Linguistic and cultural interactions among deaf /hearing family members: Implications for family partnerships in early education
The purpose of this ethnogaphic study was to describe how a deaf child and his hearing family members make sense of each other's deaf and hearing worldviews and how those perspectives guide their actions. Data were collected and analyzed while recognizing that a problem exists in this setting that typifies the home and family experiences of 90% of deaf children. In this scenario, the deaf child does not have auditory access to the (spoken) language that is predominantly used in the home. The deaf child's access to family communication is often limited, making opportunities for language acquisition and identity development restricted or unavailable. This lack of early access to language and communication often produces a deleterious effect on later educational experiences and academic potential.
This research strives to further develop a socio-cultural perspective on individuals who are deaf. The researcher assumes the socio-cultural position that recognizes diversity in human growth and social behavior and encourages scientific investigations that are conducted in a holistic context.
The researcher lived in one family's home as a participant observer for a 10-month period. The database consists of daily fieldnotes and analytic memos generated by the field worker, selected videotaped interactive episodes, medical and school documents regarding the deaf child, and interviews with significant adults in the deaf child's immediate and extended home environment.
Data were analyzed using the theoretical contexts of symbolic interactionism and Erting's schematic representations depicting deaf and hearing interactive opportunity structures. The theoretical position for this investigation is that people make sense of their lived experiences through the reciprocal exchange of symbols, using the medium language and communication. The investigator anchored this study in symbolic interactionism theory in order to organize and make sense of the different linguistic and cultural symbols used by deaf and hearing family members (e.g., American Sign Language [ASL] and spoken English). Analysis was conducted using qualitative methods recommended by Ely, Agar's strip resolution procedure, and Erickson's approach for micro-analyzing social interaction. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
Families & family life;
0282: Multicultural education
0518: Preschool education
0628: Families & family life
0628: Personal relationships