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Deaf Adolescents

Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development

Martha A. Sheridan

Publication Year: 2008

In her landmark book Inner Lives of Deaf Children: Interviews and Analysis, Martha A. Sheridan explored the lifeworlds — the individual and collective elements and realities that are present within the participants’ existential experiences, their relationships, and their truths — of seven deaf and hard of hearing children between the ages of seven and ten. What she discovered were deaf children with strengths, positive experiences, and positive relationships. Sheridan’s new book Deaf Adolescents: Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development returns to these seven individuals, now between the ages of 13 and 17, to see how their lives have progressed since their first interviews. Establishing an identity is said to be a primary and necessary task of adolescence. Deaf Adolescents reveals how these young adults all have begun to deal with tasks and situations that lead them to rely more on themselves and others outside of their families. Many of them talk about the athletic challenges that they face, and how their success depends upon their own efforts. They also think about the future while biding their time, taking “a break” from the furious growth that they are experiencing and also enjoying time spent with other deaf friends. In this volume, Sheridan examines the similarities and differences that these deaf young adults reveal in their views at two developmental points in their lives. Her renewed study has advanced the quest to determine what pathways and spaces can foster productive, healthy, satisfying, actualized deaf lives.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

IN HER earlier book, Inner Lives of Deaf Children, Martha Sheridan introduced us to Danny, Angie, Joe, Alex, Lisa, Mary, and Pat. Using her considerable professional skills to encourage them to communicate freely, Dr. Sheridan asked the children to tell us their own stories. As...

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pp. xiii

LET ME begin these acknowledgements by saying, “It takes a child to teach a village.” First and foremost on my thank-you list are the teenagers who participated in this study—Alex, Angie, Danny, Joe, Lisa, Mary, and Pat—who gave unselfi shly of their time and opened up their...

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1.The Dance of Adolescence

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pp. 1-7

WE CAN use many metaphors to describe the place and experience of our adolescent lives. Adolescence is a time of change on the continuum of life. Late in my adolescence, when I entered Gallaudet University, I was fortunate to have been a dance student of Dr. Peter Wisher, who used to...

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2. Theoretical and Developmental Contexts: Continuity, Change, and Transcendence

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pp. 8-26

ADOLESCENTS ARE deeply involved in active self-exploration and self-discovery, a process of defi ning and establishing their individual social and personal identities based on their many life experiences, infl uences, and roles. As adolescents grow physically, their awareness and...

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3. We Meet Again

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pp. 27-35

IN MY presentations to groups I have always said that no two deaf or hard of hearing people are alike. We have as much to learn from their shared perspectives and similarities as we do from their differences. The similarities and differences among the children I interviewed in Inner...

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4. Mary

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pp. 36-56

ON MY way to pick up Mary at her house, I recalled meeting her for the fi rst time seven years ago—a polite, bright, talkative eight-yearold child. When I pulled in her driveway, Mary’s mother came out on the porch of the small yellow rambler and waved hello. She explained that...

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5. Danny

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pp. 57-71

SINCE OUR last meeting, Danny and his family had moved, and he now attended a different residential school. Danny and his mother drove several hours to meet with me on this hot, muggy, ninety-degree day after deciding they wanted to take a vacation to come meet with me instead of...

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6. Angie

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pp. 72-91

ANGIE’S DAY to be interviewed arrived, a beautiful, breezy summer afternoon. Angie’s father met us at the door with Angie following closely behind. Her mother was still at work. Her father confi dently signed with us and showed us to the living room, where he left us to give us the privacy...

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7. Joe

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pp. 92-113

AFTER CORRESPONDING with Joe’s mother for a couple of weeks to plan our visit, I was eagerly anticipating our meeting. His mother spoke adoringly of Joe and all of his activities and achievements. As Marilyn and I parked in front of Joe’s home, we saw Joe and his mother beaming and...

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8. Alex

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pp. 114-130

I ARRIVED at Alex’s home a bit early on a cold, damp March evening. Fourteen-year-old Alex greeted me warmly at the door of his family’s modest townhouse. Alex was seven when we fi rst met, and he has grown considerably since our last interview. He is now at eye level with me. He was...

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9. Pat

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pp. 131-151

ADMITTING THAT their home is difficult to find, Pat’s parents suggested we meet at a local restaurant and they would lead me to their house. Upon arrival, I recognized their car in the parking lot from the description they had given me. Sitting comfortably in the front seat was a young man in a...

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10. Lisa

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pp. 152-174

MARILYN AND I rang the doorbell and waited. Lisa’s father opened the door and greeted us as a smiling Lisa appeared at his side. I remembered what a challenge it was for ten-year-old Lisa to warm up to us when we visited her seven years ago and noticed how at ease she seemed this time...

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11. How They Have Grown!

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pp. 175-202

IN THIS book, Angie, Alex, Danny, Joe, Lisa, Mary, and Pat have shared many aspects of their lifeworlds with us. Their individual chapters brought each of their unique adolescent experiences and diverse existences to light. To reiterate a message of Inner Lives of Deaf Children, no two deaf...

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12. Deaf Children and Adolescents: An Emerging Theory of Lifeworld Development

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pp. 203-216

THROUGH THEIR narratives, Alex, Angie, Danny, Joe, Lisa, Mary, and Pat are teaching us what it means to be deaf in their social world. Their participation in this research is leading us in the direction of discovering developmental theory as it relates to their lifeworlds. From childhood to...

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13. And Finally . . .Tomorrow’s Leaders Paving the Way

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pp. 217-228

IN THIS study, I sought the narratives of deaf adolescents so that I could learn about their experiences and perceptions and the existential realities of their lifeworlds. The research uncovered belief systems that these deaf adolescents have about belonging and culture, their views of...


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pp. 229-235


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pp. 237-244

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684050
E-ISBN-10: 1563684055
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683695
Print-ISBN-10: 1563683695

Page Count: 258
Illustrations: 5 tables
Publication Year: 2008

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Deaf children -- Interviews.
  • Deafness -- Psychological aspects -- Case studies.
  • Deafness in children -- Case studies.
  • Deaf children -- Case studies.
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