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 J.B., Michigan

Do you have any information on the benefits of educating a deaf child throughout college so that they are able to become fully independent and off of social security. I am trying to justify the additional expense we are incurring now vs the cost to the government in the long run if my child should stay on social security. I would appreciate any help you could send my way. We are under a deadline to explain this cost.

Question from J.B., Michigan. Posted June 6, 2011.
Response from Marc Marschark -

In the next issue of the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, there will be a paper by Schley, Walter, Weathers  Hemmeter, Hennessey, and Burkhauser that directly addresses your question. You can find a summary of the study in a 2010 NTID Research Bulletin, but this is from the JDSDE abstract:

“We find that those who graduate, even those who graduate with vocational degrees, experience significant earnings benefits and reductions in the duration of time spent on federal disability programs when compared with those who do not graduate with a degree. This finding suggests that reductions in the duration of time spent on Social Security programs are not limited to those with the highest level of scholastic aptitude and that investments in post-secondary education can benefit a broad group of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. In addition, the data show that individuals who attend college, but withdraw before graduation, fair no better economically than individuals who never attended college.”