The Hands and Reading: What Deafblind Adult Readers Tell Us, by Cynthia L. Ingraham and Jean F. Andrews

Topics: Blindness, Sign language, American Sign Language Pages: 13 (3526 words) Published: October 1, 2013
British Journal of Visual Impairment
http://jvi.sagepub.com/

The hands and reading : What deafblind adult readers tell us Cynthia L. Ingraham and Jean F. Andrews
British Journal of Visual Impairment 2010 28: 130
DOI: 10.1177/0264619609359416
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The hands and reading
What deafblind adult readers tell us

BJVI

THE BRITISH
JOURNAL OF
VISUAL
IMPAIRMENT

Copyright © 2010 Authors
(Los Angeles, London, New Delhi,
Singapore and Washington DC)
Vol 28(2): 130–138
DOI: 10.1177/0264619609359416
ARTICLE

C Y N T H I A L . I N G R A H A M A N D J E A N F.
A N D R E W S Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, USA

A B S T R AC T Deafblind readers are heterogeneous in reading skill acquisition. This qualitative study uses in-depth interviews and protocol analyses and queries the three deafblind adult
participants in describing their metacomprehension, metacognitive and metalinguistic strategies used when reading different types of text. Using retrospective analysis, the three adults describe and reflect on how they learned language and how they learned to read as children. The participants also describe the technology that assists them in reading print. Data suggest that deafblind adults use a variety of auditory, visual and tactilekinesthetic strategies (i.e. braille, large print, and raised print) in decoding English. Some also use ASL, Signed English and tactile ASL and tactile Signed English.

blindness, braille, deafblind,
d e a f n e s s , h e a r i n g l o s s , l i t e r a c y, v i s i o n l o s s

K E Y WO R D S

BACKGROUND
We typically associate reading with matching spoken language to printed language but for the approximately 3 million deafblind individuals in the USA many will access printed English through the use of the hands (Wolf-Schein, 1989). Deafblind adults may use braille, raised print, fingerspelling, or even a modified sign language as in the case of tactile sign language or fingerspelling. The purpose of this pilot study was to interview three successful deafblind adult readers. They reflected on how they learned to communicate; to use language and literacy skills in their daily experiences using their hands and ears. While our sample is from the USA, we believe our findings have relevance for populations in other countries as well.

Severe sensory loss to both hearing and vision can adversely impact daily functioning especially when learning to read (Ingraham, 2007). While deafblind adults may have some residual vision and hearing, information 130

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INGRAHAM & ANDREWS: THE HANDS AND READING

obtained from one modality is often insufficient singularly (Brabyn et al., 2007). For example, if a student with limited vision and hearing is unable to completely hear a particular vocabulary word, the use of their vision to see the printed word or the manual sign can be useful.

The earlier the onset of deafblindness, the more challenging it is for the student to develop communication and literacy skills (Cummings-Reid, 2007; Miles and Riggio, 1999). However, persons who are born deaf and lose their vision later in life may face obstacles depending on how much American Sign Language (ASL) and English skills they have already acquired (Reid, 1996). When deafblind persons lose their...

Citations: http://jvi.sagepub.com/content/28/2/130.refs.html
>> Version of Record - May 17, 2010
What is This?
Downloaded from jvi.sagepub.com by Cynthia Ingraham on October 3, 2012
USA many will access printed English through the use of the hands
(Wolf-Schein, 1989)
Severe sensory loss to both hearing and vision can adversely impact daily
functioning especially when learning to read (Ingraham, 2007)
Downloaded from jvi.sagepub.com by Cynthia Ingraham on October 3, 2012
INGRAHAM & ANDREWS: THE HANDS AND READING
obtained from one modality is often insufficient singularly (Brabyn et al.,
2007)
2007; Miles and Riggio, 1999). However, persons who are born deaf
and lose their vision later in life may face obstacles depending on
how much American Sign Language (ASL) and English skills they have
already acquired (Reid, 1996)
Pigmentosa), they often learn to read braille (Ingraham and Anderson,
2001)
reading disabilities, dysgraphia, and learning disabilities in general
(Miles and Riggio, 1999: 15).
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