Here is the summary of findings showing the outcomes on how former mainstreamed students who belong to AG Bell feel about identity and social issues when experiencing inclusion education.
Inclusive Education and Personal Development by Irene K. Leigh
Thirty-four graduated participants who belonged to AG Bell and Oral Hearing Impaired Section (OHIS) took the questionnaire.
16 = deaf
12 = hearing-impaired
4 = HoH
1 = oral then deaf
1 = hearing
50% of them change their label when they were in school
20 out of 34 = public school
13 = private
1 = Deaf school
5 reported nonsupportive academic or social environment
-labeled as defective
-made to feel “different”
-can’t understand what was said in class
The rest felt more supportive because of teachers who provided attention and friendly social environments that have structured school settings.
How does a school’s experience affected one’s identity?
19 = (+) positive
13 = (-) negative
(+) = overcome disability, accepting oneself as deaf, functionally comfortably in hearing world, good self-esteem
(-) = wrestling with the idea deaf people cannot do what they want, feelings of insecurity, dependency or self consciousness, perceptions of isolation and catering to the dominant group, she because of past rough experiences, lower self-confidence, no Deaf peers making it hard to compare
Some saw relationship with hearing peers as comfortably but never completely relaxed in contrast to socializing with Deaf peers.
Views about deaf:
8 felt (-) negative about having relationship with Deaf peers – those who were not comfortable with oral values were rejected and they rejected them.
15 felt (+) positive that Deaf were like family – no need to prove anything, having common understanding about life experiences as Deaf persons.
16 felt (-) Deaf culture was a foreign concept and thought they had negative attitudes toward hearing and oral deaf persons.
4 (+) viewed more positively
14 felt that there are advantages of Deaf culture for signing Deaf persons but felt that they are limited in terms of connections with diverse people.
13 of them had no exposure to deaf adults while in school!
Some reported that when crossing over into Deaf culture experience, some conflicts because lack of support by AG Bell members for “cultural differences.”
The bottom line is that, yes, participation in the hearing community is a powerful goal but the need for connection with some segment of Deaf community cannot be denied as a part of ongoing identity and formation and social support.
Dual identity = more positive outcomes
Moschella ( 1992) notes the significant emotional benefits that products of strictly oral environments derive from contact with deaf peers in adulthood.
1. Lack of Deaf Role models in public education system
2. Access of Deaf community is limited
3. Misconceptions formed about Deaf Culture
No Deaf peers should grow up without contact with other Deaf peers and adults.
Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education (Vol. 4, Nbr. 3, Summer 1999) Inclusion and Personal Development by Irene W. Leigh
Educating Deaf Children Bilingually by Shawn Neal Mahshie, 1995
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