Deaf Adolescents: Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development

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Deaf Adolescents: Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development by Mind Map: Deaf Adolescents: Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development

1. Author: Martha Sheridan

1.1. Social Worker

1.2. Specializes in research on the developmental and psychosocial experiences of deaf people

1.3. Is deaf herself, was raised in a hearing family

1.4. She realized her identity as a Deaf person at Gallaudet University where she met other Deaf people like herself.

1.5. Interested in studying the psychosocial development of deaf and hard of hearing individuals. This book looks specifically at the development of deaf adolescents to see how it has changed from childhood as well as differences and similarities with hearing peers.

2. Common Themes

2.1. Communication Mode

2.1.1. The adolescents feel more comfortable in relationships/interactions in which they have a common communication mode, underscoring the importance of communication in building relationships in adolescence. It was interesting to read Lisa's interview as she used a different communication mode (spoken English/lipreading) than the author (sign language). Though Lisa provides wonderful insight into being deaf, the flow of her interview is much different than the other teens as she and Sheridan had difficulty understanding each other.

2.1.2. There is a disconnect with others who are hearing due to the lack of language accessibility. The teens reported boredom at family or other social functions where they were surrounded by hearing people who did not sign or did not want to learn to sign (e.g. extended family). Deaf teens are not immune to bullying, either from hearing or deaf peers. This surprised me in the case of Pat who stayed a residential school for the deaf and was a victim of bullying. I assumed (wrongly) that deaf people would not bully each other as they would understand what it was like to be socially isolated/ostracized.

2.2. The Future

2.2.1. The teens generally had a positive outlook for the future and realistic expectations about higher education and careers. Realistic expectations about their futures include attending universities for the Deaf and professional careers. The teens indicated that deaf people have a wide range of job options, but they may face some barriers that hearing people would not (e.g. Pat noted that he could be President but that people may have a hard time understanding him because he uses ASL rather than spoken English). The boys said they wanted to be police officers, firefighters, soldiers, professional athletes, etc. in the first phase of the study, but have since selected other careers. They have realized that their hearing loss may be a barrier to their career aspirations. Pat, however, did not seem to have deaf role models and felt "stuck" in his career choices as he wanted to be a police officer, but though he was only qualified to be a janitor due to his hearing loss.

2.3. Identity

2.3.1. In this phase of the study, the teens identified themselves as being deaf rather than hard of hearing. They had greater awareness of Deaf culture than they did as children. The teens expressed an increased interest in Deaf culture and were interested in teaching others about the culture and language of the Deaf community. The teens were asked to look at various pictures and identify whether the subjects were hearing or deaf. They used obvious cues such as the use of hearing aids or sign language/gestures as well as more subtle cues. These subtle cues included material objects (Mary & Danny), posture (Pat), and facial expressions (Lisa).

3. Sequel to Inner Lives of Deaf Children

4. Characters

4.1. Mary

4.1.1. 15 years old

4.1.2. Family: Is part of a Deaf family

4.1.3. Communication: Primarily ASL and some signed English

4.1.4. School: Will split time between mainstream school and residential school for the Deaf as a day student

4.1.5. Mary is unique in this study in that she is part of a family where everyone is deaf. She wants to attend Gallaudet University and become an English professor.

4.2. Danny

4.2.1. 16 years old

4.2.2. Family: The only member of his family who is deaf, his mother is signs, but he has step siblings who are not competent signers

4.2.3. Communication: Fluent in ASL

4.2.4. School: Residential school for the Deaf

4.2.5. Danny displays a negative attitude about deafness and seems frustrated that he is deaf. He also expresses the idea that deaf people are less intelligent than hearing people. He wants to become a professional basketball player, but does not think he will be able to because of his hearing loss. He plans to go to college to learn to work with computers and then get a job with his dad as he signs and would be able to help Danny at work. Danny's feelings towards deafness is somewhat surprising in that he seems to be flourishing academically, socially, and athletically at his residential school.

4.3. Angie

4.3.1. 17 years old

4.3.2. Family: The only in child in a hearing family

4.3.3. Communication: Uses ASL primarily, communicates with parents in signed English. She has a hearing aid which she wears to school and notes that she does not speak as well as her hard of hearing friends.

4.3.4. School: Mainstreamed in a public school, in a class for deaf students using a TC approach

4.3.5. Angie is very aware of the differences between hearing and people and culture and is able to code switch when necessary. She is very inquisitive and is interested in a variety of career options related to writing, history, and geography.

4.4. Joe

4.4.1. 16 years old

4.4.2. Family: Youngest child in a hearing family, his mother has remarried and his older siblings have moved out

4.4.3. Communication:Uses both spoken and signed English

4.4.4. School:Mainstreamed in a hearing school

4.4.5. Joe is African-American and a minority in is predominately Caucasian mainstream hearing school. He is an outstanding student athlete and has dreams of playing Division I college football and becoming a business executive. He uses many coping strategies and is very mature. He often shows people that deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do through he good grades and athletic abilities.

4.5. Alex

4.5.1. 14 years old

4.5.2. Family: Part of a hearing family, he lives with his mother and siblings

4.5.3. Communication:Fluent in ASL

4.5.4. School:Pat is a day student at a residential school for the deaf where he commutes daily

4.5.5. Alex is a proponent for Deaf culture and the rights of deaf people. He is very knowledgeable about these subjects as he has classes in school which teach him to be a good advocate for himself. He is very creative and a excellent story teller.

4.6. Pat

4.6.1. 16 years old

4.6.2. Family: Only deaf person in his hearing family. Pat lives with his mom and dad

4.6.3. Communication:Fluent in ASL

4.6.4. School:Pat stays at a residential school for the deaf. He recently switched schools as he was a victim of bullying and is much happier with his new placement

4.6.5. Pat seems to be the most isolated of the adolescents in this book. He attends a residential school for the deaf where he has friends and participates in lots of activities. This is not true when he is home for breaks. Pat lives in a rural area and lives far away from friends who are deaf and with whom he can communicate. He reports that he is often bored and feels "stuck" when he is at home. Pat does not seem to have good deaf role models and does not realize the opportunities that are available to him. He want to be in the military but knows that he cannot because of his hearing loss. Pat feels that one of the few career options for him is janitorial work, which is not true as deaf people work in many different fields.

4.7. Lisa

4.7.1. 17 years old

4.7.2. Family:She is the only member of her hearing family

4.7.3. Communication:Lisa uses spoken English and lipreading as her primary means of communication, though she knows sign language as well

4.7.4. School:She attends a residential school that uses an oral approach

4.7.5. Lisa is unique in this study in that she is the only one to attend a residential school that uses an oral approach. She relies on speech and lipreading while the others in the study relied more on ASL and signing. she refers to herself as hard of hearing while the other note that they are deaf. Lisa is on the school swim team and is a competitive athlete She wants to be a vet and attend college after graduation.

5. Communication Information

5.1. Mode

5.1.1. The adolescents displayed a variety of communication options including ASL, sign, fingerspelling, spoken English, and lipreadiing.

5.2. Preference

5.2.1. The teens show a preference for communicating with people "who are deaf like me." In the study on childhood deafness, the children wanted to communicate with peers (deaf or hearing) by any means possible. As adolescents, they prefer a common language and peers who have similar communication styles.

5.3. Utilization

5.3.1. The teens generally identify with peers who use a similar communication mode. However, when they are in situations where a different communication mode is needed, they are able to adapt. The teens reported that they teach their hearing friends signs so that they all can communicate. Lisa uses an oral/aural communication approach, but used sign and fingerspelling to communicate ideas when she and the author had difficulty understanding each other. Mary noted that hearing people should not be afraid to talk to deaf people because they will find a way to communicate even though they do not use the same communication method.

5.4. Relationships

5.4.1. Adolescents form friendships and bonds based on communication. A common language and communication mode are important for teens to develop relationships. The teens in this study reported preferring to hang out with peers who are deaf/hard of hearing because they can "talk, talk, talk" though they reported they were willing to teach others sign so they could communicate with hearing friends. They also reported feeling disconnected from family members with whom they have difficulty communicating. This was sometimes true of hearing siblings who did not learn ASL fluently. At extended family gatherings, the teens often reported that they feel isolated because they cannot communicate with cousins or other family members as they do not know ASL. The teens often rely on parents or siblings to translate and this does not always happen, resulting in feelings of isolation.