Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Elementary Education
Michelle A. Gremp
Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) require much specialized instruction in order to successfully learn in school. Through my course of studies in the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program at Eastern Kentucky University, I was made aware that there is a shortage of teachers of the deaf in Kentucky, and that as a result many children who are DHH are being taught by teachers without specialized DHH certification. This led to me to wonder just what the educational experience of a child who is DHH in the state of Kentucky looked like. Through my honors thesis, I engaged in research to determine what the actual experiences of these students looked like. I then outlined an ideal educational path for a child who is DHH in the state of Kentucky and compared this to the actual experiences based upon data from a number of sources. Possible causes contributing to a less than ideal educational experience for some children in Kentucky who are DHH experience were discovered. Some of these causes included lack of information for parents about the urgency of following up on newborn hearing screening results, lack of detailed facts about all possible communication options, and insufficient emphasis on the importance of early language development. Additional challenges that were discovered related to the availability of resources and services in certain areas and the overall shortage of qualified personnel across the state. Suggestions for possible solutions will be shared.