Perceived competence and school adjustment of hearing impaired children in mainstream primary school settings
BACKGROUND: Although educational main streaming of children with special needs formally began in Iran since 1992 there is little information whether hearing impaired children feel competent in regular schools. METHODS: To determine the perceived competence and school adjustment of hearing impaired children in mainstream primary school settings, the self-perception profile was administered to 60 mainstreamed hard of hearing children and 60 classmates with normal hearing matched for gender by a single interviewer. The instrument comprised 28 items, 23 of which were similar to those of ‘adapted test Image for children with cochlear implants’ asking children about their feelings about their own cognitive, physical, socio-emotional and communication competence and school adjustment. The Cronbach alpha coefficient for the instrument was 0.93. RESULTS: Hard of hearing children rated their competence significantly poorer than their hearing classmates for all domains. Mean differences for the five domains ranged from 0.48 (for physical competence) to 0.90 (for school adjustment) on a scale of 1-4. There were no significant differences between girls’ and boys’ competence, in either the hearing or the hearing impaired groups. Classifying overall scores for perceived competence into four groups (‘poor competence’, ‘low competence’, ‘moderate competence’ and ‘high competence’), 23.4% of hearing impaired children but none of the hearing classmates rated themselves as having low or poor competence. On the other hand 85% of hearing children and only 18.3% of hearing impaired children rated themselves as highly competent. CONCLUSION: We suggest that periodical assessments of mainstreamed children might help to identify those children who are having difficulty adapting to their environment.