On average, deaf and hard of hearing school-age children who have deaf or hard of hearing parents differ from those who have hearing- only parents in their signing experiences at home and school, as well as in their degree of hearing loss. The findings reported here, based on an analysis of data from the 2001–2002 Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth, indicate that having at least one deaf parent is the most powerful indicator of the likelihood that the student is in a home where signing is used regularly and in a classroom where signing is a primary mode of communication used for instruction. Having just one hard of hearing parent (and no deaf parent) greatly reduces the likelihood that the child is receiving instruction in sign language or regularly signs at home. Parental hearing status is also associated with the child’s degree of hearing loss, however; understanding the relationship between parental hearing status and signing experiences must thus be tempered by the fact that the physiological imperative for visual communication is frequently a result of genetic inheritance.


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pp. 231-244
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