Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Dooley


The purpose of this longitudinal case study was to closely examine one deaf child's lived experience. The research was designed to examine linguistic development, academic experience, and personal and social conditions through the use of multiple interviews with a 'hearing' mother and her deaf daughter. Their perspectives have been shared as well as that of the narrator/inquirer.;The study begins when 'Leigh' was identified as having a profound, bilateral hearing loss at the age of 12 months, and continues to date with her current status as a twenty year old, college sophomore. The raw texts analyzed include: interview excerpts, results of educational and audiological evaluations, educational records from grades pre-K--12, and medical reports stemming from her cochlear implant. Leigh was one of the youngest children to receive a cochlear implant, which was performed following her third birthday in April of 1991.;Leigh's language acquisition was the result of exposure to sign language. Signs were her first language and preferred mode of communication throughout her years of language development. Following the implant, speech and auditory discrimination skills improved to the point that currently, she relies primarily on speech without signs to communicate. Leigh attended public school where she spent time both in a self-contained classroom for deaf and hard-of-hearing students as well as in the regular classroom with an interpreter. Leigh continues to benefit from a sign language interpreter in her college courses to access lectures and class discussions.;Unique to this case is the fact that the inquirer/narrator has maintained a close relationship with Leigh and her mother for nineteen years. Findings indicate that Leigh's success is the result of multiple factors, among which are her own ambition, a supportive home environment, a sense of meaning and purpose, multiple supportive relationships, the ability to cross borders affording the opportunity to define self, and consistent exposure to mentors who provided her with an environment in which to thrive.;Additional longitudinal case studies are needed in order to yield a broader snapshot from which to draw conclusions regarding educational experience, impact of intervention, and social condition among the young deaf adult population.