Graduate project

Advocacy for institutionalized deaf persons

This paper discusses the past and present plight of persons who rightly or wrongly are diagnosed and labeled as being deaf with additional handicaps. It is indicated that a process evolves from this labeling. The labeling induces certain stigmatization which is expressed in a denial of education and other social liberties. Often the result is the multi-labeled deaf person is involuntarily committed to a state hospital or institution where he continues to experience denials of rights. There have been recent court actions and legislation that have been in support of improved treatment and services for handicapped persons. Some of the landmark decisions and their implications for multi-labeled deaf persons are discussed. A final section deals with advocacy roles that can and must be assumed by institutional staff members, parents, community agencies and members on behalf of institutionalized multi-labeled deaf persons. Such per sons working together can insure appropriate education and training with the result that many of these persons can live semi-independently or independently in the community. Such advocacy calls for a change in our attitudes and in our institutional goals, programs and services.