Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Estrada Hernandez, Noel

First Committee Member

Maki, Dennis R

Second Committee Member

Tarvydas, Vilia M

Third Committee Member

Wadsworth, John S

Fourth Committee Member

Park, Soonhye


This study explored the impact of the residential school for the deaf experience on deaf identity development. The researcher utilized qualitative methodology, constant comparative analysis, and semi-structured interviews with 5 current students and 5 alumni from the Oregon School for the Deaf. The triangulation of participant interviews collectively yielded 67 textural codes and 8 structural categories in response to the four research questions: 1. Were there experiential factors that contributed to current students and alumni making the decision to attend the residential school for the deaf? 2. What, if any, is the impact of the residential school for the deaf on the identities of those who experience it? 3. How do the participants perceive their experience at the residential school for the deaf as preparation for life after graduation? 4. Based on participants' experiences with helping professionals, are there competencies, from their perspective, that helping professionals need in order to best serve individuals who are deaf?

The data in the form of participant responses revealed that the immersive nature of the residential school for the deaf experience led to unfettered communication and comfort through sign language, thus making their educational experience more comfortable; increased personal and social Deaf cultural identification; and perceived readiness for life after graduation. In reference to helping professional competencies, participants reported professionals need to know the language and culture of the individuals who are being served.


Constant Comparative, Deaf, Development, Identity, Qualitative, Residential Schools


2, xiii, 127 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 120-127).


Copyright 2011 Frederick Douglass Staten