A Constant Struggle

Deaf Education in New South Wales Since World War II

By Naomi Malone

Categories: Deaf Education, Deaf History
Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Paperback : 9781944838492, 240 pages, May 2019
Ebook : 9781944838508, 240 pages, May 2019
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Naomi Malone offers a historical assessment of deaf education that is contextualized with interviews with former students and explanations of concurrent political and social events.



Deaf education in New South Wales has made tremendous progress since the end of World War II, yet issues remain for students from their early years of education through secondary high school. Naomi Malone traces the roots of these issues and argues that they persist due to the historical fragmentation within deaf education regarding oralism (teaching via spoken language) and manualism (teaching via sign language). She considers the early prevalence of oralism in schools for deaf students, the integration of deaf students into mainstream classrooms, the recognition of Australian Sign Language as a language, and the growing awareness of the diversity of deaf students. Malone’s historical assessments are augmented by interviews with former students and contextualized with explanations of concurrent political and social events. She posits that deaf people must be consulted about their educational experiences and that they must form a united social movement to better advocate for improved deaf education, regardless of communication approach.


Naomi Malone is a consulting historian for The Shepherd Centre in Sydney, Australia, and is a specialist advisor on access and inclusion issues in relation to people with disabilities.



"This book serves as an insight into the reality of deaf life for people far beyond the geopolitical confines of New South Wales." 

— Martin Atherton, H-Disability

"Adds considerably to the scant literature of deaf education in Australia and removes a significant historiographic blind spot in the broader study of special education...Of particular value to scholars, in addition to her work's thorough grounding in primary source material and secondary literature, are the personal interviews Malone conducted with students and former students of some of the institutions highlighted in this book."

— John Y. Jones, Truman State University, History of Education Quarterly