Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Counseling Deaf College Students: The Case of Shea

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Counseling Deaf College Students: The Case of Shea

Article excerpt

This case study describes developmental and psychosocial challenges experienced by a Deaf college student. A counseling intervention that combines person-centered and cognitive behavior approaches with psycho-educational strategies designed to educate the client about Deaf identity development and Deaf culture is presented.

**********

Individuals who are Deaf, like members of other cultural minorities, compose a distinct cultural community that shares "a common language (i.e, a natural sign language), history, arts, beliefs, mores, behavior patterns, and social institutions" (Smith & Rush, 2007, p. 232). (Note. In the literature, the capitalized term Deaf is commonly used to refer to individuals who belong to the Deaf culture/community, whereas the lowercase term deaf is used to refer to the audiological condition [Cripps, 2000; Smith & Rush, 2007]. In the current article, however, we have decided not to make this distinction. Instead, we use the capitalized form of Deaf throughout "to indicate that Deaf culture is the birthright of every Deaf individual by virtue of their having been born Deaf or having become Deaf in childhood, whether or not they have been exposed to Deaf culture" [Cripps, 2000, p. vi].) There are more than 28 million Deaf people in the United States (Brick, 2003), and these individuals are attending colleges and universities at rapidly increasing rates. Historically, most Deaf students attended Deaf universities such as Gallaudet University or the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. Recently, however, improvements in technology and advances in federal law requiring institutions to provide interpreter and technical services have increased Deaf students' access to hearing colleges and universities. According to Barbett (1999), there were 24,000 Deaf college students attending approximately 2,500 different colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Like all college students, Deaf students confront a number of developmental and psychosocial challenges when adjusting to college life, including breaking away from supportive relationships at home, establishing new relationships and identifies at college, and managing higher academic demands. Deaf students, however, also tend to experience additional, unique challenges when transitioning to college. For example, Deaf students who attend hearing universities often require the use of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to manage communication differences with the hearing majority on campus. For many Deaf students, attempting to establish close relationships with faculty, staff, and peers when interpreters are not available is an additional challenge. There are also a number of salient cultural differences that exist between the hearing and Deaf cultures, including differences in language, social relations, stories/ literature, and cultural identity (Brauer, Braden, Pollard, & Hardy-Braz, 1998).

Even Deaf students who attend a Deaf college or university can face developmental challenges that are not experienced by hearing students who attend hearing colleges. For example, many Deaf students are mainstreamed with hearing students in their K-12 education, and the majority (90%) are from families in which all the other members are hearing (Buckingham, 2007). These students may be unfamiliar with Deaf culture and, in some cases, lack knowledge of and proficiency in ASL, both of which can add significant stress when attempting to adjust to the culture of a Deaf university or a university with both Deaf and hearing students. Additionally, Deaf students who are from hearing home communities often have experienced aloneness and isolation resulting from the inability of their family members and peers to communicate effectively with them. Communication problems at home and school can contribute to poor self-esteem and a high external locus of control, as well as hinder the identity development process (Fusick, 2008). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.