This paper is in response to the article recently publishedin Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly entitled “Physical Education and Sport for the Deaf: Rethinking the Least Restrictive Environment” (Butterfield, 1991). Dr. Butterfield maintained that regular class placement of deaf students is inappropriate whereas such placements lack (a) cultural foundations unique to deaf individuals and essentials for their optimal development and (b) appropriate supportive services vital for the education of such students. In response, the present paper (a) delineates terminology frequently applied to individuals with hearing impairments and (b) maintains that failures of least restrictive environment placement are failures of implementation rather than of conception. Specifically, it is hypothesized taht lack of estabilished supportive services for students with hearing impairments may be traced, in part, to rejection of the least restrictive environment concept by such students and their parents/guardians. This paper contends that individuals with hearing impairments have much more to gain than to lose from increasing ties to the hearing world, particularly in educational settings.
The author is with the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Safety, Minges Coliseum, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858.