Graduate project

A profile on severe to profound multihandicapped deaf students

The purpose of this project is to present a profile on severe to profound multihandicapped deaf students presently being served in various programs for the deaf throughout the United States. Public Law 94- 142 mandates rights guaranteed to all handicapped children, including those whose disabilities are present in severe to profound ranges of severity. It is important, therefore, that those involved in the education of multihandicapped deaf children come to terms with a clear definition of the population for whom services are intended. A questionnaire was developed in order to collect information on: the percentage of multihandicapped deaf students within the total deaf student population; the primary multihandicapping conditions in addition to deafness; and definitions of multihandicapping conditions sub-classified according to severe to profound ranges of disability. Questionnaires were sent to one hundred and sixteen programs serving deaf students throughout the United States. The findings revealed that more than twenty percent of the deaf students identified are multihandicapped. Fiftyseven percent of those students are multihandicapped to an extent that is greater than mild to moderate in degrees of severity. This project revealed that there still is not a common terminology of the characteristics of the severe to profound multihandicapped deaf student population. Professionals involved in providing programs and services for this population need to develop a clearer understanding of these handicapping conditions in order that student needs can be successfully met.