In the spring and summer of 1996, 404 parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and were born in 1989 or 1990 completed questionnaires about early services received and the current status of their children's development. The children were enrolled in 137 different programs in 39 states; about one quarter of the programs participating in Gallaudet's Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children and Youth. Children who are deaf comprised 46% of the group for whom responses were provided; those who are hard of hearing comprised 54%. Hearing loss was confirmed at the mean age of 14.5 months for the deaf group, and at the mean age of 28.6 months for the hard of hearing group. Additional conditions place 32% at risk for educational or developmental difficulties. One or both parents are deaf in 13% of responding families. Almost 40% of mothers have some training beyond high school; one third of the children came from non-White or mixed-race backgrounds. (These characteristics of children and families are used in analyzing other data collected from responding parents). Communication approaches used in children's initial programs included: speech alone (24%), sign + speech (66%), sign alone (5%), cues (3%), and sign + cues (3%). Parents gave highly favorable evaluations to intervention programs, and placed teachers at the top of a "sources of help" list. Parents from minority groups and those with no college training reported that their children showed more behavior problems and less language progress, and gave more negative responses to questions regarding the impact of deafness on their families. This suggests that program personnel may need to increase their intervention efforts for these subgroups of special education consumers.


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pp. 278-293
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