Mainstreaming and Social Capital

Mainstreaming, in general, has had a negative impact on the socioemotional lives of deaf children. Knowledgeable advocates predicted with the first passage of the IDEA law in 1975 that this erosion of the educational experience would take place, and indeed it has. The system for educating deaf children that has evolved since that year is sorely deficient in its ability to provide these children with the social capital they need for fulfilled and successful adult lives. As a result of spending all or most of their K–12 years in general education settings, many if not most Deaf adults view their own K–12 experiences as “mainstreaming experiments” and can clearly articulate the deficiencies in the system.

Proponents of mainstreaming, since the first IDEA was passed in 1975, ...

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