Validation of the Fatigue in Educational Contexts (FEC) Survey for Deaf Students

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Grant award: $100,000

Principal Investigator:
Name: Natalia Rohatyn-Martin, PhD
Institution: MacEwan University

Name: Denyse Hayward, PhD 
Institution: University of Alberta

Name: Lynn McQuarrie, PhD 
Institution: University of Alberta

Name: Linda Cundy, MEd 
Institution: University of Alberta

Name: Stephan Rohatyn, MEd 
Institution: Ball State University, USA

Fatigue is a phenomenon that is experienced when mental or physical alertness is required for extended periods of time. Unlike the hearing population, fatigue is more frequently experienced by individuals who are Deaf. Students who are Deaf experience fatigue daily because of the necessity for constant and ongoing physical, social-emotional, or mental effort to listen and watch both their teacher and an interpreter, to speech/lip read with peers, or attend to classroom instruction through an amplification device. The cumulative effects of such experiences lead to poorer quality of life outcomes for Deaf students, including limiting educational and vocational choices, increased mental health concerns, and negative impacts on family and friend relationships.

Currently, there are no measures of fatigue that are inclusive and representative of the diverse population of Deaf students in schools. Through our research, we aim to explore the perceptions and experiences of fatigue for Deaf students with the goal of providing an inclusive assessment tool, the newly created Fatigue in Educational Contexts (FEC), that will increase awareness of fatigue contributors and in turn help to mitigate negative life outcomes. The FEC was derived from the experiences of individuals who are Deaf, parents of Deaf individuals, and professional educators, to create a more inclusive, valid, and reliable measure for this population. During this funding cycle we will validate the FEC for use across Canada and the United States.