuals oppose mainstreaming because even though the deaf child is surrounded by other students -- the child may actually end up experiencing increased isolation and loneliness due to communication barriers than the child would experience if taught in a program specifically designed for and populated by deaf students.

There are several different ways to sign "mainstream" (in regard to Deaf Education).  Generally they all involve using a non-dominant palm-down 5-hand moving forward as if representing a "stream" (as in a river flowing). 

MAINSTREAM YOU? (Where you mainstreamed?)

The sign for "mainstream" as used to describe an approach to Deaf Education is an idiomatic / metaphorical use of "river convergence" to represent Deaf children being placed into the "mainstream" of public education.

There is another version of this sign that replaces the dominant handshape with a "1-hand" and positions it underneath the non-dominant 5 hand to represent the oppression and "audism" often inherent in the mainstreaming of Deaf children.

[graphic needed]



Also see: "Mainstreaming"


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