Educational services for deaf children in Europe
Education opportunities for deaf children have changed considerably since the introduction of early diagnosis through newborn hearing screening and the developing technologies, such as implantable devices and digital hearing aids. This study sought the views of parents of deaf children across Europe to describe the educational services their child receives and to explore their experiences of these services.
An on-line survey was distributed across Europe; responses were received from 231 participants in 20 countries. Respondents provided information on their child’s hearing loss, the hearing technology used, communication mode, educational provision and any additional and specialist support received.
The full range of hearing loss was represented with 154 (65%) described as having a profound hearing loss and 160 (68%) using at least one cochlear implant. Children were educated in a variety of provision, with 68% receiving their education in mainstream schools. 155 (65%) of children were described as using only Spoken language in education, 64 (27%) using Spoken language with Sign, and 18 (8%) using only Sign language. 43% of respondents reported that their child did not receive specialist support from a Teacher of the deaf and 37% did not receive Speech and Language therapy.
Over one third of respondents were not happy with the level of support their child received in education. Parents also described their experiences of educational services for their child. While many respondents reported that they are happy with the support their child receives in school, much can be learned from both the positive and the negative experiences of these families.
The major issues to emerge were:
- All parents want their child to achieve their potential. Educational services can support this by providing local access to good quality, appropriate provision.
- Parents sometimes find it hard to access what they feel their child needs in education.
- Parents value a range of educational provision; they want it to be appropriate to the needs of their individual child.
- Schools and staff who understand deafness and the needs of deaf children are fundamental to appropriate educational services.
- Parents want education services to have appropriate expectations of their child’s potential.
We hope to share the full results with you soon!
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This study has been supported by Oticon.