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Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development|
In the phase II study, the ease and depth of communication became more important than just accessibility to communication, and it is clear that this ease and depth facilitates bonding, comfort, and identification with others like themselves. The adolescents reported feeling more comfortable with deaf peers they identify with or see as similar in communication and language. They adapt to communication differences but make references to having more fun in relationships with deaf teenagers. In other words, as children, the theme is it’s not whether you are deaf or hearing, but how you communicate, while in adolescence the theme became I am more comfortable when you are deaf like me and we experience ease and depth in communication. These adolescents actively choose domesticated others who share their language, communication method, and culture.
The following quotations illustrate the adolescent stage of attachment in relationships with domesticated others.
Alex: [talking about his brief experience with mainstreaming]: They were hard of hearing, not deaf, so they were talking and using English. I was the only one who was really deaf. Then I met one other girl and one other guy who were deaf, too, but there were just three of us. They were fun. [In the residential school] it’s easy to communicate and a lot more fun. I have so many friends.Parental Regard. In both childhood and adolescence, the participants were overwhelmingly certain of their parents’ love, positive regard, and affection for them. This is an important finding because anecdotal and published information assumes that deaf children and adolescents most often feel their hearing parents do not love or accept them. At the same time, there is some evidence at both stages that the participants see their hearing parents as needing to adjust and believe that their parents would worry about them. Stories of enjoyable family activities are expressed at both phases.
Joe: My family? Well, they’re great! My mom, she’s always been with me for all my life. For many years my mom’s been helping and I really love her! She was there for me. I would say generally, many parents and mine try to support the kids as much as they can and show how well they can do. It’s a hard job.Friendships. In both the phase I and phase II studies, the informants delighted in their stories about their many friends and the activities they participated in together. Yet, as indicated before, it is important to note that they recognize greater comfort, depth, enjoyment, and ease in relationships with peers they identify as like themselves.
Alex: Friends come up and talk and laugh, waiting for the same bus, saying funny things and laughing. They sit down near each other where they can all see each other and go on laughing and talking.