Graduate project

Attitudes and perceptions of hearing impaired residential high school students towards mainstreaming

The Education for ' All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL 94-142) has called for a national commitment to educating the handicapped in the least restrictive environment. This has been interpreted by some to mean meeting the special needs of all handicapped children within a regular classroom setting, whenever possible. This concept of integrating handicapped children into the public schools is referred to as mainstreaming. This mainstreaming movement poses many changes or implications in the education of the hearing-impaired. Very little material is available that deals directly with the attitudes and beliefs of hearing- impaired students toward their hearing counterparts and the concept of mainstreaming. The intent of this project was to focus attention on the attitudes, ideas, and preconceived notions of hearing-impaired students, and examine their perceptions of hearing students in integrated situations. Secondly, this study places into perspective through a review of the literature on mainstreaming, recent developments in the controversy of appropriate educational programs which have developed with the passage of PL 94-142. Additionally, the intent was to describe the current situations in the field of education for the hearing-impaired by concentrating on basic descriptive information on mainstreaming in an attempt to reveal the implications for improved instruction and to show the need for more information on student attitudes at all levels. In summary, no major significant differences were found in the attitudes of hearing-impaired high school students concerning the issue of mainstreaming. Both groups responded favorably to mainstreaming and the belief that classes with hearing students may be beneficial. A majority of the respondents felt that they could succeed in an integrated program if given the opportunity and the proper support services. Additionally, they felt the integrated program better chance for success in the real world. This this study may be considered as an indicator of the positive attitudes that hearing-impaired students have toward the concept of mainstreaming. It is strongly recommended that additional studies at the high school level continue on an on-going basis to help establish guidelines and alternative courses of action with the input of those most affected, the hearing-impaired student.