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Survey of alignment with Public Law 94-142 by residential schools and programs serving multihandicapped deaf students
Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, has as its basic purpose to assure that all handicapped children have available to them a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs. Another purpose of the law is to assure that the rights of handicapped children and their parents are protected. This law could be considered a "Civil Rights Act'' for handicapped students between the ages of 3 and 21. As a result of its passage, the educational door for these children is now open. Included in the population affected by the law are hearing impaired or deaf children; within this group are students with one or more handicaps in addition to deafness. These multihandicapped deaf students make up a small but significant segment of the entire student population for whom services are mandated by PL 94-142. At present, approximately 40% of all deaf students have at least one handicap in addition to their deafness (Schein, 1977) and current evidence shows that this number is growing. Meeting the individual .educational needs of any handicapped child is difficult at best, but the atypical requirements of the multihandicapped deaf student compound this problem even further. The purpose of this study is to examine the degree to which public residential schools and programs evaluate themselves to be in alignment with the intent of certain sections of PL 94-142 in providing services to multihandicapped deaf students.