Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

Christina M. Borders

Second Advisor

Stephanie Gardiner-Walsh


The development of language in a deaf or hard of hearing child is dependent upon early and effective communication access (Marschark, 2018; Marschark & Hauser, 2012; Pittman, Sass-Lehrer, & Abrams, 2016; Scott & Dostal, 2019; Scott & Henner, 2020). For many parents of deaf and hard of hearing children, the most common early decisions that are made are related to communication and supporting language development, which is recognized by many in the field as a prime factor in early language acquisition (Decker, Vallotton, & Johnson, 2012; Sass-Lehrer, 2018). However, there are a lack of effective strategies for sharing information on specific communication approaches with families across the wide span of opinions regarding how deaf and hard of hearing children communicate. The focus of this dissertation study examined the parent perspective of their experience in gathering information about communication approaches for their child and how that ties into the recommended guidelines related to informed choice, decision-making, and information sharing within the early intervention process. Surveys and interviews were used The major findings of this study indicate that parents in Illinois receive inconsistent information regarding communication approaches; primary sources of information for parents in Illinois appear to be early intervention professionals and the parents themselves; access to opportunities in addition to satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the information emerged as top influencers in the process of making decisions; and the idea of a reference chart or communication matrix was deemed a potential desirable and beneficial resource. The potential implications for enhancing early intervention practices include standardization of practices to enhance informed choice and support decision-making.


Imported from Giese_ilstu_0092E_11824.pdf


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