Graduate project

Attitudes of hearing parents of hearing children, at the elementary level, concerning the integration of deaf classmates into their child's classroom

This paper discusses the findings of personal attitudes and projected attitudes of parents of nonhandicapped children toward the integration process underway at their nonhandicapped children's elementary school. The attitudes of all parents have a profound effect upon the process of mainstreaming. This includes the attitudes of the nonhandicapped children's parents as well as the attitudes of the deaf children's parents. At present, these prevailing attitudes are going untapped by professional educators. Although the problem of negative attitudes toward the handicapped has some analogy to ethnic prejudice, it is possible that these attitudes are more open to improvement because reactions to handicapped individuals contain positive components and with encounters generally being more sporadic the attitudes are less likely to be deeply entrenched in adults. Thus, parents are less likely to transmit clearly negative attitudes about handicapped children to their own children and would be more open to the positive aspects of the integration process if the school personnel were to present such a well-organized and positively informative defense in the way of introduction to the parents.