Title: 'The Importance of a Positive Identity in a Mainstream Environment'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): Mainstream, Family, Self-Esteem, Early Childhood
Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will be able to explain the importance of social interaction with deaf and hard of hearing role models.
  2. Participants will be able to discuss the importance of self esteem in deaf and hard of hearing children.
  3. Participants will be able to examine the social effects of mainstreaming and inclusion on deaf and hard of hearing children.


Since the passage of IDEA in 1990, more children with hearing loss are finding themselves 'Alone in the Mainstream'. With the advancement of technology, accommodations in the classroom are more accessible than ever. Unfortunately, even with these technological and educational advancements, the mainstream experience is far from perfect. A positive mainstreaming experience starts with a positive self-image and identity. It is crucial that parents and educators alike foster a positive identity in the first few years of a deaf child's life. Parents and professionals alike are learning now that the role of the deaf mentor shapes the lives of deaf children. Allowing children and parents to see a deaf adult or role model at various school events or IEP and IFSP meetings helps the family to envision an adult life for their deaf child. Unfortunately the importance of the deaf role model has not fully trickled down to every school and every family. The role of EHDI in early childhood is crucial as well as having a deaf adult to look up to and learn about. While parents and professionals have an obligation to provide deaf children with as many opportunities as possible, it is also the role of the child themselves to self-advocate. When a positive identity is established in early childhood, only then can self-advocacy be effective. This presentation will focus on the mainstreaming experience of one child. This presentation will focus on the personal narrative of the presenter and supported by research published by Gina Oliva and Linda Lytle. This presentation will provide recommendations for families and professionals to enhance the early childhood experiences.
Presentation: Monday_Willis_230_AlyssaBennett_1532.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
CART: Topical Session 2- 1532.doc
Alyssa Bennett - Primary Presenter,POC
Gallaudet University
     Credentials: ASDC Intern Undergraduate Student at Gallaudet University -Major: Deaf Studies
      Alyssa Bennett is a Gallaudet University undergraduate student majoring in Deaf Studies. After spending her elementary and secondary education in various mainstreamed settings, Bennett decided to venture out into the deaf community in Washington, D.C. During her time at Gallaudet, Bennett has become involved with the American Society for Deaf Children. Wanting to improve upon the mainstream experience, Bennett has published an article in The Endeavor and began researching the complexities involved with mainstreaming for deaf children. With her firsthand knowledge of mainstreamed education, Alyssa Bennett is excited to share her experience with others.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial -