Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Thirty Years of the Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-or-Hearing Children & Youth: A Glance over the Decades

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Thirty Years of the Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-or-Hearing Children & Youth: A Glance over the Decades

Article excerpt

The 1997-98 school year marks the 30th consecutive year that the Gallaudet Research Institute (GRI, formerly Center for Assessment & Demographic Studies, Office of Demographic Studies, and Office of the Annual Census of Hearing Impaired Children) has conducted its Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children & Youth. This survey represents the largest ongoing database of information on deaf and hard-of-hearing children in the United States. The generous contribution of time and effort provided largely by school staff and administrators across the nation has helped make it possible to collect educational, demographic, and communication data on deaf and hard-of-hearing students each year from 1968 to the present.

The Annual Survey grew out of an expressed need for accurate and continuing demographic data on deaf and hard-ofhearing children in the U.S., in order to facilitate educational program planning at local, state, and national levels. Funding for the Annual Survey was initially provided bv the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped, then by the National Institute of Education. Since 1975, this survey has been financially supported by Gallaudet University through the GRI.

Today, the Annual Survey provides data to a variety of individuals and organizations, permitting descriptions of health, communication, audiological, and education-related characteristics of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. These data provide valuable information for education and social program planning, legislation, and assessment that extends well beyond the Gallaudet University community. The GRI has disseminated these data nationally and internationally through numerous presentations, journal articles, and books.

To preserve the statistical validity and reliability of the data, the GRI aims to include as many deaf and hard-of-hearing children as are identified. Any U.S. program or school -- public or private serving at least one deaf or hard-of-hearing child is encouraged to participate. The larger the Annual Survey database, the more accurately its summaries can the reflect characteristics of deaf and hard-ofhearing children in the U.S. population.

The Annual Survey database is broad, though not deep, in that it contains a modest amount of basic information on a very large number of children. This framework lends itself to broad understanding of population characteristics, and to subsequent in-depth examination of particular attributes for select subgroups of participants. Such supplemental studies are conducted solely by GRI staff, or in collaboration with outside researchers. Over the years, this database has been the source for a number of supplemental surveys (e.g., school-to-work transition, teachers of deaf children) targeting particular characteristics and behaviors of the deaf pre-college population. The Annual Survey has also provided a sample of deaf and hard-ofhearing students for norming four editions of the Stanford Achievement Test. These activities benefit greatly from a broad and representative national database.

Currently, our Annual Survey reporting units vary from large residential schools, to district-wide programs for students with special needs, to schools that may have only one or two deaf students. The most recently completed Annual Survey (1997) contained data from over 50,000 children representing more than 12,000 schools. The number of participating schools has increased consistently in each of the last 10 years. It is estimated from U.S. Child Counts that the Annual Survey (not a census) covers about 60% of identified deaf and hard-of-hearing children receiving special services across the nation. Given the large number of participating schools, and the variety of information requested, it is important to recognize that the Annual Survey respondents in many cases include clinicians and/or school administrators, as well as teachers.

The survey currently known as the Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children d Youth has undergone some changes in its 30 years. …

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