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Parents and Their Deaf Children

The Early Years

Kathryn P. Meadow-Orlans, Donna M. Mertens, and Marilyn A. Sass-Lehrer,

Publication Year: 2003

To correct the paucity of information on deaf or hard of hearing children and their parents’ experiences with early intervention services, researchers explored these relationships as part of the National Parent Project. From this investigation, Parents and Their Deaf Children details the experiences of a group of parents and their deaf children from the first identification of the latter’s hearing loss through their early years in elementary school. Renowned scholars Kathryn Meadow-Orlans, Donna Mertens, and Marilyn Sass-Lehrer reveal here for the first time the goals and expectations of the parents, the children’s achievements and troubles, and the families’ satisfaction and disappointment with health and educational systems. Parents and their Deaf Children stems from a nationwide survey of parents with six-to-seven-year-old deaf or hard of hearing children, followed up by interviews with 80 parents. The authors not only discuss the parents’ communication choices for their children, but also provide how parents’ experiences differ, especially for those whose children are hard of hearing, have additional conditions, or have cochlear implants. Also, one chapter is devoted to families from minority cultures. The final section of this distinctive study offers solid advice for other parents of deaf children and also the professionals who serve them.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Any research-based book has a large cast of characters to whom the authors are indebted, and this book is no exception. Our first debt of gratitude is to the parents who contributed their experiences with intervention services during their children’s early years. More than 400 parents completed a questionnaire, and more than 80 were interviewed. The ...

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1. Introduction to the National Parent Project and Survey Results

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pp. 1-11

This book details the experiences of a representative group of American parents and their deaf or hard of hearing children from identification of hearing loss to the early elementary grades during the last decade of the twentieth century. The parents report their goals and expectations, the children’s achievements and troubles, their family’s satisfactions and disappointments ...

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2. Communication Conundrum: Family Solutions

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pp. 12-38

Communication is the central concern for families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Parents struggle to establish effective communication in their families and ensure that their children receive the necessary support from schools and professionals. Early language acquisition and child and family functioning, regardless of the mode of communication, are critical to the overall development of the child with a hearing ...

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3. Hard of Hearing Children: Forgotten and Overlooked

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pp. 39-58

Children with mild and moderate hearing losses were called “forgotten” almost a quarter of a century ago (Davis, 1977). In a revised edition of Davis’s book, the editor notes that, in the years since the initial publication,“ there has been a surge of both interest in and knowledge about children with mild to severe hearing losses,” but despite dramatic improvements ...

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4. Additional Conditions: It Takes a Team

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pp. 58-77

Providing services to children with a hearing loss and conditions such as developmental delays, blindness, cerebral palsy, or behavioral problems challenges professionals who serve this population (Giangreco, Edelman, MacFarland, & Luiselli, 1997; Jones & Jones, in press; Powers, Elliott, Patterson, Shaw, & Taylor, 1995). Nationwide, about 40% of children with ...

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5. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Parents: High Expectations

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pp. 78-93

The situations of deaf parents and of their deaf children have improved greatly in the past several decades. Parents’ expectations for their children are higher, they demand more from their children’s schools, and the legal system and the general public view them as competent to rear either birth children or adoptive children. ...

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6. Cochlear Implant Stories: Huge Decisions

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pp. 94-114

Parents’ decisions to have cochlear implant surgery for their deaf child may be among the most difficult and important they will ever make. A medical doctor involved with implant surgery wrote the following: “This decision is often difficult . . . since it involves major surgery, some degree of pain and risk, significant financial obligations, years of rehabilitation, ...

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7. Minority Families: Wave of the Future

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pp. 115-138

The results of Census 2000 confirm the increasing diversity in the U.S. population (U.S.Census Bureau, 2001). Although respondents were for the first time given the opportunity to identify themselves in more than one racial category, 98% of all of the respondents chose only one category.The largest group reported White only (75%); the Black- or African American only ...

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8. Parent to Parent: Do What’s Best for Your Child

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pp. 139-157

In this chapter parents of deaf and hard of hearing children share their advice with parents who have recently discovered that their child has a hearing loss. Previous studies point to such advice from other parents as the most pressing need at the time a child’s hearing loss is identified. Parents indicated that what they most wanted at that moment was to be ...

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9. Parent to Professional: Respect Our Views

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pp. 158-177

Parents discover their children’s hearing loss in different ways. Some suspect a hearing loss at an early age, whereas others assume their baby is hearing until someone refers them after newborn hearing screening; still others assume their baby is hearing for months or even years. Regardless of how or when they suspect the hearing loss, parents are likely to interact ...

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10. Concluding Thoughts

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pp. 178-184

Just as we have seen dramatic changes in education and technology for deaf and hard of hearing children in the past 30 years, we will likely see far-reaching changes in the coming decades. It seems certain that newborn hearing screening will indeed become universal. Already 70% of all newborns are being screened for hearing loss at birth (National Center ...

Appendix A: Research Methodology: Design and Conduct of the National Parent Project

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pp. 185-192

Appendix B: Letter to Parents, Survey Questionnaire, and Interview Guides

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pp. 193-208

Appendix C: Glossary and Supplementary Tables

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pp. 209-216

Appendix D: Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Students

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pp. 217-238


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pp. 239-254

Author Index

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pp. 255-260

Subject Index

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pp. 261-264

E-ISBN-13: 9781563682407
E-ISBN-10: 1563682400
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563681370
Print-ISBN-10: 1563681374

Page Count: 274
Illustrations: 16 tables, 4 figures
Publication Year: 2003

OCLC Number: 57352340
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Parents and Their Deaf Children

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Hearing impaired children -- Family relationships -- United States.
  • National Parent Project.
  • Parents of deaf children -- United States -- Attitudes.
  • Deaf children -- Services for -- United States -- Evaluation.
  • Hearing impaired children -- Services for -- United States -- Evaluation.
  • Deaf children -- Education -- United States -- Evaluation.
  • Hearing impaired children -- Education -- United States -- Evaluation.
  • Deaf children -- Family relationships -- United States.
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