Families with Deaf Members: American Annals of the Deaf, 1996 to 2000

By Moores, Donald F.; Jatho, Jerry et al. | American Annals of the Deaf, July 2001 | Go to article overview

Families with Deaf Members: American Annals of the Deaf, 1996 to 2000


Moores, Donald F., Jatho, Jerry, Dunn, Cynthia, American Annals of the Deaf


The authors provide an overview of 21 articles from several countries focusing on families with deaf members published in the literary issues of theAmerican Annals of the Deaf from 1996 to 2000. Four categories were identified: Interaction and Involvement, Support Services, Stress and Coping, and Decision Making. The articles represent a commendable expansion of focus from the mother-child dyad to increased attention to fathers, siblings, extended family members, and significant nonfamily members such as deaf adults. The heterogeneity of families was a striking factor, even within those studies dealing with relatively homogeneous populations. Services appeared to be most effective within middle-class, educated family units, illustrating the need for more comprehensive services sensitive to the needs of families from less affluent backgrounds and with lower levels of education. In general, services to families with deaf children may be characterized as better than in the past but still in need of significant sensitivity and improvement. The presence of a deaf child in a family with hearing parents may cause stress, but parents have the flexibility to respond in a positive and beneficial way, especially when provided adequate information and support. The idea that hearing parents go through a grieving process involving the identification of deafness in their child seems to be an overstatement.

Continuing the series begun in the April 2001 issue investigating trends in Annals articles during the 1996-2000 period ("Issues and Trends in Instruction and Deafness: American Annals of the Deaf 1996-2000" and "Literacy Publications: American Annals of the Deaf 1996-2000") this article reports on articles published in the literary issues of the American Annals of the Deaf from 1996 to 2000 that address topics concerning families with deaf members. Our goal was to identify areas of importance within this category, as indicated by publication on the topics during a 5-year period. Several people read the articles, and discussions followed their preliminary recommendations. Because some of the articles dealt with federal mandates to identify deaf infants as early as possible and to provide services to the children and their families from time of identification, there was some question whether these articles might be categorized more appropriately as "Instruction" (Moores, Jatho, & Creech, 2001) rather than the present "Family." The authors concluded, however, that although some of the articles treated here may have some an educational or service component, all have a family orientation.

Twenty-one articles, or approximately 15 percent of all articles published in the Annals during the 5-year period, met our criteria. The topics were quite diverse. Most dealt with deaf children, but others concentrated on deaf parents, hearing parents, and extended families. We divided the articles into four categories:

Interaction and Involvement,

Support Services,

Stress and Coping,

Decision Making: Cochlear Implants and Communication Modes.

We were especially interested in the extent to which federal mandates, technical developments such as cochlear implants, and trends in research with families in the general population influenced the work reported. One very obvious area is work addressing the pluralistic nature of our society and the growing attention to multiculturalism. Another is the question of whether the federal mandate to move from individual educational plans (IEPs) to individualized family service plans (IFSPs) is reflected by a change of focus from the traditional mother-child dyad to include fathers, siblings, and extended family members. Finally, we were interested in ascertaining the extent to which research on families in general influenced work in our field.

Categories

Interaction and involvement

As anticipated, there has been a clear movement away from concentrating solely on the mother child dyad to include fathers, siblings, grandparents, and members of the deaf community. …

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