THE SOCIAL PERCEPTION OF SCHOOL INCLUSION PROGRAMMES FOR DEAF STUDENTS
According to Calderón (2000) “Deaf children are considered a high-risk population due to their delayed language, communication levels, academic outcomes and socio-emotional adjustments.” This statement pretty much sums up why we are keen to develop a study of the hearing loss student population in so-called “integration” schools. Deafness is often an “invisible” disability for the population as a whole, which ranges from an overly negative view (associated with the classic “deaf-mute” of yesteryear) to an overly idealised view (they are “normal people, they just can’t hear”). The latter do not take into account or are unaware of the tremendous difficulties of being unable to hear for social, cultural and occupational integration.
The study we propose is justified by the significant increase in hearing loss students in ordinary schools over recent years. Cohen (1995) explains that, in the United States before 1975, 80% of all hearing loss students went to specific schools. Subsequently, by 1995, 60% of those students attended ordinary state schools. Based on a demographic study of 45,000hearing loss students in the US, representing 60% and 70% of the estimated US population, Schildroth and Hotto (1996) indicated that between 1975 and 1992 students in specific schools rose from 42% to 21% and students in hearing schools from 20% to 54%.
During school year 2006-2007 in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, there were only two schools with a separate specialist education, serving more or less 20% of the child population with hearing loss at primary school age and none at secondary school age.
The integration of students with disabilities into the structure of ordinary education not only aims to provide these students with quality education and an environment in which they can develop the skills that will facilitate their future integration into society, but it is also a project that aims to modify society itself. One of the mainstays of school integration plans has been the idea that students living with “different” classmates during their childhood, within an educational model based on respect for diversity, would have a more real view of disability and of people with disabilities.
For your bibliography: Juárez, A. (2012): “The social perception of school inclusion programmes for hearing loss students”. FIAPAS Journal, July-September 2012 No. 142, FIAPAS Supplement.