Family language planning for Deaf & hard of hearing children and their families

Grant Award: $88,315


Principal Investigator: Christi Batamula, PhD

Institution: Gallaudet University

Co-Investigators: Julie Cantrell Mitchiner, PhD, Gallaudet University, Bobbie Jo Kite, PhD, Gallaudet University,  Candace Jones, M.Ed.,  Gallaudet University


Project Summary:


This complementary mixed-methods study will answer the question: how do bilingual and multilingual families with young Deaf and Hard of Hearing children (aged 0 - 8 years old) navigate implementing multiple languages, including sign language, the majority language, and/or home languages in their daily lives through the Family Language Policy (FLP) framework?


The FLP framework explores families’ language use patterns and literacy practices in the home environment. The FLP framework examines: 1) family language ideologies, 2) family language practices, and 3) language management within the family. This research study will build on a pilot study and aims to examine the experiences of deaf and hard-of-hearing children through interviewing and collecting samples of language practices within the family. Collecting this data will expose identifying factors that influence family language beliefs and attitudes, diverse family practices in using two or more languages, and language opportunities created by the families.


The study has the potential to fill a gap in early intervention services. It has the potential to make a significant impact on families and their deaf children by making it possible to identify various factors influencing families’ language decisions, choices, and practices in using two or more languages with their Deaf/hoh children. The findings will provide families and professionals with much needed resources and information on how to navigate bilingualism with their Deaf/hoh children and to increase language and communication opportunities for their deaf and hard-of-hearing children to minimize the risks of language deprivation and delays.


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