Presenter Information:
Presenter 1: Name: Sarah Ammerman
Sarah received a B.S. in Deaf Education and Elementary Education from Eastern Kentucky University and an M.E.D. in Deaf Education from Smith College. She taught at Clarke Pennsylvania Auditory/Oral Center before relocating to the University of Arizona to pursue a Ph.D. in special education with a focus in deaf education and a minor in speech and hearing sciences. She will graduate in May of 2009.
Author Information:
Author 1: Name: Sarah Ammerman
Affiliation: University of Arizona
Abstract Information:
Title: The Bonding of Hearing Mothers to Deaf Infants
Primary Track: 6-Family Issues
Keyword(s): bonding, false positive, deaf


Sarah Ammerman, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arizona, will discuss the results of her dissertation study, The Bonding of Hearing Mothers to Deaf Infants. Sarah assessed three groups of mothers (mothers of deaf infants, mothers of infants with false positives, and mothers of hearing infants) using 3 measures: a postpartum bonding questionnaire, a demographic questionnaire, and an interview. The primary guiding research questions were (1) Do mothers whose infants’ deafness was identified through universal newborn hearing have impaired bonding?; (2) Do mothers of babies who had false positives have impaired bonding?; (3) Does the bonding of either of the aforementioned groups differ from hearing mothers of infants who passed the UNHS?; (4) How do mothers of deaf infants feel about the UNHS process and the services that they are receiving? Parents who learn their child has a disability go through a period of grief and loss for the child they had envisioned. Depending upon pre-existing coping skills, these parents may be able to balance the idea of the “perfect child” to that of a deaf or hard-of-hearing child: still the same baby, but a baby with new and unexpected challenges. If parental needs are not identified and addressed, and if social support systems are not in place, the parents will have significant difficulty dealing with their own needs and perhaps be less able to deal with the needs of their child. Sarah will share the aggregate results of her study as well as specific data, including interview responses. She will discuss how these results can assist professionals who currently work with newly-diagnosed infants and their families as well as those in preparation programs. If we can further understand what these mothers are experiencing, then we will be better able to meet their needs.
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