Global Educators Cohort Program - Teacher Education

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Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID) Collaborative Effort

Participating Colleagues:
  • Karen Kritzer/Kent State University

Plan of Action:
  • Contact key CAID individuals as listed on the CAID "Council Directory."
  • Confirm individual's contact information, CAID role/responsibility, and how long they have been involved with CAID.
  • Ask each individual the following questions:
    1. To the best of your knowledge, how and when does CAID prepare its members to observe, understand, and respond to possible instances of child abuse and neglect (CA/N) as experienced by children who are deaf/hard of hearing (d/hh)?
    2. What questions, concerns, suggestions, and/or resources (e.g., curricular, instructional activities, multimedia, local/state/national leaders/organizations, etc.) do you have concerning the professional development/support of teachers of the deaf to observe, understand, and respond to possible instances of CA/N as experienced by children who are d/hh?
    3. Would you be willing to incorporate, at any level, information concerning CA/N into CAID sponsored/recommended activities?
      • If so, what support would you like to receive to implement such an incorporation?
      • If not, what are your objections to such an incorporation
    4. Do you have any comments you would like to make concerning the topic of CA/N as experienced by children who are d/hh?
  • Thank the individuals for their time, encourage the individuals to visit our wiki ( , and feel free to share information from the wiki as you think best.

Note:It would be interesting to find out if, and if so, how often, when, and by whom the topic of CA/N has come up at a CAID conference. I just do not know how “getable” this information is.

CAID's Response to Questions listed above:
1) At the moment, CAID does not have a plan for preparing members to observe, understand, and respond to possible instances of child abuse and neglect (CA/N) as experienced by children who are deaf/hard of hearing (d/hh). We believe that this information would be beneficial to our members although we are not sure at the moment what information we would distribute or what the appropriate medium for this information would be.

2) Major question/concerns we have regarding Child Abuse and Neglect with dhh children are, first, how to get around the problem of under reporting. Often, dhh children do not have the language skills to communicate mistreatment, or even to conceptually understand that something that is happening to them is wrong. We all have our own stories to tell on this topic- one of our members remembers a female student she taught, a 3rd grader (8 years old)- from the day our member met her she suspected that something was “off” or wrong about the child- however, the child's communication skills were weak. It took an entire year of building her language skills, and her trust, until the child finally revealed what was happening to her at home. Another of our members remembers his experience as a kindergarten teacher and being in frequent contact with child protective services mostly for issues related to physical abuse and neglect.

A second concern/question is how to train teachers to recognize the signs of abuse and what to do about it. Given the varying communication abilities among deaf children- teachers of the deaf need to be trained to recognize that abuse may be revealed by deaf children in untraditional ways. One of our members reports that each time in her teaching past that she learned that children were being abused at home it was revealed to her in the format of journal entries- often in pictures that were graphic in nature or words that were cryptically revealing (e.g., “I don’t like it when my uncle gets in bed with me and wets the bed.). A new teacher, or one who is not trained to recognize signs of abuse may not recognize the impact of the information that dhh students are revealing. Training for teachers is necessary, but no formal training program for teachers of the deaf seems to currently exist (to the best of our knowledge). Those of us who are college professors occasionally bring up the topic in our classes (training future teachers) but we do not follow a formal curriculum and do not know of any materials available to help teach others regarding this topic.

A third concern we have is that the people who teachers should be reporting abuse to (e.g., case workers) do not understand the needs of deaf children. One of our members reports that it took months to educate case workers about communication issues relating to dhh children. The case workers never seemed to understand that they needed to bring an interpreter with them to communicate with the children.

Finally, materials are also necessary to teach dhh children about abuse. As one of our members discovered, often negative attention from a lousy parent is desirable for a child who feels unloved at home. DHH children need to be able to recognize when they are not being treated appropriately. To the best of our knowledge, no "dhh child-friendly" materials of this nature currently exist.

3) We believe that CAID could incorporate information concerning CA/N into our activities. For example, we could incorporate presentations related to this topic into the next conference and/or incorporate training type materials into the student (pre-service teacher) section of our organization. At a bigger, more complicated level- we could be involved with training individuals who could go out to schools/programs for the deaf and talk about the problem of abuse and neglect, how to recognize it and what to do about it. Of course, the “trainers” would also need to be trained so a program that does this would need to be developed- funding would be necessary for this. Funding would also be necessary to support individual trainers going out to schools.

4) Our only comment at the moment is that we believe that this is a timely topic that is definitely in need of investigation.