February 26-28, 2017 • Atlanta, GA


2/28/2017  |   1:45 PM - 2:15 PM   |  Our Role Models' Perspectives from Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students   |  Hanover B

Our Role Models' Perspectives from Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Approximately 95% of deaf and hard of hearing children are born to hearing parents (Mitchell & Karchmer, 2004) and are often the first deaf or hard of hearing person parents met. Very few, if any, parents know how to raise a deaf or hard of hearing child without support from professionals, other families and Deaf adults. Hintermair (2000) validated the benefits of having deaf role models for hearing parents. Recently, the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2007, 2012) recommended that deaf role models be made available for families. For the young child, the family is the most significant influence on their development and provides a foundation for social-emotional, cognitive and linguistic development. Increasingly, deaf and hard of hearing children have expressed the value of having deaf and hard of hearing role models for themselves and, those who grew up with models have reported the positive impact on their identity and overall development. There is no question that for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, like hearing children, role models are a positive influence on the quality of their lives. This panel presentation will include six deaf and hard-of-hearing university students who recognize the importance of the early years and appreciate the support of their families in their own developmental journeys. Students will share their experiences from the early years to the present with role models and in what capacity the role models served. Students will share their thoughts on their upbringing and the people and environmental factors that influenced and shaped who they are today. The students will share reflections from their families regarding the support and advice their parents received from professionals regarding the importance of role models in their lives. Questions from the audience will follow the conclusion of the panel.

  • Participants will explore the benefits and limitations of role models in the early years as seen through the eyes of 6 young deaf and hard of hearing adults.
  • Participants will be able to identify environmental factors (people and systems) and role models that influenced the development of these young adults.
  • Participants will take home advice for how families and the professionals who guide them can promote the social-emotional, cognitive and linguistic development of deaf infants and toddlers through the use of role models


Handout is not Available



Beth Benedict (), Gallaudet University, beth.benedict@gallaudet.edu;
Beth S. Benedict, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Executive director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., has focused on family involvement in schools with deaf and hard of hearing children, early childhood education, advocacy, early communication, and partnerships between deaf and hearing professionals and early intervention programs and services. Her work has been shared in numerous publications and through her work as a national and international presenter. Dr. Benedict is very involved in different organizations and boards. She was the Chair of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, President of the American Society of Deaf Children, on the Council of Education of the Deaf, the Maryland Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Council and actively involved in a variety of other EHDI initiatives. 


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.