Attitudes Toward the Capabilities of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults: Insights From the Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children


Children who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) grow up in environments influenced by their parents’ attitudes, which may facilitate or impede these children’s development and participation (World Health Organization, 2007). The attitudes of 152 Australian parents of DHH children ages 3 years 7 months to 9 years 5 months (M = 6 years 5 months) were investigated with the Opinions About Deaf People Scale (Berkay, Gardner, & Smith, 1995a). The parents’ responses showed very positive attitudes toward the capabilities of DHH adults, particularly on items describing their intellectual and vocational capabilities. Parents’ responses to most of the items on the scale were positively skewed, raising questions about its validity as a research tool when used with parents of DHH children. The study findings suggest that for these children, parents’ attitudes may facilitate rather than present an environmental barrier to their development.