Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between the characteristics of IEP (Individual Education Program) team members and the decisions they make for deaf and hard of hearing students under the constraints of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). I used a sociocultural framework and Intergroup Contact Theory (ICG) (Rodenborg & Boisen, 2013) to posit the importance of the amount and type of interactions between deaf and hearing individuals in reducing prejudice by the majority group (not deaf or hard of hearing) and developing the empathy needed by decision makers who are often hearing in promoting equitable learning environments for deaf and hard of hearing students. I developed and piloted a questionnaire titled Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students' (EDHH). The EDHH was self-administered and asked IEP team members about the kind of specialized or informal training they have received, the frequency, type, and quality of interaction they have had with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, their attitude about deafness, their beliefs about communication and language accessibility issues, and their beliefs about educational placements for students. I sampled 269 IEP team members in residential special schools for the deaf and in regular schools or regional programs from the following states, New Mexico, California, Texas, Washington, and Florida. I tested bivariate relationships and based on this study, I found an association exists between the characteristics of IEP team members in terms of their knowledge of deaf education, their interaction with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, their beliefs about placement, and their beliefs about access. Additionally, descriptive analyses of the responses from and across each state suggest trends for further exploration and policy discussions. Given the results of this study, policy action plans at the local, state, and federal level should require implementers of IDEA such as principals and teachers to have specialized training in the education of deaf and hard of hearing students and greater contact with deaf and hard of hearing individuals.'


Deaf, IEP Team, Interaction, IDEA, Placement

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Allison M. Borden

Second Committee Member

Sheri Williams

Third Committee Member

Viola E. Florez

Fourth Committee Member

Ronald Stern