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Deaf Students and the School-to-Work Transition.

The authors of this book stress that the transition process to the larger hearing culture for students with the disability of deafness is far more complex than for students with other disabilities. People who are deaf have their own unique sign language, separate community, and distinctive culture which differ markedly from society at large. Consequently rehabilitation professionals often find the disability of deafness a unique and difficult challenge.

Chapter 1 reviews the history and legislation dealing with transitional services in general and, specifically, with people who are deaf. The second chapter relays two anecdotal accounts of parents' experiences in getting the necessary services for their children who are deaf. The first illustrates a positive transition experience in moving from school to work while the second example demonstrates a negative one. Presumably these two examples illustrate contrasting possibilities for parents dealing with adolescents with hearing impairments.

The third chapter provides an excellent review of the role of the vocational rehabilitation agency vis a vis students who are deaf. Significantly, it distinugishes between services to which people with hearing impairments are entitled by virtue of being in school, and those services for which people with hearing impairments must prove their eligibility. This chapter highlights the difficulties faced by clients and their families in moving from an entitlement orientation to an eligibility orientation. Eligibility requires demonstration of certain qualifying criteria and more active parent and client participation.

Chapters 4,5,6,7, and 9 are comprised of data collections from three surveys focusing on the transition of high school students with deafness to the hearing society. The authors explain why the surveys were initiated and how the instruments were developed. Information on methods of research and demographic characteristics of survey respondents are also included. The first survey was sent to school counselors of students who are deaf. The aim was to determine the type of vocational training offered to students with deafness, how students progressed in these programs, the type and extent of cooperation of outside agencies, and the kind of employment opportunities available to students with deafness while in schoool.

The second survey was sent directly to student-counselees who were deaf. Questions focused on the nature of their employment, hours worked and compensating wages, and the kinds of services received from rehabilitation agencies. The third survey dealt with high school programs for students with deafness. The particular focus was the school's relationship to their respective state rehabilitation agencies and the types of services such agencies offer students with hearing impairments.

In Chapter 8 the authors critically review 14 tests specifically designed for students who are deaf in terms of validity, reliability, test norms, and cost. Typical assessment modalities measuring achievement, vocational, and social-emotional dimensions are described. Professionals serving people with hearing impairments will find this very helpful.

Chapter 10 purports to set out the policy implications of the preceding chapters of the book. Although this chapter provides a useful summary of the contributed essays, it does not quite succeed in provding concrete suggestions on how to improve transition services for people who are deaf.

To conclude: The book is on the whole well-written but somewhat disjoined--as most edited collections are. It shares all the benefits of the genre--providing a distillation of research from a wide variety of perspectives and theoretical viewpoints. The primary drawback, also characteristic of the edited collection genre, is that it is not as coherent as it could be, and falls short on concrete policy applications relevant for those professionally serving people with hearing impairments.

A specific problem I have with the book is that it is not as sensitive to language issues as one might expect a book in rehabilitation to be. Recommended language usage (e.g. person first and disability second) and inappropriate language usage (e.g. "deaf students," "the deaf") were mixed indiscriminately--counter to professional language recommendations in effect for the past decade.

All in all, this book contains a wealth of useful information on schools, educational success, demographics, vocational training, the experience of working students, and vocational services provided. Agencies and facilities seeking grant money to provide the unique services required by this specialized population should find it very helpful.

Jan La Forge, Ph.D., CRC, CIRS, Associate Professor, Wright State University.
COPYRIGHT 1991 National Rehabilitation Association
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:La Forge, Jan
Publication:The Journal of Rehabilitation
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Previous Article:Supported employment staff training model.
Next Article:Rehabilitation Resource Manual - Vision, 3d ed.

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