Dissertation

Exploring the knowledge, training, and experiences of special education directors related to deaf and hard of hearing learners

Special education administrators in the state of California are responsible to ensure that high-quality education is delivered to 17,000 deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) learners each year. While all administrators must obtain specific types of credentials to prepare them for their role, it is unknown how much knowledge they have pertaining to DHH learners. This study utilized grounded theory to explore the knowledge, training, and experiences that special education administrators in California have about DHH learners. The purpose of this study was to examine levels of confidence and preparedness of Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) directors to serve DHH learners within their respective areas of governance based on their thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions of DHH individuals. The study focused solely on SELPA directors in California. Altogether, 22 individuals responded to the survey and five completed individual interviews. The resulting narrative demonstrated that DHH learners are served on a continuum with one end being perceived as more desirable than the other. A list of recommendations are provided to address both structural and programmatic changes to ensure that high-quality education for DHH learners becomes standard practice.

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