The Audiologist’s Role in the Guidance of Parents of Hearing-Handicapped Children
ROBERT DECKER, M.A.
Department of Otolaryngology, Section of Audiology
IN the past, deaf or partially deaf children, unlike children with more readily observable handicaps, were largely ignored and left to fend for themselves or were confined to segregated institutions where they received insufficient training and education. A few far-sighted persons attempted to educate the deaf, and some of these attempts were successful. In the eighteenth century, progressive schools for the education of the deaf were established in Germany, England, and France. In America, the first school for the education of the deaf was The American School for the Deaf, at Hartford, Connecticut. This school, founded on April 15, 1817, exists today.1
Since that early phase, most educators have followed the philosophy that the deaf should be trained in either one of two types of settings: homogeneous grouping of the deaf in a state school, or integration of the deaf in special classes in the public day schools. The best method of teaching the deaf has yet to be determined, and the pros and cons of integrated versus segregated programs are widely discussed by the various professional groups concerned with the education of the hearing-handicapped child. Programs evolve slowly, even as do advanced concepts of the over-all problems concerning the deaf child. For example, the term deaf and dumb, is still in use today, and is misinterpreted by the public as meaning deaf and mentally retarded, whereas the true meaning of the phrase is deaf and unable to use speech to communicate.
There has been no extensive formalized educational program. . .