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National Survey of Transition Services for DHH Students. DCDT International Conference October 18, 2007 Pamela Luft, Ph.D. Kent State University. Purpose. Present preliminary data from a national survey of programs serving Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) students at secondary levels

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National survey of transition services for dhh students

National Survey of Transition Services for DHH Students

DCDT International Conference

October 18, 2007

Pamela Luft, Ph.D.

Kent State University


  • Present preliminary data from a national survey of programs serving Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) students at secondary levels

    • Based on directory listing from the American Annals of the Deaf, 2007.

    • All 50 states and DC

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Study rationale
Study Rationale

  • Few systematic studies examine the extent and nature of transition services for DHH students

  • Allen, Rawlings, & Schildroth (1989) was one of the last comprehensive reviews of these services.

    • Program, student, and counselor surveys

  • National Longitudinal Transition Surveys #1 and #2

    • Low response rate from programs

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Study rationale1
Study Rationale

  • Publications since have described transition concerns but have not collected program data

    • Have described transition issues and concerns.

      • Bowe, 2003; Danek & Busby, 1999; Luckner, 2002.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Study rationale2
Study Rationale

  • Substantial enrollment changes since 1989.

    • 1985:

      • 61% of DHH students (16-22 yrs) served in special schools

    • 2002:

      • 28.5% of DHH students (18-21yrs) served in special schools (U.S. Dept of Educ., 2004)

      • 13.8% DHH (6-21yrs)

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Study rationale3
Study Rationale

  • Strong vocational program emphasis in residential schools

  • What is the impact of placement change on transition preparation of DHH students—What are programs offering/not offering?

Transition Services Preparation & Training


  • State contacts:

    • Program categorization

      • Residential

      • Large: 35 or more students, K-12

      • Small: 34 or fewer students

      • Programs without accurate number listings are contacted and then categorized.

    • Random selection of 15% of programs

      • For each state and for each category, a 15% selection rate is identified, rounded to the nearest whole number.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Sample of call rule
Sample of Call Rule

Transition Services Preparation & Training


  • Random selection:

    • Call rule used to determine number of programs to contact per category within each state

    • A random number generator produced a sequential (non-repeating numbers) list, according to the number of programs of each type, for each state

      • Generator:

Transition Services Preparation & Training


  • Research assistants contact programs using the random numbers list until 15%, or at least one per program category responded.

    • Telephone contact using directory-

      • Asked if willing to participate in online or telephone survey about transition program offerings

      • Asked for referral to person knowledgeable about DHH programs, if not as listed

Transition Services Preparation & Training


  • All contact information entered into spreadsheet by state, program type, contact info, and researcher

  • Confidentiality:

    • Responses coded on separate form from contact form

    • Demographic information on response form is voluntary

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Survey instrument
Survey Instrument

  • Literature review of transition survey instruments across 20 articles

    • Compilation across five categories

      • Employment Preparation

      • Postsecondary Preparation

      • Independent Living

      • Community Participation

      • Assessment

        • How information is collected regarding the students’ transition areas

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Initial survey instrument
Initial Survey Instrument

  • Response categories:

    • Academic focus

    • Vocational focus

    • Multiple disabilities

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Initial survey instrument1

Academic Focus

Vocational Focus

Multiple Disabilities

Employment Prep

Career Development

-awareness of jobs & work expectations

-exploration of job interests & skills

-mentorships, apprenticeships, & internships

-service learning projects

Community-Based Work

-job shadowing on campus

-job shadowing off campus

>in preferred career area (Yes/No)

-work experience on campus

-work experience in the community

>in preferred career area (Yes/No)

-job placement: paid work in the community

>in preferred career area (Yes/No)

Initial Survey Instrument

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Initial survey pilot
Initial Survey Pilot

  • Respondents were not knowledgeable about all program areas

  • Survey was overly-lengthy

    • Quality of responses was reduced

    • Danger of poor interview response rate

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Final survey instrument
Final Survey Instrument

  • Short online survey using Silhouette (Flashlight Online)

    • Focused on key program components

    • Radio-button responses with comments

  • Survey Instrument

    • Online Survey

    • Excel Results

      • “Analyze” function of Silhouette

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Preliminary results
Preliminary Results

  • Under-response overall

    • More responses are being added and reminders sent out to

  • Overrepresentation in certain categories

    • Multiple initial contacts to address nonresponders

    • Additional responses will be deleted from final analyses

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Employment preparation
Employment Preparation

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Comments employment preparation
Comments: Employment Preparation

  • Most of my students take a Business class with a lot of career exploration.

  • DHH teachers work closely with our Vocational Training Specialist and Transition Coordinator.

  • We have a transition aide at each high school that works with all SWD.

  • We are unable to take students off campus to job shadow.

  • Our paid work experiences were canceled this year due to budget cuts.

  • Our DHH students in the general educ curriculum have no access to these courses.

  • Students participate in weekly employment related meetings with peers.

  • We offer a comprehensive work training program, both on and off campus, including internships, supported employment, and job shadowing.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Postsecondary preparation
Postsecondary Preparation

Other: CAD, Photoshop & Publisher, desktop pub, WebCT, web dev & graphics

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Comments postsecondary preparation
Comments: Postsecondary Preparation

  • Our students have access to a nearby technical college and utilize the latest assistive technology.

  • I help to set up tours, but I can’t take the students on tours.

  • Our district believes that housing and college tours is a parent responsibility.

  • For AP courses, most students are 16 yrs but functioning at K-1 grade reading.

  • We are not allowed to have email for students.

  • College Day is each Nov and we take field trips near the school.

  • The high school guidance counselor provides information.

  • They receive the same services as their non-disabled peers.

  • My high school students do online research and gather information on colleges, their rights at college and the work place.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Independent living
Independent Living

Other: VRS & Sidekicks

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Independent living1
Independent Living

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Comments independent living
Comments: Independent Living

  • Our students play the lead role in their IEPs.

  • Much of the content depends on their diploma option. We had more time and freedom to pursue functional skills before NCLB.

  • Students only receive functional academics if they are intellectually disabled.

  • We work with adult service agencies to develop plans and help students understand their future.

  • We need to focus much more on orienting deaf youths to their rights as citizens. They take this with “mainstream” students and often this is not addressed to meet their needs.

  • All is incorporated into their IEP transition plan.

  • All of our seniors are required to take a class that includes budgeting, banking, insurance, relationships, child development, communication, etc.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Community participation
Community Participation

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Comments community participation
Comments: Community Participation

  • We don’t focus on leisure time and community participation. Some students take part in community Deaf theatre.

  • This is incorporated into their IEP plan.

  • All students must be involved in community projects. All students have recreational/athletic experiences. We pay registration fees for unique activities that some want.

  • Students are welcome to join a non-school based “Teen Club”.

  • We do touch on these areas but it is fairly minimal.

  • Community skills are taught only in classes for intellectual disabilities.

  • Students participate in a social group with deaf peers.

  • Our students are connected in a variety of ways through contests, contacts, etc.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Transition assessments
Transition Assessments

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Comments transition assessments
Comments: Transition Assessments

  • We use the Magellan and WOIS interest tests, as well as nonverbal tests with some students.

  • We use Choices,, Careers for Me, PLAN.

  • Computer-based interest inventories and interviews.

  • Having a Transition Coordinator, Vocational Training Specialists, as well as interpreters has really enhanced this portion of our program.

  • Ability testing is not a part of determining DHH qualification to our program.

  • We use the transition planning survey provided by our state dept. of educ.

  • The assessments are taken in the 8th grade because of Carl Perkins and IDEA’s requirements.

  • This is a strong suit of ours. We work with an agency that provides services to the Deaf.

Transition Services Preparation & Training


Transition Services Preparation & Training

Summary of results
Summary of Results

  • Employment Preparation

    • Most programs provide:

      • Career awareness and exploration

      • Work experience and information about job applications.

    • Fewer provide:

      • Community work in a preferred field (34%)

      • Career advancement (24%)

      • Job and career change (27%)

  • Postsecondary Preparation

    • Most provide basic computer training, postsecondary and entrance information.

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Summary of results1
Summary of Results

  • Independent & Community Living

    • Most programs provide:

      • Rights, IEP information, and accommodations (81-92%)

      • Daily Living Skills and adult services (74-82%)

      • Functional academics (89-95%)

      • Community participation skills (76-85%)

  • Transition Assessments

    • Most gave interest inventories (85%)

    • Many gave transition assessments (58%)

    • Few assessed work adjustment (24%)

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Conclusions and conundrums
Conclusions and Conundrums

  • Disability & rights issues

    • Disability disclosure (56%) vs.

    • Legal rights (81%) and IEP meetings (90%) vs.

    • Interpreters (92%) and AT (84%)

  • Global job market issues

    • Career advancement (24%) &

    • Job/career change (27%)

  • Postsecondary preparation for DHH

    • Site visits (69%) and orientation (61%)

      • Evaluating disability services & supports

    • Digging deeper—beyond requirements and applications:

      • Financial aid (79%) and housing (44%)

Transition Services Preparation & Training

What is the impact of educational placement change
What is the impact of educational placement change?

  • Comments were more revealing of limitations due to:

    • General education curriculum

    • Diploma requirements

    • Rural location

  • General program availability

    • Availability to all through generic school services

    • Some programs were available, but not necessarily offered to all DHH students

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Limitations and further work
Limitations and Further Work

  • Follow-up interviews

    • How much do thorough programs provide in each area?

      • How far beyond superficial coverage?

      • How broadly inclusive of bright vs. challenged students?

    • What are the challenges of limited programs?

      • NCLBA and general education requirements?

      • Funding and resources?

  • Follow-up comparisons

    • Residential vs. large vs. small programs

Transition Services Preparation & Training

Questions and comments
Questions and Comments

  • Contact Information:

    • Dr. Pamela Luft

    • [email protected]

    • 330-673-0593

  • Project Website:


Transition Services Preparation & Training


  • Allen, T. E., Rawlings, B. W., & Schildroth, A. N. (1989). Deaf students and the school-to-work transition. Baltimore, Paul H. Brookes.

  • Bowe, F. G. (2003). Transition for deaf and hard-of-hearing students: A blueprint for change. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 8, 485-493.

  • Danek, M. M., & Busby, H. (1999). Transition planning and programming: Empowerment through partnership. Washington, DC: Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet University. Available at

  • Luckner, J. L. (2002). Facilitating the transition of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

  • NLTS2 accessed from

  • Silhouette (Flashlight Online,74111&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL)

  • U.S. Department of Education. (2004)Twenty-sixth annual report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Washington, DC: author. Retrieved 9/7/07 from

Transition Services Preparation & Training