19 May 2014

Undergraduate students with hearing loss face five major barriers during their education

American undergraduate students suffering from hearing loss or deafness are faced with major barriers while trying to take an education, a study shows.

A nationwide study in the United States has identified four persistent themes and five major barriers that affect the academic potential of deaf and hard of hearing students.

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center in the U.S. will use this information to address the current barriers and improve the quality of education afforded to deaf students and students with hearing loss from birth to the age of 21.

Themes and barriers

Through a collection of 1400 comments about deaf and hard of hearing students’ academic potential from 775 respondents, a research team has investigated the current state of deaf education. Of the respondents, 85% reported either having or working with children who suffered from hearing loss or deafness.
Based on the comments, the researchers could identify four themes among two-thirds of the responses. The themes were: resources, language and communication, qualified direct service personnel and social concerns.

Also, five overarching global barriers were identified through the replies. The first and second barriers were related to the lack of knowledge among the professionals and care givers, but also the lack of collaboration between these groups.

The third barrier was unqualified service providers, while the fourth and fifth barriers addressed the lack of accommodation in the schools and a lack of focus on childhood-development as factors that make it more difficult for children with hearing loss during their education.

According to the vice president of the Clerc Center, Ed Bosso, the research is an important contribution to the development of the education of undergraduate students with hearing loss and deafness.

About the study

The qualitative data was collected from spring 2010 to winter 2011. The research was conducted and published by Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University in the US.


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