Graduate project

A history of deafness rehabilitation in the United States : 1900 to 1960

The purpose of this study was to investigate what occurred before the needs of deaf people were truly publicized and documented beginning in the 1960's. What actions were taken on behalf of deaf adults with vocational rehabilitation needs between 1900 and 1960? How did the laws establishing a Federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation influence the meeting of those needs? Deafness rehabilitation is a field which has grown into a viable profession over the past 22 years. Rehabilitation Counselors Working with the Deaf (RCD's) are presently employed in every State Vocational Rehabilitation Office throughout the country. Professional training programs exist throughout the country to prepare professionals�deaf and hearing--to work in the field of rehabilitation. A literature search was conducted and broken down into five areas. An historic overview of the State-Federal Rehabilitation Program helped to lay a foundation for the discussion of the remaining four areas, These included the influence of the military establishment on deafness rehabilitation, the influence of Labor Bureaus and Divisions of the Deaf, the relationships between residential schools for the deaf and vocational rehabilitation, and the gradual identification of the specialist or counselor needed to work with deaf adults in the rehabilitation setting. Results of the study indicate that past practices and ideas presented concerning the vocational rehabilitation of deaf people were not much different than those implemented today. Limited resources, expertise, and organization prevented earlier and more rapid implementation of those old ideas, Communication modalities were discussed on a very limited basis and did not play an important role in the early development of special agents or counselors for deaf clients. Follow-up research into the history of the deafness rehabilitation movement is recommended.

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