Reflections on deaf education: Perspectives of deaf senior citizens
Parents with deaf children face many challenges in making educational choices, developing language and a sense of belonging. Other key aspects of life including concept development and social competency are also critical decision points faced by parents. Developing language, whether it is through spoken or signed modalities, is of utmost importance during the formative years and for many families with deaf children, there are no prior experiences with deafness, American Sign Language, Deaf culture, or the deaf community. This study aims to understand the educational and familial experiences of older deaf citizens by examining the meaning of being deaf and members of biological and cultural families, and the concern for education of young deaf children as constructed by deaf senior citizens from both deaf and hearing families. For the purpose of obtaining both childhood and educational experiences of older deaf citizens and examining what advice they would offer to families of today with deaf children, a qualitative design was implemented in which 13 participants participated in focus group and individual interviews. Themes that emerged from the data include, but are not limited to, community-based learning, the value of communication, involvement with other deaf individuals, importance of family communication and signing, sibling involvement and including deaf children as true members of a family. One recommendation made by the deaf senior adults was that families with deaf children engage with deaf seniors more frequently as a valuable resource.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Roberson, & Shaw, S. (2015). Reflections on Deaf Education: Perspectives of Deaf Senior Citizens. Educational Gerontology, 41(3), 226–237. https://doi.org/10.1080/03601277.2014.951194