Date of Graduation

Spring 2017


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Karen Engler


Deaf, American Sign Language, literacy, reading, early literacy, language development

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders


Literacy is a crucial component of life in our society, and the journey to becoming fluent readers begins before conventional classroom instruction. Literacy rates of adults who are deaf and hard of hearing are consistently in the fourth grade, age nine to ten years, range. In order to help build more skilled readers who are deaf and hard of hearing, it is critical to increase understanding of how deafness affects the development of literacy. This case study was of a family of six with all members' deaf and American Sign Language (ASL) as their first language. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of family within the home context as it related to the literacy development of the children. Study findings suggested that absence of print and infrequent reading from parent to child influenced the early literacy outcomes of the children. Implications for this study include an increase in awareness or understanding of the effect on early literacy of American Sign Language use in the home. The benefit for this study may be that future inquiry based on this case study may lead to better practices in working with families whose first language is ASL.


© Rubecca Sue Wilson

Open Access