Balancing between deaf and hearing worlds: Reflections of mainstreamed college students on relationships and social interactions

Autor/a: KERSTING, Sarah
Año: 1997
Editorial: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, nº 2 (1997), pp. 252–263
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital




This qualitative study of the social aspects of mainstreaming from the perspective of deaf college students indicates that for some students, social adjustment to college is complicated by experiences of separation and alienation from both deaf and hearing peers. Data were collected through open-ended interviews with deaf students who had little or no previous experience with or exposure to deaf culture or language before their arrival at a mainstream college environment. Feelings of isolation, loneliness, and resentment were most intense during orientation and first year, when alienation from the deaf student community appeared to be caused by lack of sign language skills, unfamiliarity with norms and values of deaf culture, and perceived hostility from deaf peers. Simultaneous experiences of separation from hearing peers appeared to be caused by physical barriers inherent in the classroom, residence hall, and cafeteria environments, as well as by discrimination from hearing peers, who tended to stereotype deaf students. Findings suggest that those involved in the administration and delivery of postsecondary programs for the deaf should investigate the experiences of students who arrive on campus without knowledge of sign language or familiarity with deaf culture and evaluate currently existing programs and services designed to meet these students' needs.