Existing research on the psychological and sociological conditions of the severely hearing impaired is surveyed. These data reveal an essentially normally distributed intellectual potential and cognitive capacity. However, data on the educational achievement and level of vocational attainment indicate that the hearing-impaired population is grossly below national averages. These data on achievement stand in stark contrast to the findings on potential.
The failure of aural rehabilitation and education to provide appropriate programs and opportunities is seen as the primary reason for this discrepancy. More specifically, existing research indicates that education's rigid adherence to a teaching methodology limited to speech, amplification, speechreading, and printed symbols instead of one that uses these techniques in conjunction with fingerspelling and the language of signs has impaired the deaf child's educational progress by limiting his chance to learn. To plan realistic rehabilitative and educational programs, professional specialists must be familiar with results, that is, the deaf adult.
Data on marriage patterns, organizations, mental illness, and communication among the hearing-impaired are presented. Certain myths, such as the "hearing vs. deaf world," are discussed. These data are then related to research on trends in competitive employment and the future occupational picture.
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Science, June 26, 1981; 212(4502): 1529 - 1531.