Graduate project

Family relationships in a severely handicapped deaf population

It has been noted that clients in rehabilitation programs for the severely handicapped deaf generally have adjustment and emotional problems greater than the "normal" deaf population. Explanations for this have included reference to maladaptive developmental sequences in the deaf person's early family experiences. In the present study, adult clients enrolled in a rehabilitation program for the severely handicapped deaf were surveyed regarding certain family patterns and feelings they experienced during their development. Results indicated a pattern of serious maladaptive practices in the rearing process they underwent. The educational achievements of the clients were generally depressed and the group was characterized as being functionally illiterate. Many came from homes in which the natural parents were not present. Communication patterns between parents and children tended to be poor. The clients identified more closely with their mothers than fathers, but their affection toward both parents was generally reduced. Clients also felt their parents' affection toward them was low. Results would indicate areas of great need in assisting parents and their deaf and deaf multi � handicapped children in learning to cope with one another. Communication and acceptance are seen as two areas of greatest need. To intercede in the cycle of frustration and failure in which these parents and children find themselves should be a goal in preventive measures for educators, psychologists and rehabilitation personnel who work with deaf persons.