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Viewing Early Intervention From Both Sides Of The Looking Glass. The Value of Involving Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Hearing Professionals Jodee Crace, M. A. 1 Paula Pittman, Ph.D. 2 Indiana School for the Deaf 1 Indianapolis, IN SKI-HI Institute 2 Logan, UT. Faculty Disclosure.

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viewing early intervention from both sides of the looking glass

Viewing Early Intervention From Both Sides Of The Looking Glass

The Value of Involving Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Hearing Professionals

Jodee Crace, M. A. 1

Paula Pittman, Ph.D. 2

Indiana School for the Deaf 1

Indianapolis, IN

SKI-HI Institute 2

Logan, UT

faculty disclosure
Faculty Disclosure

In the past 12 months we have not had a significant financial interest or other relationship with the manufacturer of the product or provider of the services that will be discussed in our presentation.

This presentation will not include discussion of pharmaceuticals or devices that have not been approved by the FDA.

a random telephone poll of 22 early intervention programs reported
A Random Telephone Poll of 22 Early Intervention Programs Reported:
  • None of the Programs were Administered by Deaf or Hard of Hearing Adults
  • Four Programs had Deaf or Hard of Hearing Adults Employed in Part or Full Time Positions
  • Ten Programs Felt They Make Concerted Efforts to Involve Deaf or Hard of Hearing Adults in Their Programming
  • All Pointed to the Lack of Funds or the Lack of Qualified Professionals for the Limited or Absence of Involvement of Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing Adults
  • A Concern About Hiring Deaf or Hard of Hearing Adults Who Would Negatively Influence Hearing Parents was Expressed by 12 Respondents

Although Seldom Practiced, Is There Value in Having Deaf/Hard of Hearing Professionals Involved in Early Childhood Education?

value of deaf adults
Value of Deaf Adults
  • Hintermair (2000) interviewed 317 parents and found that those who reported having contact with deaf adults also reported less depression, less isolation, and increased interactional responsivity to their child. Unfortunately, only 9.5 % of parents had frequent contact with Deaf or HoH adults.
  • In a study conducted by Watkins, Pittman, and Walden (1998), parents who received services from a Deaf Mentor reported less frustrations in communicating and interacting with their child, knowing and using six times as many signs with their child than parents in the control group that did not have access to Deaf adults on a regular basis.
comment from a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing
Comment From a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

“I can tell immediately when a preschooler comes into my classroom if they and his/her family have had the benefit of both a hearing Parent Advisor and a Deaf Mentor because they walk in with language, positive self esteem, value, and attitude. The combination of a Deaf and Hearing professional working together in partnership with a hearing family creates a tangible result…children who know who they are and who have the language to express it and families who accept their child and effectively communicate with their child.”


Although Valuable, Creating Effective Partnerships Between Hearing and Deaf and/or Hard of Hearing Professionals Isn’t Always Easy


“The meaning of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Carl Jung

gonzalez mena 2005 points to four characteristics that lead to honoring differences
Gonzalez-Mena (2005) Points to Four Characteristics That Lead to Honoring Differences:
  • Perceiving and Responding to Differences
  • Communicating Effectively Across Cultures
  • Working with Diversity Issues
  • Creating a Framework for Understanding Differences
programs with successful partnerships among diverse populations display
Programs with Successful Partnerships Among Diverse Populations Display:
  • Individualism and Collectivism
  • Independence and Interdependence
  • Communitarianism
  • Dualistic or Holistic Thinking

Gonzalez-Mena, 2005

to succeed programs will need to move from
To Succeed, Programs Will Need to Move From:
  • Paternalism to Partnership
  • Pathological Philosophy to Humanistic Philosophy
  • Homogenized to Culturally Diverse
  • Monolingualism to Bilingualism
  • Simple Access to Quality Access
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

survey respondents
Survey Respondents:

5 Deaf

3 Teachers, 1 School Psychologist, 1 School Social Worker

20 Hearing

5 Audiologists, 1 Developmental Educator, 2 Nursing Consultants, 1 Parent Advisor, 1 Parent of Oral Deaf Adult, 1 Family Resource Coordinator, 1 Interpreter Coordinator, 1 SLP, 3 Teachers, 2 Secretaries, 1 OT, 1 Communication Teacher

survey findings
Survey Findings:

Important Traits (Actions or Behaviors) for Partnering/Collaborating:

Deaf Responses + Hearing Responses

deaf responses
Meet with Each Other Often

Role Modeling Development

Genuine Interest

Open Mind


Clear Understanding of Diversity (Culture and Language)



Willing to Take in Opinions

Mutual Respect

Share Common Goals/Values

Cultural Sensitivity

Immersion in Deaf Person’s Lives

Deaf Responses:
hearing responses

Ongoing Dialogue

Agreement on Communication Plan

Respect Differing Opinions

Human Relation Skills

Value the Person’s Strengths

Appreciation for All Aspects of Human Development


Respect for Deaf Person’s Identity

Cultural Sensitivity

Don’t Take Things Personally

Make Time to Plan

Agree on “Roles”


Genuine Effort in Making Relationship Work

Desire for Self Improvement

Hearing Responses:
comment from a hearing early interventionist who partners with a deaf adult
Comment From A Hearing Early Interventionist Who Partners with a Deaf Adult

“Diane makes my job so much easier because she answers the questions that I cannot even begin to answer…questions about living life as a Deaf person, about living in the Deaf and Hearing Worlds, about growing up Deaf in a Hearing Family. I can describe an audiogram, and I can help families develop their child’s residual hearing and stimulate language, but I can’t describe what it’s like to be Deaf.”

survey findings1
Survey Findings:

Challenges that Created a Breakdown in Developing Partnerships:

Deaf Responses + Hearing Responses

deaf responses1
Expectation of “Normalizing” Deaf Child

Conflicting Expectations

Majority vs Minority Attitude


Unbalanced Sharing

Role Modeling Burn Out

Not Enough Deaf Professionals

Unhealthy Experiences in Relating with Other People

Elitism Attitude

Medical Beliefs not Correlated with Education/Social Model

Lack of Cultural Understanding

Lack of Language Skills


Deaf Responses:
hearing responses1


Not Seeking Deaf Inputs or Involvement

Poor Viewpoints

Lack of Understanding (or Experiences) in Culture, Deaf Life, Language, Learning, Diversity

Content with Status Quo

Lack of Deaf Professionals

Disability (Need to Fix) - Ability (Whole Child)

Deaf People Carry Baggage and Impose on “Innocent” Hearing People

Hearing Society is the Way of Life/Normalization

Poor Achievement Results by Deaf

Hearing Responses:
comment from a hard of hearing adult who partners with a hearing adult
Comment From a Hard of Hearing Adult Who Partners with a Hearing Adult

“I work with hearing parents who are interested in learning about and understanding the world of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, our adaptations, our challenges, our successes. But they also want to know about issues that are best explained by a hearing professional in deaf education because they deal with Hearing values and Hearing culture. I am a Hard of Hearing adult, not a professional in the field of deaf education. I can share my life. Mary shares information related to the many complexities of deafness and deaf education. Parents need both!”

survey findings2

Survey Findings:

Open Comments:

Deaf Responses + Hearing Responses

hearing responses2
Flexibility by Both

Uniqueness as Personal Growth

Confidence as an Individual; then Confidence as a Partner

Very Empowering Experience

Wonderful “Self-Discovery”

Identity Clarification

“Ego” Aside and be Empathetic

Reversing the Statistics

Upgrading Expectations

Relying on Deaf Person’s Experiences


Hearing Responses
“The real voyage of discovery consists not of seeking new lands, but seeing with new eyes”.Marcel Proust
successful partnering resources
Successful Partnering Resources

Friends for Young Deaf People (FYD)

* Deaf People Take the Lead in Shared Responsibility

* Positive Role Models

* Deaf and Hearing People Share in Activities which Promote Effective Communication and Self-Confidence

* Deaf and Hearing People Train Together to Develop a Variety of Personal, Leadership, and Work Skills

* Deaf People Overcome Disadvantage by Developing Skills and Hearing People Become More Aware so that Both Can Become Equal Partners with Equal Opportunities

successful partnering resources bi bi education indiana school for the deaf
Successful Partnering Resources: Bi-Bi Education – Indiana School for the Deaf
  • Long-Term Group Process (ongoing dialogues)
  • Shared Responsibility, Shared Teamwork
  • Shared Vision, Shared Resources
  • Trainings in Cultural Sensitivity and Communicaiton/Language (American Sign Language and English)
  • Educational and Experimental Discussions/Opportunities on Healthy Empowerment
successful partnering resources deaf mentor project ski hi institute
Successful Partnering Resources: Deaf Mentor Project – SKI-HI Institute
  • Hearing and Deaf Professionals Have Different but Equal Roles
  • Joint Visits Conducted on a Regular Basis
  • Equal Value Given to ASL and English
  • Regular Contact Between Professionals, Initiated Equally
  • Inservice Workshops Conducted Regularly with Highly Skilled Interpreters – Hearing and Deaf Culture
  • ASL Classes Offered at No Cost to Hearing Professionals with Incentives for Improving SCPI Scores
  • Opportunities for Having Fun in Social Situations
strategies for creating effective deaf hearing partnerships
Strategies For Creating Effective Deaf/Hearing Partnerships
  • Equality is Essential
  • Training, Training, Training
  • Roles Must be Clear and Comfortable
  • Create a Safe Environment Where Communication can be Open and Honest
  • Provide Opportunities for Professionals to Learn about One Another’s History/Background
strategies for creating effective deaf hearing partnerships cont
Strategies For Creating Effective Deaf/Hearing Partnerships, Cont.
  • Provide Opportunities for Everyone to Learn about Deaf and Hearing Culture
  • Listen to One Another and Be Willing to Change Ideas/Approaches
  • Encourage Regular and Ongoing Communication
  • Provide ASL Classes and Incentives for Improving ASL Skills
  • Provide Quality Inservice Training to Hearing and Deaf/Hard of Hearing Adults to Ensure Effective Partnering
comment from a hearing parent
Comment From a Hearing Parent

“Our Parent Advisor taught us about audiograms and hearing aids, how to encourage our daughter’s hearing ability and her opportunities to learn language, and how to effectively use English with her. Our Deaf Mentor took away our fear of what our daughter’s life might be like, guided us into the Deaf world, helped us understand Deaf culture, taught us to effectively use ASL, and gave us insight into our daughter’s life that helped us appreciate, love, and accept her as a deaf person. We would have been cheated if we hadn’t had the benefits of both of these wonderful people in our lives.”