When a person is suffering from cough and cold,
many people advice different things to cure it. People also argue
about whether allopathy is effective or homeopathy or Ayurvedic
medicine. Why does this happen? Not because people like to argue but
because the problems thrown to us by life are essentially complex.
People differ in their approaches to attack these problems. This
leads to various controversies in the field. Any profession that is
dealing with human beings inevitably attracts such controversies and
special education for the hearing impaired is no exception. We have
several controversies which are often discussed by parents,
professionals, media and policy makers. At present, let us discuss
about two of these controversies :-
You can click on
appropriate options for further details.
and segregated type of schooling.
2. Oral and manual mode of
INTEGRATED AND SEGREGATED TYPE OF SCHOOLING
Let us begin by knowing the meaning of
the two terms. Segregated education is education in special schools
designed especially to satisfy the needs of the hearing impaired
students. This may include both specialized manpower and specialized
infrastructure. Such schools have specially trained teachers who are
supposed to use specialized techniques, methods, aids and appliances
to teach. Such schools also include acoustic and architectural
designs which are tuned to the needs of the hearing
On the other hand integrated education is education
of a hearing impaired child in any school which is for non impaired
children – popularly but quite incorrectly known as ‘normal
Although the concerned controversy is popularly
known as integrated versus segregated education this kind of
classification is quite incorrect. Integrated and segregated types
are like two poles and in between fall several other options.
Segregation may mean complete specialized professional input.
Integration may mean complete absence of specialized professional
input. But most of the educational porgrammes are of neither type.
These vary in terms of amount of specialized input and amount of
social/communicative integration with the hearing world. Ideally,
educational integration includes a resource unit and a resource
teacher. Resource unit is the unit that is supposed to take care of
the hearing impaired students needs in a non special school. Under
the supervision of such resource unit educational programmes are
planned with various degrees of integration/segregation. There can
be hearing impaired students who sit with non impaired children in a
classroom only for co-curricular activities, or for science/maths or
only for social studies.
The controversy generally
revolves around what is better for the hearing impaired children.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any ready made answers in terms of what
is better and what is not. However, we draw your attention to
following points which help you form your own opinions.
does not have to select a particular type for a life time. There are
children who go to special schools for foundations of education and
then, more readily move on to integrated education. Most of the
special schools too aim at integrating their students. On the other
hand there can be students who try integration initially and shift
to a special school.
Whichever type of school the parents
select they have to be alert about some things. If a special school
is considered, check whether the teachers are professionally trained
and the school has adequate aids and appliances. It is advisable to
avoid the set up where children with different types of impairment
are placed together in one classroom. If an integrated set up is
being considered, then look for a school with resource unit. One has
to be fortunate to find such a school in the close vicinity. If such
a school is not within the reach, then at least the school has to be
selected where school authorities and teachers are cooperative and
are willing to try educational integration more positively. There is
some reading material available at AYJNIHH for such non special
teachers who have hearing impaired child/children in his/her class.
In many states under the scheme of Integrated Education for the
Disabled, orientation and training is provided to teachers and
Persons with Disabilities Act(
Equal Opportunities, Protection of rights and full participation,
1995) provided various concessions and facilities to the hearing
impaired children so that these children can cope better in an
integrated set up.
Please click on ‘Concession and
facilities’ for more details.
To conclude, both integrated
and segregated set ups are required to deal with hearing impaired
children with varying kinds of clinical and non clinical background.
Education is a must for any child the and the hearing impaired child
is no exception. Whichever the type of education, it must smoothly
lead the child to become a fully functioning individual – an
individual whose potentials are developed fully and whose social
interactions are fruitful. One cannot completely guarantee what will
work with which child. We therefore have titled the controversy as
integrated AND segregated education rather than integration VERSUS
2. ORAL AND
MANUAL MODE OF COMMUNICATION.
Normal hearing, non impaired children acquire the
speech and language skills automatically, swiftly and quite early in
life. With a hearing impaired child language development is not as
easy as that. Since hearing capacity is directly and closely linked
with speaking, problems in hearing inevitably lead to problems in
speaking. Although there is nothing wrong with the hearing impaired
child’s speech organs, he/she is unable to acquire speech and
language skills automatically. Because of this, it is common
experience of all of us that most of the hearing impaired
individuals we meet are unable to speak clearly. Hence the hearing
impaired are incorrectly knows as ‘deaf & dumb’. Actually the
deaf are not dumb – they can learn to speak if they are taught
rigorously by parents and professionals. But, because of the
inherent nature of the problem, the hearing impaired (at least who
have profound hearing loss in both the ears, since birth) cannot
acquire speaking and language ability
What then is the solution of this
problem? Different scholars have tried attacking the problems,
differently. Hence the controversy – oral versus manual mode of
communication. There are scholars who think that since speech CAN be
developed it SHOULD be developed. Speech can be developed
successfully only with a lot of preconditions like the child has to
be tested very early in life below the one year age or even six
months, it has to be fitted with hearing aid immediately after that,
its rigorous training must begin by professionals and parents etc.
Therefore, some scholars believe that rather than trying to develop
speech, sign language can be introduced to the hearing impaired
child. According to them LANGUAGE is important more than speech and
hearing impaired individual can function fully well without speech.
Sign language is like any other language ( and not a mere collection
of gestures) - Hindi English or Marathi having its own grammar.
Only, instead of speaking, manual mode (body movement – hand
movement) is used.
A few basic facts about this controversy
are given here :
||In India almost all schools believes in oralism,
that is they emphasis speech development in the hearing impaired and
consider speech as primary mode of communication.
most of the pre condition for success of oralism are not fulfilled
in most of the hearing impaired, oralism in general has not
succeeded well in India.
||In India very less experimenting has
been done in the area of method of communication. There are hardly
one or two schools who have tried using signs instead of speech.
Therefore any kind of judgment as to what can work better, cannot be
||Within manual mode, basically there are sign
languages and sign systems which differ from each others
||In general professionals, parents and the hearing
impaired individuals in India favour oralism to manual
||Any country needs to have both the types of educational
programmes so that educational needs of students with various
clinical and non clinical background are satisfied in the best