Presenting a qualitative study of deaf and hard of hearing students who attended mainstream schools, this study focuses on improving the educational environment of future students.
Both Gina A. Oliva and Linda Risser Lytle know what it is like to be the only deaf student in a mainstream school. Though they became successful educators, they recognize the need to research the same isolation experienced by other deaf and hard of hearing persons. In this way, they hope to improve education for current and future deaf students. Their efforts have culminated in Turning the Tide: Making Life Better for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Schoolchildren.
Turning the Tide presents a qualitative study of deaf and hard of hearing students who attended mainstream schools. The authors conducted three focus groups in different regions in the country, enlisting six to eight participants with diverse backgrounds for each session. They also gathered information from 113 online respondents who answered the same questions used in the focus groups. The respondents discussed many issues, including the difficulties of finding friends and social access, the struggle to establish an identity, the challenges of K-12 interpreting and class placement, and the vast potential of summer and weekend programs for deaf students. Their empowering stories clearly demonstrate that no deaf or hard of hearing student should be educated alone. The authors also elicited comments on other changes that parents, advocates, and other allies could work toward to improve further the educational environment of deaf children.
Gina A. Oliva is former Professor, Physical Education and Recreation Department, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
Linda Risser Lytle is Professor, Department of Counseling, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC. Dr. Lytle specializes in mental health counseling, identity development of deaf women, healthcare issues of deaf people, and private practice issues.