Communication Sciences and Disorders Students’ Attitudes About American Sign Language, English, and Deaf Culture



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Speech-language pathologists, who are considered experts for speech and language development of deaf children, often lack the training necessary to support the language development of deaf children (Brackett, 1997). Little research has been conducted on the attitudes of communication sciences and disorders (COMD) students towards ASL intervention and spoken English intervention for deaf children. Additionally, more research is needed on COMD students’ beliefs about Deaf culture and Deaf personhood. This study is a descriptive study using an online survey to collect data about what attitudes undergraduate COMD students hold regarding ASL, spoken English, and Deaf culture. Forty-eight students participated in the study. On average, students had favorable attitudes of ASL interventions for deaf children and slightly negative attitudes about spoken English interventions. Students also reported a more cultural view of Deaf personhood compared to a medical view on ten questions from the Attitudes About Deafness scale created by Cooper et al. (2004). Negative correlations were found between spoken English scores and Deaf culture scores, meaning that on average, the higher a student prioritized spoken English, the less positive views they had of Deaf culture. Students who had taken aural rehabilitation and/or audiology had significantly higher prioritization of spoken English interventions. Students who had taken an ASL class had significantly more positive views of Deaf culture. Understanding how COMD students view ASL, spoken English, and Deaf culture can provide valuable information on how to increase acceptance of signed languages and Deaf culture in the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology.



speech pathology, ASL, Deaf