Graduate project

Future program planning for the total educational needs of deaf-blind children

Since the rubella epidemic of 1964-1965, the school age deaf-blind population in the United States has undergone an alarming increase. Presently in the United States, there are approximately 5,587 deaf-blind children under the age of 21. These children were traditionally a highly neglected and misunderstood group, until Congress introduced Landmark Legislation in 1968, the Education of the Handicapped Act (Title VI, under Public Law 91-230). Deaf-blind children must have needed training and educational and vocational services to prepare themselves for the rest of their lives. Some writers are optimistic about the future of deaf-blind students; others are not, but all reflect a growing concern over the future placement of children whom they have trained during the past several years. 1. Who are the deaf-blind? 2. What are their needs? 3. What services are available to provide for those needs? This paper will attempt to answer these critical questions, or at least offer a line of reasoning that must precede a final solution. As a means to this end, a wide range of information and professional thought has been consolidated from several related disciplines. The analysis includes expertise gleaned from specialists who deal with people who are handicapped, disabled, deaf, or blind, but more often from those who work directly with the deaf-blind population itself.