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Ethical Considerations in Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Kathee Mangan Christensen, Editor

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Read reviews: Reference & Research Book News, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

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From the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

The aim of the authors is to encourage multidisciplinary teams having the responsibility of making decisions with far reaching impact on the lives of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) to do so within an ethical decision-making process that considers not what is “right or wrong,” but what is most beneficial for an individual in a given situation. Professionals are encouraged to examine personal biases and limitations to work cooperatively, drawing on multiple viewpoints and fields of expertise to make decisions in the best interest of students who are D/HH. This book did indeed cause me to consider my personal biases about education of D/HH students and even how those biases have changed over time.

Part I explores parental decisions such as educational placement, communication choices, and cochlear implantation. Marybeth Lauderdale outlines benefits of residential schools for the deaf; however, she rightly points out that the entire continuum of educational placements should be examined in light of the needs of each individual child. Mathew Call discusses multilingualism and multiculturalism in the context of deaf education. Call advocates decision making that empowers students who are D/HH to become quadrilingual, with the option to return to their countries of origin as Deaf social activists. Katrin Neumann explores ethical issues of cochlear implantation in children. She examines all sides of this controversy and encourages informed decision making within a multidisciplinary framework.

Part II focuses on educational decision making. Kathee Mangan Christensen outlines the benefits of a situation ethics approach to making educational decisions and proposes a framework for ethical decision making. Wendy Harbour discusses challenges of educating students who experience changes in hearing sensitivity during their educational career. Melissa Herzig and Kary Krumdick discuss benefits and limitations of current assessment practices for D/HH students and propose the use of a portfolio tool as an authentic assessment. James and Patricia DeCaro provide poignant scenarios that illustrate the impact of educators’ decisions on the lives of D/HH students. They state “Ethical leadership is facilitating, as a collaborating author, the development of the life stories of those who are deaf so that they become the primary authors of their own life stories” (p. 116).

Part III focuses on interpreting decisions. Authors examine the efficacy of sign language interpreters in providing an inclusive education for deaf students. Topics include whether or not provision of an interpreter constitutes equal access and an inclusive education, as well as an in-depth discussion of the complexities of educational interpreting. Finally, Christensen argues for a “both/and” rather than “either/or” decision-making process that will result in bilingual competency for deaf individuals.

This comprehensive exploration of salient topics in deaf education makes this book a valuable tool for preparation of preservice educators of children who are D/HH, as well as for practicing professionals and parents of children who are D/HH.

Kathee Mangan Christensen is Professor Emerita, School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, San Diego State University, CA.

ISBN 978-1-56368-479-1, 7 x 10 casebound, 232 pages, tables, figures, references, index

$85.00s

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