Title: 'From Hearing Loss to Deaf Gain: A Journey of Discovery'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): deaf gain, pathological approach, paradigm shift
Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify alternatives to the pathological approach to deafness
  2. Explain the benefits of exposure to ASL and the Deaf community and culture
  3. List language that supports deaf gain


When a hearing parent learns for the first time that their young child is deaf, they are often left feeling paralyzed regarding their next steps. The focus, from a medical or educational stand point, turns to fixing what does not work or implementing a treatment plan intended to stop a problem from getting worse. Language and practice within the field support this notion of deaf'ness' as a pathology. For example, many colleges and universities categorize the study of deaf'ness' within communication disorder departments (Kannapell 1993). In addition, instructional language such as, hearing loss, and hearing impairment inherently skews students perspective towards deafness. Despite the persistent focus on remediation, many families with deaf children find success in embracing the language and culture of the Deaf community. A paradigm shift must occur to bring families and professionals from a pathological perspective to one centered on the whole child; bringing children from hearing loss to Deaf gain. This presentation will highlight parent interviews
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Sarrea De Suza - Primary Presenter
PA School for the Deaf
     Credentials: B.S. Speech Language Pathology and Audiology M.A. Deaf Education
      Sarrea De Suza earned a B.S. in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from New York University and a M.A. in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University. She began her career in Loudoun County, VA as a teacher of the Deaf in a center-based D/HH mainstream program and then as an itinerant. Sarrea is currently working at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf’s EI program, First Conversations. She works with families and their young children, ages birth-3, as a home based Early Intervention Teacher.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.