Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 10-12-2022


This dissertation explores how hearing parents with deaf/hard of hearing children come to understand deafness. This mixed methods study used an online survey and multiple case studies (volunteers from survey). Participants were asked about early intervention experiences and beliefs about deafness. The survey had 74 respondents and five families participated in the interviews. Survey participants’ beliefs about deafness were primarily medical, focusing on the perceived barriers caused by deafness and the remediation of those barriers through spoken language options. A small number of respondents adopted a cultural perspective of deafness and focused on remediation of barriers through involvement in the Deaf community. Case study family stories show the impact of the social environment on the family’s construction of deafness. Results suggest that early intervention can combat those barriers by providing options, including deaf/hard of hearing adults, and being mindful of how provider beliefs about deafness further limit families.


mixed methods, social construction, deafness, early intervention

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Linguistics

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jill P. Morford

Second Committee Member

Barbara Shaffer

Third Committee Member

Julia Scherba de Valenzuela

Fourth Committee Member

Julie Mitchiner