It’s unusual for a school to have goats on the playground, but there’s something much more unique about this school.
Many of the children who attend classes at Tucker Maxon School are deaf or suffer from profound hearing loss. Fortunately, the school has been in Southeast Portland for 75 years, serving as a beacon of hope for deaf children and their families.
“They say it’s been a life-changing experience and they’re forever grateful for the experience they had here when they were young because it’s allowed them to do just about anything they want in the world,” said Glen Gilbert, the executive director of the school. “It’s an incredibly unique school in the entire country. We have kids who are deaf and kids that are hearing combined together in one classroom that are learning together and every kid learns to thrive and to grow and we have incredible results. We (have been) doing this for 75 years now and there are very few places like this in the entire world.”
Maria, who volunteers at the school, has three children who were born with hearing loss. She travels every morning from McMinnville to Southeast Portland so they can go to school here.
“I do it because I love my children and I want to see them pursue their fullest potential in developing language skills,” she said.
The school also has an early intervention program.
“It’s been really helpful because I have twins (and) one of them has partial hearing loss and the other has typical hearing. I think as a parent it’s easy to compare your children and what they’re doing,” said Emily, another Tucker Maxon parent. “One of the things that has really stood out to me is the fact that they integrate both children with typical hearing with hearing loss, which is important. I would like my kids to be able to go to school together and I appreciate that there’s the opportunity for me to bring them both here together in this space which I think is really nice. I appreciate that there is a school that incorporates that.”
There are a lot of things that make Portland special and unique, but one of it that they have been around for nearly eight decades doing incredible work and opening up a whole new world to children who were once lost in silence.
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Tucker Maxon’s impact is quite personal for KOIN 6 anchor Jeff Gianola, who suffers from profound hearing loss for the last four years as the result of Meniere’s disease, a progressive disease that destroys the hearing and balance function of the inner ear.
“Visiting the school, and seeing how the children learn and communicate, was very inspiring to me,” Gianola said. “It really changes lives, and offers hope to parents.”
Gianola will be emceeing Tucker Maxon’s Auction and Fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 23 as the school celebrates 75 years of helping hearing-impaired children.