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Dear Editor:

Referencing “An Insight into the Education System in San Miguel de Allende” of February 9, allow me to introduce Escuela de Educación Especial de San Miguel de Allende AC, a private, nonprofit Mexican school for special education, serving Mexican children who are deaf. The school was founded in 2012, with currently 23 enrolled. It runs entirely without government support.

I was disappointed that EEESMA was not mentioned in your article. Regardless of the reason, it is important for parents and for the public to be made aware of the existence of a school unique to San Miguel. You will be surprised to learn that the public education system in Mexico offers very little opportunity for children who are deaf, or for others with special needs, to obtain a decent education. It seems that deaf children are given priority to enroll but, sadly, attending public school does not allow them the opportunity to learn to read and write.

Centros de Actividades Multiples, or CAM, is the only publicly-funded option offered to children with special needs at the preschool and primary level. A CAM typically combines children of similar age with all manner of disabilities into one classroom, supervised by a teacher with little or no background in special education. In most CAMS, young deaf children do not have the opportunity to learn sign language, and the blind do not have the opportunity to learn braille. How is a deaf child expected to learn when no one can communicate with them? When a child from a family of limited resources reaches age 12, there are two options: to integrate their child into public middle school or—by far the most common option, not really an option at all—to have their child drop out of school.

To integrate a deaf child into a regular classroom may sound like mainstreaming, but it is far from the mainstreaming we are familiar with in other countries. Even the very brightest child, who happens to be deaf is not given the opportunity to realize her full potential but is instead left to languish in a classroom, virtually untaught.

We all know that deaf children can accomplish anything in life that hearing children can, if given the opportunity, and, of course, a good education is vital. Our mission [at Escuela de Educación Especial de San Miguel de Allende] is “to ensure children who are deaf have the opportunity to become literate, independent, and productive citizens who set and achieve life goals.” We offer instruction to all ages, following Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP) guidelines, within a bilingual model of Mexican Sign Language and written Spanish. After-school vocational training programs teach valuable skills to the older students to prepare them for future employment. There is very little cost to families, and no child is turned away. Funds to operate the school are raised with the help of generous donors. The school’s finances and board of directors are completely transparent.

Thank you for the opportunity to share insight into an area of education in San Miguel most are not aware of—deaf education.


Sharon Doherty

Board of Directors

Escuela de Educación Especial de San Miguel de Allende, AC



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