Deafness in Rochester: a proposal to improve understanding through the development of a comprehensive website
The purpose of this proposal is to inform people about issues related to deafness through a comprehensive website with up to date information that is easily accessible and navigable by all people. Creating a professional website will benefit professionals and parents with a variety of information from many different sources. Both parents and professionals need to be aware of the many important decisions that come with raising a deaf child. Many parents are unaware of the vast decisions that come with raising a deaf child. The decisions that parents make are not only very important, but these decisions must also be made at a very young age. This can become an overwhelming situation given the lack of information they may have and lack of time to make decisions. Some may typically see deafness as "just another disability" to cope with, however, this view is not shared by all. Many disabilities are not as complicated as deafness in that they have a more clear-cut path to making decisions. Deafness is also not always seen as a disability. Many people prefer deafness to be seen as a community and culture, rather than a physical problem that needs to be fixed. These beliefs usually come at a later age when the individual has identified themselves through life experiences and maturation. However, the infant who is deaf that is born to hearing parents, are dependent upon the parents to make decisions for them early in life. Parents are often dependent on professionals who provide parents with vital information in making decisions for their child. Public Law 105-17 or IDEA, under section 631 clearly states the need for early intervention and identification of conditions, which include deafness. While this provides recognition for identification and assessment of the deaf infant, parents and professionals are only become aware of the condition itself. They must also become aware of the numerous issues related to deafness and the decisions that will soon come to follow. What happens to decisions that parents make if they are unaware of all the issues at stake? Howwill this affect the child who is deaf if parents are unaware of other related issues? When addressing the concerns of an infant who is deaf these decisions for the parents include choosing a communication mode, selecting an appropriate educational environment, enrolling into an early childhood intervention program, and deciding on what technology if any should be used to aid the infant's hearing loss. As one can see by the above list of issues, deafness is more complicated than one would think. The problem with making these decisions as a parent is clear. Ninety percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents. The vast majority of these hearing parents are uneducated about the array of decisions and the impact that these decisions will play in their infant's life. Research has shown that parents are very unlikely to seek a secondary source of information. It is therefore imperative that professionals (teachers of the deaf, pediatricians, ear nose and throat specialists, speech pathologists, and counselors) are educated and resourceful with information to educate parents who have just given birth to an infant who is deaf.
Department, Program, or Center
Master of Science of Secondary Education of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (NTID)
Masteller, Allison, "Deafness in Rochester: a proposal to improve understanding through the development of a comprehensive website" (2005). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus
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