Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Theory, Research, and Practice for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing with Disabilities: Addressing the Challenges from Birth to Postsecondary Education

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Theory, Research, and Practice for Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing with Disabilities: Addressing the Challenges from Birth to Postsecondary Education

Article excerpt

The education of students who are D/deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) is one of the most diverse areas of education to pursue, one of the most challenging, one of the most interesting, and, we would argue, one of the most rewarding. Diversity is encompassed within the most "typical" DHH student, yet it brings on a new meaning, especially when appropriate services for students who are DHH and have diverse qualities are being considered.

We and a group of fellow authors are examining issues surrounding students who are DHH and diverse in a two-part special issue of the American Annals of the Deaf. In this first issue (Part I), we will review aspects of diversity that relate to DHH children and adolescents with a disability (DWD; e.g., a learning disability, autism, attention deficit/hyperactivitv disorder). The second issue (Part II) will examine aspects of diversity that relate to children who are Deaf Multilingual Learners (DML), that is, DHH children who come from homes where parents or caretakers use a language other than English. For the purposes of Part I and this introduction, our main focus will be on students who are DWD. In the introduction to the second part of the special issue, we will closely examine students who are DML.

Deafness and diversity (DAD) also presents itself as a combination of the two factors described above, in that it describes a child who is DWD and comes from a home where the parents use a language other than English. In our conclusion at the end of Part II we will review how all these populations can best be served through a variety of avenues within the field.

Rather than look at disabilities categorically, the authors will address the major issues concerning children, families, service providers, and researchers working with children who are DWD. Both Part I and Part II will examine issues that are of current concern in the field, including:

1. early intervention

2. teacher preparation and inclusive environments

3. assessment

4. communication and language

5. transition

Examining these issues through a broader lens, we and our fellow authors will attempt to present current research and practice to address this question: What can we do to address the needs of children and adolescents who are DWD from birth to post - secondary?

This introduction provides an over - view of theoretical and philosophical frameworks posited in relation to providing services to and increasing the skills of students who are DWD. Each contributor to this Annals special issue has examined the current theory, research, and practice in the field specific to his or her topic to develop recommendations for practitioners and researchers. There is a need to standardize the terminology used throughout this special issue-a need that also exists in our field. The terms currently in use are outdated and place emphasis on deafness as a disability: for example, "deaf plus," "deaf with an additional disability," and "multiply disabled deaf." This special issue's contributing authors will consistently use the term "D/deaf and hard of hearing with a disability/disabilities" (DWD).


Children who are DWD may constitute over half of the population of learners in the field of education of the DHH (Gallaudet Research Institute [GRI],1 2013). Statistics are difficult to ascertain due to the diverse nature of these students, the varied categorization parameters school districts use in providing services, and a lack of reporting that includes the specific breakdown of characteristics (Mitchell, 2004; Mitchell & Karchmer, 2006). An overview of the general population shows that, based on the U.S. Department of Education Child Count, the proportion of students receiving individualized education program (IEP) services increased from 8% to 13% between 1976 and 2011 (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2013b), although the number of DHH students receiving IEP services has remained steady at 0. …

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