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Deaf Children in China

Alison Callaway

Publication Year: 2000

To learn how Chinese parents raise their deaf children, Alison Callaway in 1994 conducted extensive research in the city of Nanjing. There, she interviewed the parents of 26 deaf children while also carefully analyzing a large collection of letters written by other parents to the supervisor of a nursery school that was the center of her research. She also made fact-finding visits to several other schools and programs for deaf preschoolers, and had discussions with teachers, administrators, and staff members. The results of her study form the remarkable body of information presented in Deaf Children in China. Callaway crafted a comprehensive interview with 133 questions, 106 of which were strictly factual while 27 asked parents for their views, attitudes, reactions, and perceptions concerning various issues. Through detailed background analysis, she was able to enhance her interpretations through a balanced assessment of the cultural influences in China, such as the role of the family and the government's “one-child” policy. Although she speaks Chinese and is raising her Chinese son, she consciously monitored with even greater care any potential biases from her own Western antecedents that might affect her research. Deaf Children in China provides a striking profile of the views and attitudes of well-educated Chinese parents with preschool-age deaf children. Callaway's inclusion of a survey of 122 English mothers of deaf children reveals the differences between Western and Chinese parents, who rely upon grandparents to help them and who frequently search for medical cures. Yet, she also discovered that many issues cross cultures and contexts, especially the problems of achieving early diagnosis and intervention for all deaf children, and optimizing early development of language in deaf children of hearing parents. Her pioneering work will fascinate and enlighten readers invested in the development of deaf children for years to come.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. ix-x

Many people contributed information, help, and advice during the preparation of the material for this book. I would particularly like to thank the following: The parents and teachers in China who contributed their views and experiences to this research; in Nanjing, Wu An'an, director of the Social Welfare Division of the Amity Foundation...

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1 Introduction

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pp. 1-10

My interest in China began in the early 1980s. After qualifying as a doctor in Britain and practicing for several years as an ear, nose, and throat specialist, I went to China in 1983 with my five-year-old Chinese son to teach at a medical college in Chongqing, a large city on the Yangtse River...

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2 The Chinese Family and the Deaf Child

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pp. 11-47

To understand how the presence of a deaf child affects the Chinese family, we need to understand the nature of Chinese families in general. The family system has been central to Chinese culture for thousands of years, and while certain key characteristics have persisted, significant social and political events in the last hundred years have had a tremendous impact on family life....

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3 Deafness in China

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pp. 48-92

To understand the condition of deaf children in China, we must know something about the larger contexts both China and of its deaf people. China is a vast country with marked variations by region in its geography, demography, and economy. Ninety-five percent of the population live in the fertile plains of the eastern half of the country....

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4 The Role of Professionals and Parents in the Education of Deaf Children

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pp. 106-122

During the last decade of rapid development in preschool rehabilitation for deaf children, Chinese professionals working in this field have increasingly recognized that parental involvement is essential for success. To implement the key objectives of early childhood intervention—early diagnosis, early fitting of a hearing aid, and early speech training...

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5 Urban Families with Deaf Children

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pp. 135-197

The information summarized in the previous chapters shaped both the questions I asked parents and grandparents of deaf children and my understanding of their answers. The interviews I conducted in the fall and winter of 1994 focused on obtaining a comprehensive picture of each family's circumstances and parents' perceptions of these circumstances....

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6 Letters to Zhou Hong

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pp. 198-253

In addition to the interviews I conducted, I was fortunate to obtain a collection of letters written by Chinese parents of deaf children. Their contents complement the information and views obtained from the interviews. The majority of these 168 letters are addressed to Zhou Hong, at that time principal of the preschool for deaf children whose parents...

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7 Conclusions

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pp. 253-265

In both the interviews and the letters that I have analyzed throughout this book, there is strong evidence that Chinese parents perceive deafness as disease, abnormality, and medical defect. Their efforts are devoted to trying to normalize their child in other words, to make them more like a hearing child...

Appendix: Interview Questionnaire

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pp. 267-276


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pp. 277-285


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pp. 287-305


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pp. 307-320

E-ISBN-13: 9781563681974
E-ISBN-10: 1563681978
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563680854
Print-ISBN-10: 1563680858

Page Count: 332
Illustrations: 22 tables, 1 figure
Publication Year: 2000

OCLC Number: 44957931
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Deaf Children in China

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hearing impaired children -- Family relationships -- China.
  • Deaf children -- Family relationships -- China.
  • Deaf children -- China.
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