Publication Date

Summer 8-2015

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Dr. Ken Williams

Abstract

Deaf children and their families continue to remain at the margins due to lack of services available. While previous studies acknowledge the necessity of having an Early Identification and Family Intervention program, measures have not been taken to implement such a program in Swaziland. This study emphasized the importance of adopting cross-cultural approaches to bridge the communication and cultural gap between Deaf children and their families. This paper asked the question: What interventions can be implemented in Swaziland in order to encourage the integration and inclusion of Deaf children into their families?

The three data collection methods used were: a questionnaire for parents and caregivers at one school for the Deaf, and semi-structured interviews by six parents and eight Deaf students. Findings revealed that there is a gap visible between the existing policies and the practices that are put into place when it comes to inclusiveness. This is largely due to insufficient resources and services available to assist Deaf children and their families, which in turn perpetuates the language and communication gap experienced. The study also revealed the attitudes and beliefs shared by parents and caregivers, and the lack of awareness of the steps to take to ensure inclusiveness. Thus, there is great room for improvement in terms of building the capacity of, and establishing additional services for Deaf children and their families.

KEYWORDS: Inclusion, Early Identification, Cross-cultural Competency, Sign Language, Deaf Culture, Deafness, Biculturalism, Communication Barrier

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