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Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families

Narrative Interviews

Barbara Bodner-Johnson and Beth S. Benedict

Publication Year: 2012

This study emphasizes the importance of family support for deaf members, particularly through the use of both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken/and or written English. Research has shown how factors influence such areas as a child’s development, performance in school, and relationships with brothers and sisters. In this volume, authors Barbara Bodner-Johnson and Beth S. Benedict concentrate on the vital, positive effects of bilingualism and how families that share their experiences with other families can enhance all of their children’s achievement and enrichment. Bilingual Deaf and Hearing Families: Narrative Interviews describes the experiences of ten families who have at least one deaf family member. In five of the families, the parents are hearing and they have a deaf child; two of the children in these families have cochlear implants. In three families, both the parents and children are deaf. In one family, the parents are deaf and their daughter is hearing; and in one family, the parents and one child are deaf and they all have cochlear implants, and the deaf child’s twin is hearing. The interviews were conducted in the families’ homes using set topics and questions. The family discussions cover a wide range of subjects: cochlear implants, where they live, their thoughts about family relationships, how they participate in the Deaf community, how they arrive at certain decisions, their children’s friendships, and the goals and resiliencies they have as a family.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Foreword

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pp. vii-xi

We humans can contribute to “history” in many ways. The way we live our lives—our dilemmas, decisions, and choices—contributes to our personal history. Our interactions with our families, neighbors, community, and colleagues at work contribute to a larger social and cultural...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xii-xiii

It was a privilege to have spent time with the families who participated in our study both during the interviews and also over the many months as we studied and analyzed their words. As this book contributes to our knowledge and perhaps expands our perspectives about families who are deaf...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-8

All parents have experiences in their family life that they can reflect on and share and from which others may learn. This book recounts the experiences of ten families who have at least one deaf family member. All of the families are bilingual; that is, they know and use both...

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2. What We Did

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pp. 9-13

Our main motivation in this work is to learn from a group of ASL and English bilingual families with deaf and hearing parents and/or children about their experiences and their perspectives on family, communication, their communities, and more so that we can gain insight into how...

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3. The Mendelsohn/Elliott Family

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pp. 14-34

Josh Mendelsohn and Barry Elliott are both deaf. They have two daughters: Zora, almost four years old, is deaf and Laine, seventeen months old, is hard of hearing. The family receives home visits from the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) Family Education Program...

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4. The Stevenson/Gavins Family

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pp. 35-49

Tammy is hearing and is Destinee’s and Renata’s mother. Destinee is deaf and has a cochlear implant; she is almost seven years old. Her little sister, Renata, is hearing and is four years old. Destinee is in first grade at the Clerc Center in Kendall School on the Gallaudet University campus...

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5. The Bahan/Burnes Family

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pp. 50-67

Ben and Sue are both deaf and their two children, Juli and Davy, are also deaf. Juli is nine years old and is being homeschooled this year. Davy is ten-and-a-half years old and is in the third grade at the Maryland School for the Deaf. Ben is on the faculty in the ASL and Deaf Studies...

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6. The Robles-Gordon/McNeely Family

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pp. 68-85

Amber is hearing and is Diamani’s mother. Diamani is deaf and has a cochlear implant. He is nine years old and is in the fourth grade at the Clerc Center at Kendall School on the Gallaudet University campus in Washington, D.C. Amber is an artist and has an MFA in painting from...

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7. The Summers Family

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pp. 86-106

Mark and Stephanie are both deaf, and their sons, Jonathan and Cory, are fraternal twins; Jonathan is deaf and Cory is hearing. The twins are ten years old and are in the fifth grade at the same school, Flower Valley Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland...

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8. The Crawford Family

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pp. 107-128

Rosaline is hearing and is Rosa’s and Billy’s mother. Rosa is deaf and is sixteen years old; she is a junior at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf on the Gallaudet University campus in Washington, D.C. Billy is hearing and is twelve years old and is in seventh grade in his local public school. Rosaline...

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9. The Benedict Family

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pp. 129-160

Dwight and Beth Benedict are both deaf. Their daughters, Rachel and Lauren, are also deaf. Rachel is sixteen years old and a junior at the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD). Lauren is fourteen years old and a freshman at MSD. Dwight is dean of student affairs at Gallaudet...

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10. The Fava/Duley Family

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pp. 161-180

The Fava/Duley family is a blended family. Nancy is hearing and is Daniel’s mother. Daniel, seventeen years old and a senior at the Maryland School for the Deaf, is the only deaf member of the family. Daniel has two siblings: Patrick, nineteen, and Erin, fifteen. Ron Duley is...

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11. The Fava/Loiacono Family

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pp. 181-193

The Fava/Loiacono family is a blended family. Sam is Daniel’s father. Nancy is Sam’s wife, and she has one daughter, Melissa, who is twenty-two years old. Daniel is seventeen and a senior at the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD). Elijah is Sam and Nancy’s adopted son, not yet a...

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12. The Mitchiner Family

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pp. 194-209

Jon and Julie Mitchiner are both deaf. Their daughter Chloe is fifteen months old and is hearing. Jon is the director of Information Technology Services at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and Julie is on the faculty in the Department of Education at Gallaudet University...

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13. Exploring the Family Interviews

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pp. 210-229

This chapter presents the findings from the qualitative analysis we carried out to explore the experiences and beliefs the families shared with us. The text analysis we applied to the ten interviews allowed us to identify the similarities across all the interview content. During the...

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14. Final Thoughts

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pp. 230-233

In chapter 1 we wrote that “all parents have experiences in their family life that they can reflect on and share and from which others may learn.” That belief was our starting point in first planning and then carrying out this qualitative study with ten families. We wanted to know...

Appendices

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pp. 235-251

Index

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pp. 253-255

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About the Authors

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pp. 257-258

Barbara Bodner-Johnson is professor emerita at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She served on the faculty in the Department of Education at Gallaudet University for more than thirty years. She holds degrees from Creighton University and the University of Iowa; she earned her doctoral...


E-ISBN-13: 9781563685309
E-ISBN-10: 1563685302
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563685293
Print-ISBN-10: 1563685299

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 60 photographs
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title:

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Deaf -- Means of communication -- Case studies.
  • Hearing impaired -- Means of communication -- Case studies.
  • Communication in families -- Case studies.
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