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Parents’ perspective on the care trajectory of their congenitally deaf child

Wednesday, 25 May, 2011 - 18:00
Campus: Brussels Health Campus
Faculty: Medicine and Pharmacy
auditorium P. Brouwer
Stefan Hardonk
phd defence

The context of congenital deafness has changed
under the influence of recent technological
innovations in the field of medicine. The
implementation of universal neonatal hearing
screening programmes in many countries has
allowed for early care intervention, and cochlear
implants offer new possibilities for hearing and
spoken language development. Members of the
Deaf community have challenged the medical
approach of deafness and emphasised a
perspective in which deafness is not considered
as an impairment, but as a characteristic of a
cultural-linguistic minority. Today, little is known
about parents' perspective on their child's care
trajectory. Given the different conceptual
approaches of deafness and the fact that over 90
percent of deaf children are born to hearing
parents who are unfamiliar with the issue, it is
important to acquire sociological insight in
parents' care-related experiences and decisions.

This dissertation addresses this issue, based on a
sociological analysis of data collected among
hearing and deaf parents in Flanders, Belgium.
The results demonstrate the importance of
parents' conceptualisation of deafness for their
care-related experiences, preferences and
decisions. Moreover, an explanatory model was
developed for parents' care-related decisions,
which supports policy and professional practice,
as well as scientific progress in the general field
of disability research.

Attachment: 
PDF icon Hardonk_a.pdf