Postsecondary literacy services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing

Susan Staib McGee, University of Pennsylvania


Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing who wish to compete economically must seek literacy services after leaving high school. Prior to this study, there was very little known about these programs. To address this concern, postsecondary institutions and community-based programs claiming to provide literacy services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing were surveyed about their services in six areas; availability, participants, assessment, instruction, data maintained, and barriers. A subset of the survey respondents participated in in-depth telephone interviews. In comparing and contrasting the two program types it was learned that postsecondary programs were more likely to provide college preparatory work and external accommodations, whereas community-based programs tended to serve participants on an individual basis. The unexpected finding from this study is that overall the two program types were not vastly different. Both types of programs were staffed by predominantly white, hearing women. Both types of programs were frustrated by lack of stable funding and lack of appropriate curriculum. Neither type of program prioritized research or data collection. To address these issues, it was suggested that a national priority be developed to create a uniform database, appropriate curriculum, and a network of service providers who could share ideas and resources rather than compete for them.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Special education

Recommended Citation

McGee, Susan Staib, "Postsecondary literacy services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3095920.