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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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  Improving Postsecondary Outcomes for Deaf Individuals
  • Discusses the individual and systemic factors that both facilitate and inhibit the attainment of postsecondary education, training, and career goals for deaf individuals
  • Uses a systems theory approach and resiliency models to emphasize how deaf individuals persist through the transition process
  • Designed for a diverse audience that includes professionals who work (or are training to work) with deaf individuals, policy makers, as well as federal and state personnel

This unique volume on the postsecondary transition process for deaf individuals looks systemically at the factors associated with positive postsecondary outcomes. “This book,” state authors Stephanie W. Cawthon and Carrie Lou Garberoglio, “draws upon our two anchoring theories: resilience and ecological systems theory. Although all people develop in context, deaf individuals develop in a context that has different processes and outcomes than hearing individuals. It was therefore essential, in our view, to look at both of these frameworks together in understanding the development of deaf individuals from secondary to postsecondary outcomes and experiences.”

Shifting the Dialog, Shifting the Culture is designed to offer opportunities for reflection as well as a deeper understanding of transition for deaf individuals. “The chapters begin with a brief synopsis, a kind of road map, with some key points to look for when reading the chapter. Where relevant, we provide stories from the field or vignettes that capture dimensions that we intend to expand upon in the primary narrative. The chapters include a discussion of demographics: Who are the individuals, and where are the institutions that are involved in preparing deaf individuals for their futures? Throughout the book, we include elements, such as definitions of key concepts, case law, historical context, research summaries, and available data from both within and outside of the field.”

The authors assert that “without a strong understanding of the current research, policymakers cannot make informed decisions about the types of programs or services that may best facilitate postsecondary success for deaf individuals. We hope that this book can provide some needed perspective on what supports are already available as well as the types of barriers that reduce access to postsecondary opportunities.”


Stephanie W. Cawthon (right) is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and the director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin. She is also the director of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes. Cawthon holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Stanford University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her personal experience as a deaf person is integrated into her understanding of what it means to navigate academic and professional contexts.

Carrie Lou Garberoglio (left) is the program coordinator at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas at Austin and the associate director of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes. She holds master’s degrees in deaf education and deaf studies from Lamar University and in program evaluation from UT Austin. She obtained her PhD in educational psychology at UT Austin. As a deaf person who was raised in the deaf community, Garberoglio is committed to increasing the accessibility of research for deaf audiences.