Deaf children have the right to free and appropriate education in public schools. The Secretary recognizes that regular educational environments are appropriate and adaptable to meet the unique needs of certain deaf children. For others, a special center or school may be the least restrictive environment in which the child's unique needs can be met. A full range of alternative placements should be available, as described in 34 CFR 300, 551 (a) and (b) () () () () () () () of the IDEA regulations, to the extent necessary to implement each child's IEP.
There are cases where the nature of the disability and the individual needs of the child dictate a specialized environment that provides a structured curriculum or special teaching methods. Just as placement in the regular educational environment is required when appropriate for the unique needs of a deaf child, so is their removal from the regular educational environment when the child's needs cannot be met in that environment with the use of complementary aids and services. Schools for the deaf are not just an educational option, but they are the only beneficial location for many deaf children. The Education for Persons with Disabilities Act requires states to provide a “continuous series of alternative placements,” including “instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, homeschooling, and hospitals and institutions.”.
With appropriate educational and linguistic support, the learning objective for deaf students should be the same as that of hearing students. Many deaf students will graduate from high school and go on to higher education, either at university or at a trade school. However, low access to language (including visual learning), especially in the early years, creates barriers for some deaf students. Consequently, their graduation rates are not as high as those of their listening peers, although they have had an upward trend over time.
While it aims to reduce the social stigma of children, this mislabeling creates unnecessary barriers to access resources for deaf people and the deaf community in general. There are barely enough qualified deaf teachers and qualified educational interpreters to meet current needs, and there are not enough such professionals to serve all the schools in the neighborhood that have a deaf child residing in the district. In a perfect world, every family with a deaf child would have a deaf mentor that they could use as a resource for life and school situations. Deaf children born in hearing families are often isolated and disconnected from deaf culture, and I believe that schools should do more to facilitate contact with the deaf community and take advantage of those resources.
ASL interpreters to help deaf children keep up to date with their classmates are great, although being connected to the general deaf community is transformative. Without schools for the deaf, educating deaf children becomes more expensive, both in the short term, with human and other resource limitations, and in the long term, with educational deficiencies. She also worked for several years as a paraeducator supporting deaf students in their local public schools and has been involved with the deaf community for many more years. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) recognizes the value of schools for the deaf and values their contributions to the education and development of deaf and hard of hearing children for nearly 200 years.
The most recent of these panels, the Commission for the Education of the Deaf (COED), recommended a series of changes in the way the federal government supports the education of deaf people from birth to post-secondary education and training. Schools for the deaf, including charter schools founded to serve deaf children, have a unique capacity to provide the necessary visual learning environment and ideal conditions for language development for deaf children. After finishing their studies, deaf people can do just about anything their hearing counterparts can do, although it's much harder to find work with a living wage because, sadly, many employers avoid hiring deaf people, even though it's a violation of federal law. Many hearing parents also prefer the integration option, considering that integrating their deaf children is preferable to sending them to a school for the deaf.
If schools expect deaf children to learn less, then all children will learn the same thing: deaf children are less capable. .