The aim of this study is the education of deaf and hard of hearing children and adolescents, who are often victims of exclusion and failure at school.
The first part looks at increasingly larger samples of deaf and hard of hearing students who fail at school and who are often associated with poor linguistic performance.
The following part focuses on identifying the causes of exclusion and failure and whether they are due to the condition itself or linked to the school or home environment. The deaf or hard of hearing are often perceived as being impaired, both by popular belief and by the medical community, indicating endogenous exclusion. However, recent studies have shown that the brains of the deaf and hard of hearing are biologically identical to those that hear and that they have the same linguistic competence. The fact is that sign languages have an identical structure to spoken ones, demonstrating that exclusion is exogenous, stemming from the school or home.
The third part deals with education and school, showing that exclusion is still ubiquitous, more recently as a result of providing so-called equal opportunities. It also refers to countries which have reverted this trend and adopted a theoretical educational model for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The final part analyses two Portuguese schools in which there is both ideological and oralist exclusion. However, the positive educational experience of a deaf child in a Sign Language environment is also presented.