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Transcript of Deafness
Deafness is the absence of hearing.
It often affects various aspects of development such as cognition, social-emotional growth, certain motor skills, language acquisition, theory of mind, etc.
“Profound childhood deafness is more than a medical diagnosis; it is a cultural phenomenon in which social, emotional, linguistic, and intellectual patterns and problems are inextricably bound together.”
-Hilde Schlesinger and Kathryn Meadow in "Sound and Sign" (as cited in Sacks, p.51)
Social and Emotional Development
1. Language acquisition
4. Social-emotional development
Sign Language (Deaf culture)
Oral (hearing culture)
Thought before language.
“A human being is not mindless or mentally deficient without language, but he is severely restricted in the range of his thoughts, confined, in effect, to an immediate, small world”. (Sacks, p.34)
Theophilus d’Estrella was a deaf artist and photographer who did not acquire a formal language until the age of nine. He says:
“I thought in pictures and signs before I came to school. The pictures were not exact in detail, but were general. They were momentary and fleeting in my mind’s eyes.” (as cited in Sacks, p145).
Jean Massieu: one of the most famous deaf people who had prolonged language delay.
Learned sign language at 14 when he became a pupil of Abbé Sicard.
Became fluent in French Sign Language and written French
Before he gained the ability to use adjectives he used his nouns to describe other nouns. He created metaphors before he knew what metaphors were.
“To express the swiftness of one of his comrades in a race, he said, ‘Albert is bird’; to express strength, he said, ‘Paul is lion’; for gentleness, he said, ‘Deslyons is lamb’ (Sacks, p.40).
“It is impossible for those who do not understand it to comprehend its possibilities with the deaf, its powerful influence on the moral and social happiness of those deprived of hearing, and its wonderful power of carrying thought to intellects which would otherwise be in perpetual darkness. Nor can they appreciate the hold it has upon the deaf. So long as there are two deaf people upon the face of the earth and they get together, so long will signs be in use.” -J. Schuyler Long, Head teacher in Iowa School for the Deaf. (as cited in Sacks, 1989, p. vii)
Simultaneous Communication: Cued Speech
“Handshapes [are used] to convey consonants, and five different placements around the face to code the vowels. Phonemes that are easily distinguishable by speech reading are coded by the same hand shape or the same placement. Conversely, phonemes that have similar lip shapes are coded by different hand shapes and placements” (Leybaert & D’Hondt, p. S3).
Why would God allow people to be born deaf?
Elizabeth Von Trapp Walker
"Let me tell you what God has done for me in my 'defective' state. He has created me with ears that hear what people REALLY say, for in my intensity to hear I listen not just with mechanically assisted hearing. I listen with my whole body. My eyes see the joy, pain and sorrow sometimes hidden in the words as the ears of my heart listen and read the body language of the speaker. I look and see the whole person as they speak because this defective person God created must use her whole person to hear them. I am totally present to another in my strain to listen. I do not believe this would be the case if I had been born whole and without blemish."
Barriers Deaf People Face in the Church
Only 10% of deaf individuals in North America attend church on a regular basis.
Attending a hearing church:
Must have an interpreter
Must sign instead of sing
Must keep eyes open to watch interpreter during prayer.
May miss parts of the sermon if looking down at Bible.
Understanding the Bible...
Cultural differences may take away from the personal aspect of scripture. (John 10:27, 1 Samuel 3, Exodus 3).
Deafness depicted as being broken in the Bible? In Mark 7:31-37 Jesus heals a deaf man. Conflicts with Deaf pride.
From about 1990 to 2000 "the average DHH high school student graduated reading at the fourth grade level, with only 10% developing age-appropriate skills" (Lederberg, Schick, & Spencer, 2013, p.23).
How Can Christians Best Love the Deaf Community?
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God". -Ephesians 5:1-2
Theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (2003) emphasizes the idea of "kenosis" or "an outgoing movement of love, out from ourselves toward the other, by which difference between ourselves and the other is not denied, but in which the other is loved as other and because of his otherness" (Broesterhuizen, 2007, p.6).
Obviously, not everyone is called to minister or work with the deaf (Romans 12:5-6). But Christians who are called to live life with the Deaf should enter into their community as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ; equally as sinful, equally as fallen, but equally as beloved through the grace and love of Christ.
"God's love is a love that includes all people -- each one in his or her uniqueness. is only when we have claimed our own place in God's love that we can experience this all embracing, non-comparing love and feel safe, not only with God, but also with all our brothers and sisters" - Henri Nouwen in "Life of the Beloved"
Two main issues according to Marschark and Knoors (2012):
Visual stimuli sensitivity
Theory of Mind
Theory of mind: "the awareness of how mental states such as memories, beliefs, desires, and intentions govern the behaviors of self and others" (Corina & Singleton, 2009, p.961).
Cyril Courtin (2000) found that deaf children of deaf parents performed better on "false belief tasks" than hearing children and deaf children of hearing parents at every individual age level and overall.
Theory of Mind:
Wellman and Peterson found that deaf children of hearing parents who may experience a delay in theory of mind can cultivate and improve their understanding through various training and practices.
Theory of Mind:
Moeller and Schick (2006) found that "for deaf children, the quality of input (what is talked about) may be more relevant to social understanding than overall quantity" (p.757).
Overall, mothers of hearing children tended to use more "mental state terms".
False belief test results:
19 out of 26 hearing children answered 100% correct. Only 7 out of 22 deaf children answered 100%
Moeller and Schick (2006) came to the conclusion that deaf children of hearing parents develop under "fragile language learning circumstances" and as a result rely heavily on social interactions with their mothers.
How does maternal input affect theory of mind development?
Training the mind
Social Identity in Deaf Adolescents
Julia Hardy (2010) researched how deaf adolescents from 13-16 viewed themselves as deaf individuals.
"Bridge between two worlds" (p.58)
Not all deaf children have the same social experiences and as a result, deaf children associate themselves in different social groups.
"Deaf in my own way"
Guy McIlroy and Claudine Storbeck (2010) say that "deaf identity is not a static concept but a complex ongoing quest for belonging, a quest that is bound up with the acceptance of being deaf while 'finding ones voice' in a hearing-dominant society" (p.494).
"bicultural DeaF identity": "the capital 'F' highlights the deaf person's fluid postmodern interactions and engagement and dialogue across the conventional dividing line between Deaf and culturally hearing identities and communities as an authentic bicultural DeaF person" (p.497).
The researchers believe that either extreme of Deaf identity or hearing culture alignment are limiting many deaf individuals.
Identity and Bilingualism
Ford and Kent (2013) interviewed six pre-lingual deaf bilingual students aged 16-23 years old to see how they viewed their bilingualism.
Benefits of bilingualism:
"support with pronouncing words, forgetting a sign, or supporting lip-reading skills" (p.40).
BSL (British Sign Language) allowed them to form close relationships
English gave them the ability to gain a better education through access and understanding of literature.
Lederberg, Ryan, and Robbins (1986) conducted a study to see how 5-6 year old deaf children interacted with familiar and unfamiliar deaf and hearing peers.
"there was more interaction, a higher response rate and an increased use of a wide variety of visual communicative devices in the deaf-deaf dyads compared to the deaf-inexperienced hearing dyads" (p.698).
However, familiarity did play a role in communication.
Deafness and Emotional Mental Health
van Gent, Goedhart, and Treffers conducted research investigating the relationship between deafness, self-identity, and behavior or emotional disorders.
Deafness in and of itself does not cause psychopathology but it is the social, emotional, and developmental implications of deafness that may have contributed to pathology.
More time spent in the hearing culture was correlated with lower Social Acceptance but not with lower Global Self Worth.
Wellbeing and Ecological Experiences
"The ecology of human development involves the scientific study of the progressive mutual accommodations between an active, growing human being and the changing properties of the immediate settings in which the developing person lives." -Bronfenbrenner (1979) (as cited in Gascon-Ramos, 2008, p.58)
Deaf children, "grow up to use their expressions, spatial relationships of signs, body movement and touch, far more than hearing people do in everyday interaction" (Gascon-Ramos, 2008, p.62).
The family must recognize, accept, and embrace their child's deafness and all the changes the family will experience.
Early intervention programs are available for deaf children and their hearing families to "provide parents with opportunities to develop new resources to communicate and relate to their deaf child at the same time promoting positive perceptions of deafness and Deaf culture among family members" (Gascon-Ramos, 2008, p.65).
Oftentimes, deaf children of hearing parents are first exposed to sign language when they begin school.
95% of deaf children have hearing parents
A study on the social and emotional functioning of elementary aged deaf students sought to compare and contrast social and emotional tendencies of both deaf children and hearing children (Vogel-Walcutt, Schatshneider, & Bowers, 2011).
“What is necessary...for us to become complete human beings? Is our humanity, so-called, partly dependent on language? What happens to us if we fail to acquire any language? Does language develop spontaneously and naturally, or does it require contact with other human beings?” (Sacks, 1989, p. 31)
For the last couple of decades it has become more popular for parents of deaf children to choose spoken language for their children. This is partly due to many technological advances like the cochlear implant and more powerful hearing aids.
Early intervention is key.
"Motor and phonetic foundations for spoken language are acquired through babbling. Thus, prelinguistic vocalizations appear to be an important indicator of infants' ability to learn spoken language" (Lederberg, Schick, & Spencer, 2013, p.21)
Sign Language vs. Oral Language in the Classroom
Charlotte J. Evans (2004) researched the bilingual teaching and learning model as an effective practice for deaf children's literacy competence.
Literacy "goes beyond the basic tasks of textual decoding and encoding [and] outlines the strong connection among language learning, the individual, and the community" (p.17).
Evans found that teachers implemented the bilingual and bicultural approach to deaf education primarily by using ASL in teaching, accurately and efficiently translating between ASL and English when necessary, and by teaching English in a multimodal manner through various images, signs, and words.
Must focus on the "underlying concept" or "conceptual translation" (p.21).
Social interactions with peers and teachers at school help mold the deaf child's social skills and can either nurture or hinder their emotional health.
The deaf participants were only "slightly more likely than hearing children to feel shy, lonely, or overly concerned about being away from their parents (p. 19).
Deaf participants were a bit more likely to internalize anxiety or their discomfort.
Hearing participants displayed slightly more self confidence.