Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from Renaye S., Bowling Green, KY

I am a parent of a deaf child. She is 8yrs old, and attends public school. The school she attends has a program for deaf and hard of hearing children. She spends 3hrs. per day with the teacher in that program. The rest of the day she is in a regular class room with an interpreter. She responds very well to this. She is also performing very well in her subjects. My question is what is the success rate of having a deaf child in a hearing school. Are there any concerns I should be aware of. My child does have interaction with other deaf children and deaf adults. The support we receive from the deaf community is great. Without that we would be lost.

Question from Renaye S., Bowling Green, KY. Posted June 4, 2009.
Response from Marc Marschark - NTID

It appears that you have the best of all possible situations – and apparently it is working for your daughter. On one hand, there are studies indicating that deaf children in mainstream classrooms demonstrate higher achievement than children in other settings. However, those studies are difficult to interpret because it is not clear that the groups of children being compared or equivalent before going into those programs. When other factors are controlled, school placement actually accounts for only about 1% of the differences observed in deaf children’s academic outcomes. For more information on that, you might look at Stinson, M., & Kluwin, T. (2003).  Educational consequences of alternative school placements.  In M. Marschark & P. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 52-63).  New York:  Oxford University Press. Meanwhile, just keep doing what you’re doing!