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Deaf students' involvement in extracurricular activities

Garza, Desinya
In mainstream school settings, many deaf students are unable to participate in extracurricular activities while their hearing peers are able to go out for every extracurricular activity available. This is often due to the lack of assistance available for deaf students whether that is assistive technology, interpreters, and encouragement. Because of the lack of involvement, deaf students do not receive the benefits that extracurricular activities have to offer such as the development of teamwork, individual and group responsibility, physical strength and endurance, competition, diversity, a sense of culture and community, and the exploration of their passions and skills. In order to bring forth equal access and opportunity for deaf students to be involved in extracurricular activities, we must first find the underlying reason as to why they are not involved and how these extracurricular activities can affect postsecondary life. To answer this question, interviews were conducted for three different Deaf students currently attending Oklahoma State University asking questions pertaining to their experience and involvement through high school in extracurricular activities. These three students also responded to questions regarding any scholarships, early and automatic admissions to colleges, or employment opportunities because of their involvement in extracurricular activities. Results showed a lack of involvement for the majority of the students, and inconclusive data for the effect on postsecondary life. This study emphasizes the need for equal access and opportunity through assistive technology, interpreters, and encouragement from schools.