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I. Thought. This is southwestern Iowa high school team is preparing for the second game of the season. They have a lot to do in their first game against Gothenburg they lost two starters to injuries and probably as a result lost the game. Gothenburg is in the far northeastern corner of the state and it is unusual for a high school team to travel that far for a football game. But then this is an unusual team or. Every player on it is deaf. You know you're going to have the wing back and not forget. Maybe go deep. OK. We're ready to go round here now. A deaf person it. May be the only one in the whole
community of. 45000 people. Or in there maybe five in. A town the size of Waterloo. Or you take a community of 200 people where they have never seen a deaf person. And. That actually minority of minorities is what we would actually classify the profoundly deaf. And this is. I'm not talking about the person who. AS. You said become deaf. Talking about a child who is born. Or acquires this deafness at an early age. The numbers. In the population are very very. Small. Less less than 1 percent. I believe. A deaf person it's not visual. And I really don't know it and. There could be 15 deaf people way around if they're not communicating you know manually. You wouldn't you know that there was a problem
to. You know. To the left. Yet here you go. OK. It is virtually impossible for a person who can hear to imagine deafness. It is not this since as a hearing person you are now conceptualizing the sound. You do not hear ya. We go right here right here right here right here. It has been said that of all the senses hearing is the most fundamental to early growth. We are never without sound. From infancy it defines our environment it affects and helps form our conception of others and self. It is the cornerstone for language and therefore critical to psychological and intellectual development. Freud said the ego wears and auditory lobe when a person is either born deaf or becomes profoundly deaf early in childhood. The task of learning to live without life sound patterns is simply
awesomely right in effect. One must grasp one unknown language in order to gain access to another society. That's why these boys and their classmates have come here to the I was a group for the Deaf in Council Bluffs the school began as a private facility before statehood. The state took it over in 1855 and moved aside from I was city to this one in 1870. It was the second school of any kind built west of the Mississippi. Today it is the nine month residence for three hundred seventy students from across the state. Ninety percent of them are profoundly deaf that is able only to distinguish low pitch sounds without hearing aid. The age ranges from preschool to high school and there are currently students representing the third generation of hearing impaired families who have come to the Iowa school. The technique used in teaching is primarily manual or sign language which was first developed in France with some
aural elements and approach associated with an Englishman. But it was an American invention that was pivotal in advancing deaf education and the inventor was Alexander Graham Bell. Technologically speaking the hearing aid has caused revolutionary changes as you walk on our campus. I think you saw that 90 percent of our children learned of the joy hearing aids. A few years ago we had the group hearing aids in all the classrooms. This made that made that the classroom pretty static. While we were in the old philosophy's we give them a lot of amplification in the class and not worry about after school. But these children wear their own hearing aids. This is what they wear when they leave school and they're taken advantage of. We I feel are very fortunate to be the recipients of some of the space age technology they journeyed for example has been refined. We have very small ones very powerful and the deaf child is the beneficiary.
A. Yeah. Why. Oh.
I. Know that you and. You are there. You get to come home. You know how much. You know and I. Knew that many children come to school at the age of five with no usable vocabulary no knowledge of their own name no knowledge of their sisters or brothers names their only communication has been by pointing and pantomime and so when they come into school we have a very big job to do in terms of vocabulary development speech
development and giving them lots and lots of experiences in order that we can try to catch up. A. Little. What. What. Why. Why. Different things. Year. You have to. All right. You can have.
It. All right. All right. What are the. Pieces that. Were much pizza when you're here and I want you to put your hand up the way that you're here and there if you're here.
We used to say that 25 roughly 25 percent of deafness was hereditary. That is now kind of a debatable point and you will find some people who say that 75 percent is hereditary. The parents that we see probably 50 percent say they just don't know the cause of deafness. Now some of those may have at least three families here in school that have children hearing impaired children they're not all completely different. And as far back as they can trace there is no deafness in the family. And yet with four children it's very likely to be genetic in nature. Another common cause still is meningitis. The last figures I saw around about 10 or 11 percent RH factors. Are age and compatibility is a pretty. Large cause rubella was a very serious cause of deafness except that it and occupations have now taken place
in 1964 in 65 I believe there was a rubella epidemic that swept the country coast to coast. And these children are now in our fifth and sixth grade. Many people assume that if you go to a school for the day you are totally deaf you hear nothing. And that is not true. Our children range from the totally deaf to those who are just tired of hearing enough that they can't make it in public school or at least in the public school that they came
from. But if they're going out in public school and we can do something for them we'll take them public in public. They are at a distinct disadvantage. I think probably
is the hardest of all handicaps to overcome. The way things are getting much better. It used to be that printing was elite. Except for the professionals. I think that more and more opportunities are opening up. For example we have a pretty good metals Department. Lots of fellows are going in. Leave operation. We're sending boys to technical school. Computer programming for both boys and girls. Things like lab technician assistant all kinds of business machines posting and that sort of thing.
We see children graduating from this school 90 to 95 percent go on to post high school training. It's remarkable 50 percent go on to four year colleges. As is often true with rehabilitation for the handicapped professionals within the field tend to agree to disagree about program philosophy and implementation. And the I was school for the deaf has been criticized primarily by private facility operators. Of course the very fact that this is a state only institution is enough to set teeth on edge in the private sector. Beyond that some say the school uses too much manual or sign language. Though the argument between Sign vs. oral has raged since deaf education began and can be viewed as more or less a Mexican standoff a more serious charge states that socialization and education ought to be accomplished by mainstreaming some of the impaired into the hearing world. Not separating them from it. For most of the students though the very fact that they are here
is testimony that they could not cope in the public school environment is not a typical institution anyway. For example the students are on a nine month schedule spending the summers at home. Additionally there are 10 weekend home visits during the school year with some students going home every weekend. Older students live in apartments like rooms and are allowed to date with parental consent during the summer and following graduation school travel teams and rather aggressive follow up on all the students. One of the reasons for this is that the hearing impaired child is not merely learning to learn. He has learned to live and the education is not always meant for the child alone. I think yeah but why do your math. You know what we think. I want you to listen very carefully. And we have a child with this. Chip or appears so dead. He will
be able to realize it and be conditioned to listening. OK. We're going to hear Oh mama. How you listened nicely without your aid All right. And very often we do this with the parents. So that they will realize the importance of having the child where the aide. Good Yad listened he listened. The child of hearing parents. No matter how well intentioned are helping haul hard they try. Probably has very very few concepts in comparison. So the teacher starts. Wherever she
finds the child. It may take 30 to 50 repetitions to teach just one word. And then as the vocabulary load increases as they get older. We can't keep up in the lag tends to get greater instead of smaller. So this is why we say there's always a two to four. There's likely to be a two to four year lag with the children. If it's something you can draw a picture of something that you can produce a toy or a replica or make a color. That's relatively easy to teach when you're talking about things like God and death. And hope. And these things that there are no. Way to draw a picture. It gets pretty
difficult. A number of years ago our elementary principal had a heart attack and died and we were faced with the problem of explaining to the younger children what had happened to this gentleman and a second grade teacher was trying very very hard. And really getting nowhere. So a little girl in the class whose parents were deaf put up her hand and said I know. Let me. So the teacher was very happy to let her dry and I don't know what she said but she satisfied the children. They all nodded their heads and said yes they understood grammar. OK now that he is Grandma glad. Thank you. Oh. Grandma.
Yeah. This is Emily petty. Age 5 and in kindergarten. Down the hall her sister Tracy is in the first grade. They live in Council Bluffs and represent a phenomenon that is perhaps unique to the deaf. The petty girls enjoy a developmental advantage an initially over many of their classmates since both of their parents are profoundly deaf. When they come. From.
Their parents. When their mother through sign language. They don't have words. They can't any more than anybody can. But they understand signs. You can tell them what they need to know. I can think of homecoming when we have a situation for 500. With their families and invariably stop at all of my houses in there they've been promoted in this job and they're working with this many people here and people in this one says I'm. In charge of a department of 15 here and people can read me I can't even talk. One of the players Elkhorn Demel have to reckon with this afternoon as a
senior fellow. Last season he conned 44 passengers for nine hundred ninety two yards averaging almost 20 yards a catch. He was named to the deaf all-American squad the Southwest Conference team the Council Bluffs all city team and received an honorable mention All-State you can get. One of. Them and deaf. Deaf people. Why God.
Why. Yeah. Yeah why. Going out by Terry Wicker Dynasty's coach came from trainer where he had enjoyed three state championships as head coach. It should be noted that he was not hired away from his successful teams. He volunteered as I asked DS football coach. I don't want to sound like the children here cooped up but their actual meeting in competing with the hearing world is somewhat to a minimum. You know while they're here and yet all the time that we're teaching them we're trying to get them to realize that you know Grade 12 and you're going to go out and have to compete with a hearing world for a job or whatever. Well their only real means of competing with a hearing world is out there on an athletic field at this time. And if they
have success there it makes the job when I leave here so much easier for them because they say I competed with the hearing world and I beat it. And why can't I compete for a job you know. But I can't recall you probably holds 6 7 8 teams are going undefeated but nothing's been as enjoyable as working with these kids. Well I'd tell you when they when they get you that it won't frighten this role. I asked do you will not win this afternoon. But the only handicap has something to do with a two point conversion roll Elkhorn will win by one point fifteen to 14. Superintendent Joseph Ginn Greco we want to give the children the best education available. We want to say that when they leave here that they can't really take their place in society the same as any other child. They had regular dances to have homecoming. You seem so affluent the cheerleaders the football game. It's normal
These kids don't know the handicapped. It's society that makes Medicare. I feel I personally feel that there is nothing that they can't do. Running a school if they have to they can step into my job and do the job. That's how much faith I have and there's nothing that they can't do. Yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. At all who have funds for captioning this program were provided by the Bureau of Education for the head to get us so we. I do.
The Quietest Voice
Producing Organization
Iowa Public Television
Contributing Organization
Iowa Public Television (Johnston, Iowa)
No listing
Public Broadcasting Service Series NOLA
QUVO 000000
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Episode Description
Dub, 30 min. tape.
Program Description
A documentary on a football team with all deaf players from The Iowa School for the Deaf in southeast Iowa (Council Bluffs.)
Program Description
1976. 30 min. Beyer/Burnell. SAN FRANCISCO STATE FILM FESTIVAL RECOGNITION: Broadcast Media Award (1975, though the film includes a copyright statement of 1976). Created for Iowa Educational Broadcasting Network (IEBN), now called Iowa Public Television (IPTV).
Created Date
Asset type
IPTV, pending rights and format restrictions, may be able to make a standard DVD copy of IPTV programs (excluding raw footage) for a fee. Requests for DVDs should be sent to Dawn Breining
Copyright IPBN 1976
Media type
Moving Image
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Captions: Osterer, Carole
Director: Photography: Burnell, Ron
Narrator: Soliday, Don
Producer: Beyer, John
Producing Organization: Iowa Public Television
Production Assistant: Jordan, Jeanne
Production Assistant: Sparks, Terry
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Iowa Public Television
Identifier: 8D4 (Old Tape Number)
Format: U-matic
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:29:20
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Chicago: “The Quietest Voice,” 1976-02-05, Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “The Quietest Voice.” 1976-02-05. Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: The Quietest Voice. Boston, MA: Iowa Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from