Institute of Special Education Studies
Research on Family Resilience in Families of
Children with Hearing Impairment A dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirement for
Ph.D. postgradual study programme of Special Education
Shenglin LIU， ME.d
PhD study programme - Special Education Studies Supervisor Prof. PhDr. PaedDr. Miloň Potměšil, Ph.D.
Olomouc, Czech Republic
This research is activated by those parents who have survived and been resilient while facing the challenge of fostering the children with handicaps by unfailing efforts to dispel the negative impacts imposed on their children by handicaps and to stretch their children’s developmental potential. In an age said to be without heroes, they are ordinary but authentic heroes in my eyes.
Declaration of Originality I, Shenglin LIU (Student number 20044952) declare that this dissertation entitled “Research on Family Resilience in Families of Children with Hearing Impairment” and submitted as partial requirement for Ph.D. postgradual study programme of Special Education is my original work and that all the sources in any form (e.g. ideas, figures, texts, tables, etc.) that I have used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged in the text as well as in the list of reference.
Signature Date Acknowledgements
Completion of my study is a great challenge which has tested my resilience again and again. I wish to express my sincere gratitude and respect to the following people who contributed fully towards the completion of my study:
·My supervisor Prof. PhDr. PaedDr. Miloň Potměšil, Ph.D. for his creative thinking in recruiting international students from the People’s Republic of China (hereafter China) which provided me with the opportunity to study in Palacky University, the Czech Republic (hereafter Czech) and much needed guidance throughout the process of research design, questionnaire survey implementation, and dissertation writing.
·The members of my dissertation committee-- Prof. PaedDr. Milan Valenta, Ph.D, doc. Mgr. Kateřina Vitásková, Ph.D, Mgr. Jiří Langer, Ph. D --for their time, commitment, and thoughtful questions and comments, which undoubtedly improved the quality of my research and dissertation.
· The children with hearing impairment and their parents who participated in the research, especially those who participated in the reviews. Their experiences have enriched my life, opened my eyes, and helped me build confidence in dealing with life challenges.
·The headmasters of deaf schools in Olomouc, Ostrava and Hradec Kralove who had helped me send and collect questionnaires for my research.
· Secretary of Office for Foreign Affairs in Faculty of Education, Emilie Petříková and my Classmates, Jitka Vítová, Lusia Pastieriková, Miroslava Holubíková, Vojtech Regec, Eva Urbanovská, Peng Yan, who had provided me with necessary help when I was in need and had accompanied the process of my studying.
·My friend, professor Sharon A. Raver in Old Dominion University in United States of America who gave me guidance in choosing a research topic and further advice in questionnaire design and my past teacher, professor Piao Yongxin in Beijing Normal University in China who provided me with detailed information and comments on development of deaf education in China.
·My student, Zheng Linying in Sichuan normal university, special educator Peng Hua in Chengdu Rehabilitation Center for Deaf Children in China, who helped me conduct the pilot study of questionnaire, send and return questionnaire, interview main caregivers of families with hearing impaired children , and discussed with me about data coding and data analysis.
·My family in China, who always stood behind me and encouraged me, even when my pursuits took me far away from them, my old parents, my sister and my younger brother.
·My husband, Li Yucai, for his unconditional regard, empathy and support of spending countless hours caring for our child so that I could attend to my study and this research; and my son Xiaoduo, whose sweet and self-independent nature never failed to remind me of the truly important thing in life and encouraged me to persist with my study.
Childhood hearing impairment not only impacts on children’s development, but also affects all aspects of family life. This research adopted mixed approaches of quantitative research and qualitative research to examine how families from two different social contexts, the People’s Republic of China and the Czech Republic, adapted to the risk of childhood hearing impairment in a sample of 160 families and explored the process of Chinese resilient families’ positive adaptation despite of risky exposure. Due to substantial variations in definitions and measurement of resilience and family resilience in previous studies, in this study the term family resilience was operationalized as a systematic structure consisting of the impacts of hearing impairment as a significant risk on family life, the transactional process of hearing impairment and protective factors, and outcome of positive adaptation of accepting hearing impairment well, functioning well and expecting well.
Based on this conceptual framework a questionnaire was developed to assess the overall level of family adaptation and to identify its influential factors including impacts of childhood hearing impairment on family life, social stigma, family characteristics in family self-efficacy, family cohesion and open communication, family belief change in fatalism, optimism, altruism and tolerance toward difference, social support, family perception of childhood education and development. The findings of questionnaire survey show that (1) overall, the two groups of families were resilient facing challenges of childhood hearing impairment; (2) the outcome of positive adaptation could be contributed to the interactions of the factors of impact of hearing impairment on family life and social stigma, family characteristics, change in family belief, social support.
The further group comparison suggest that Chinese families and Czech families did not demonstrate significant difference in overall outcome of positive adaptation but displayed apparent differences in adaptive patterns because of the Chinese families showed much higher stress levels and more changes in acceptance and family cohesion than the early days after diagnosis when compared to Czech counterparts. The big gap between the two groups of families in intervention services including using hearing aids, cochlear implants, receiving therapy and other social supports involving information support from professionals, the community supports of free choice in special school and regular schools, the access to self-help parent group which may contribute to the difference in subjective appraisal of stress levels between them; however, despite of adverse impact of childhood hearing impairment and lack of adequate social support, the protective factors including Chinese family’s cohesive family relationship, open communication, and positive changes in family beliefs such as becoming more optimistic, altruistic and tolerant toward difference, and feelings of being helped may have contributed to the outcome observed in Chinese families’ positive adaptation.
Subsequently, in-depth interviews were conducted to describe the rich experience of eight Chinese families struggling with and adapting to childhood hearing impairment positively. The qualitative analysis of data from semi-structured interview further validated that due to inadequate social support from social security system and professionals, the Chinese families were severely impacted by childhood hearing impairment, specifically manifesting in heavy economic burden, communication difficulty and little possibility to make informed decision in sensory devices, communication mode, and educational placement. However, faced with the risk of having a child with hearing impairments, Chinese families used the strategies of shifting life focus, accepting what can not be changed, mobilizing all potential resources inside and outside family, taking concrete steps towards goal such as educating themselves sign language and working harder to earn more money for their child’s future etc. to cope with it and demonstrated that childhood hearing impairment is not obstacle which is insurmountable.
Last but not least, some recommendations for intervention services in China and the limitations of this research were discussed.
Key words: Family resilience Children with hearing impairment China Czech
Table of Contents
1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………. 13
2. Literature review……………………………………………………………..22
2.1 Hearing impairment………………………………………………………...22
2.1.1 Relevant and easily confused terms……………………………………...22
2.1.2 The heterogeneity of hearing-impaired children………………………..23
2.1.3 The development of children with hearing impairment………………..29
22.214.171.124 The general characteristics of cognitive development
of hearing-impaired Children …………………………………...29
126.96.36.199 The general feature of hearing–impaired children’s