Findings

The goal of this study was to learn about social experiences from the perspective of the deaf mainstreamed person. In-depth, open-ended questions were answered by each of the two participants, their responses were the substance of the data analysis. However, limitations should also be noted, they are as follows: the amount of time spent in the educational placement was limited. The number of students interviewed is small (2). And finally, the presence of the Hearing Specialist, the former intern, and/or the interpreter may have effected the responses from the students.

During the interviews both participants were asked to talk about their current social life in high school. Although their responses were different, both reported that they had experienced some form of social isolation at one time or another. However, both also responded about positive social experiences in their current placement.

The videotapes were reviewed and transcripts of the interview were written, including bracketed information such as body language, facial expression, tone of voice, etc. For each interview, the following steps were used to categorize the transcripts into charts:
            1. Each comment was determined to be either positive or negative based
            on the students' response.
            2. The previous charts were further divided into two more, comments
            relating to "school" or those falling in "other", resulting in four lists per interview.
            3. From the "school" chart, all comments involving any form of social interaction formed two revised charts. From the
            "other" charts, all comments involving social interaction outside of the school were used to form two more revised
            charts.

The final four charts were positive social interactions within the school, negative social interactions within the school, positive extra-curricular social interactions, and negative extra-curricular social interactions. The previous steps allowed me to organize data and categorize the data, while noting evident themes and patterns. This method provided not only a quick reference for the information, but also the number of negative comments compared with the number of comments made by each student.
 

Participant "A"
Participant "A" describes his social experiences as quite positive. He talked openly about his interactions. He described his social experiences in the former private school placement and contrasted those with his current public school experience:

Interviewer: "Let's talk about school."
Respondent: "I like it (here in the public school), it's better than my old school." Interviewer: "Really? Can you talk more about that?"
Respondent: "Well, (I) have more friends here and I can wear whatever kind of clothing I want."
Interviewer: "I can understand the importance of choosing your own clothing especially at this age. But, let's talk about the friends at your old school." Respondent: "I had one good friend. But I didn't really know many other people. I went to (that) school forever and new the students in my classes, but didn't do much together or talk much."
Interviewer: "You mentioned that here you have made more friends. Tell me about them."
Respondent: "Boys from my neighborhood go to school here. At home we play basketball all the time. I sit with him at lunch and he has helped me (make friends).

Participant "A" also mentioned that he made many friends in his mainstreamed classes. He is currently taking advanced English, where he reported that he met many juniors and seniors, some of whom he often sits with at lunch. He responded with a giggle and a "No, I'm too short" when asked if he played sports, however, he stated that he had several friends on the basketball team. He described their friendships as follows:
"...we play basketball at my house in the summer. In the winter I just sit inside after school and watch T.V. But, for fun? We go places, work-out together, and other stuff. Last night, me and a friend went to a basketball game, the NCAA Basketball championship..."

Participant "A" reported that he is involved in after-school activities, however, our discussion was directed toward his extra-curricular activities at the old school.
 

Interviewer: "Do you play basketball here at the high school?"
Respondent: "No, I'm too short. I play for a City League, though, and I play the whole game. I used to play (at my old school), our team wasn't real good." Interviewer: "Tell me about playing sports at your other school."
Respondent: "Well, I really like sports. I had fun. I played football and basketball. One time I got hurt and..."

Although the participant played sports at his other school, he still claimed that he didn't have friends on the team. When asked how he described a "good friend", he stated that it was someone you could "just talk to". He also mentioned things like riding to school together, going out on weekends, and playing basketball together.
Participant "A" did not seem concerned with communication. He exhibits very good speech reading skills and has very clear speech. He stated reasons for his successful mainstreaming environment:
"There are several deaf students here. I think people know how to act around us (deaf students) better. I like the resource classroom because I get tutored and stuff. I also have friends here that I can do stuff with and play basketball at home."

As I reviewed the charts, I noted emerging themes. A frequent theme occurring in
the transcripts of participant "A" was referral to playing basketball when discussing his friends and social interaction. He plays neighborhood basketball with friends, plays on the City League with his "buddies", goes to basketball games (with his friends) for social outings, and etc.

Participant "B"
Participant "B" also contrasted his experiences with his previous placement when discussing his current placement in the public school. Unlike the other participant, this student previously attended a residential school for the deaf. When describing the school for the deaf he mentioned that all the teachers and students knew sign language. Here at his public placement, he mentioned that not many people knew how to sign. He informed me that he uses American Sign Language to communicate.
When discussing friends, the participant often referred to his educational interpreter. This may be a result of the lack of social opportunities available to the participant. Also, communication barriers do exist for him, because of the absence of hearing students who know sign language in this public school.

Interviewer: "Tell me about your friends."
Respondent: "Friends. Okay. James (the interpreter) is a friend. Patsy (the Hearing Specialist) is a funny friend. She always signs to me."

The participant often responded to my questions with a very short comment and/or with a yes/no answer (even when asked a wh- question). Therefore, the information obtained from this interview was limited. Participant "B" did respond to the questions related to his satisfaction with his school placement.  For example:

Interviewer: "Which do you prefer, school for the deaf or here?"
Respondent: "Here, for sure. They teach me many things, like how to balance a checkbook and stuff."

Participant "B" expressed great satisfaction with the program not because of the social environment, but rather because of the education. He really enjoys woodshop and is currently making a garden stand. He referred to his interpreter as his friend in class.
When doing a thematic analysis on Participant "B's" transcript a theme emerged. When referring to friends, what he does for fun, who he talks to in class, plays with in P.E. he consistently referred to his educational interpreter.
In summary, both students expressed satisfaction with their current educational placement. Neither of the participants classified themselves as currently socially isolated. Further, a description of a student who is socially isolated was obtained in the interview with Participant "A" as he describes himself in his previous educational mainstream setting. Participant "A" credited his numerous friendships as one reason for this satisfaction. As Charleson, Strong, and Gold (1994) reported, communication difficulties are often related to success in the mainstream. Further, communication problems were rated as the number one cause of social isolation by the students in their study. This may also explain the extreme success of Participant "A" in his current placement. His speech perception skills and clear articulation have helped him overcome the communication barriers that exist for many other deaf and hard of hearing students.
Participant "B" expressed satisfaction with his current placement, however, when asked to elaborate, he credited his education, rather than social experiences. The consistent referral to his educational interpreter when discussing his social interactions, may be because the absence of communication barriers between the two.
A very interesting pattern developed between the two participants during the data analysis. Participant "A" consistently referred to his friends and basketball when discussing social interaction, however, Participant "B" referred to his educational interpreter when discussing social interactions. This may suggest that there is a link between the deaf and/or hard of hearing student's communication method and their social interaction experiences.

The goal of this study was to learn about social experiences from the perspective of the deaf mainstreamed person.  In-depth, open-ended questions were answered by each of the two participants, their responses were the substance of the data anaylysis.  However, limitations should also be noted, they are as follows:  the amount of time spent in the educational placement was limited.  The number of students interviewed is small (2).  And finally, the presence of the Hearing Specialist, the former intern, and/or the interpreter may have effected the responses from the students.

During the interviews both participants were asked to talk about their current social life in high school.  Although their responses were different, both reported that they had experienced some form of social isolation at one time or another.  However, both also responded about positive social experiences in their current placement.

The videotapes were reviewed and transcripts of the interview were written, including bracketed information such as body language, facial expression, tone of voice, etc.  For each interview, the following steps were used to categorize the transcripts into charts:

            1.  Each comment was determined to be either positive or negative based on the students' response.
            2.  The previous charts were further divided into two more, comments relating to "school" or those falling in "other",
                resulting in four lists per interview.
            3.  From the "school" chart, all comments involving any form of social interaction formed two revised charts.
                 From the "other" charts, all comments involving social interaction outside of the school were used to form
                 two more revised charts.

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