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The experience of hearing children as they cope. with having a sibling with deafness

The experience of hearing children as they cope with having a sibling with deafness by Liezl Schreuder submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree MA in Counselling Psychology in
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The experience of hearing children as they cope with having a sibling with deafness by Liezl Schreuder submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree MA in Counselling Psychology in the Department of Psychology, University of Pretoria, Mamelodi Campus Promoter: Doctor L M Eskell-Blokland January 2006 Pretoria Acknowledgements The author wishes to acknowledge the following people, who assisted and/or contributed in some way to this work: Linda Eskell-Blokland for her supervision The research participants for their willingness to share Dr Badenhorst and Jan Viljoen for giving research space when I needed it My parents and family for their support and understanding Pieter du Toit and Annemarie Maritz for their guidance and support throughout the journey ii Declaration I declare that: The experience of hearing children as they cope with having a sibling with deafness, is my own work, that all the sources used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged by means of complete references, in accordance with departmental requirements. I have not used another student's past work to hand in as my own. I have not allowed and will not allow, anyone to copy my work with the intention of passing it off as his/her own work. Signature Notes about the text: 1. All participants in this research granted permission to present their conversations here. 2. Names of participants have not been used to protect their identities. iii SUMMARY The experience of hearing children as they cop with having a sibling with deafness By Liezl Schreuder MA in Counselling Psychology Department of Psychology, Promoter: Doctor L M Eskell-Blokland Abstract The objective of this study was to describe the experiences of hearing children as they cope with having a sibling with deafness. From a constructivist point of view, this research process is seen as socially constructing a reality or realities, with the researcher included in, rather than outside the borders of his or her own research. Semistructured and unstructured interviews were conducted with the subjects. These interviews were aimed at obtaining information regarding the subject s experience of the stressor of having a sibling with deafness. The participants reported limited family interaction. Although most siblings say that they have good relationships with their siblings with deafness, their iv primary feelings indicate that there are aspects of having a sibling with deafness that can be challenging. The participants described experiencing a variety of feelings which include the following: frustration, loneliness, anger, affection, resentment and pity. The results of this study have shown that the siblings of children with deafness, need more professional support in terms of coping with the disability and its consequences. Siblings need guidance on active coping responses in coping with the stressor of having a sibling with deafness. Key words:constructivist approach, sibling relationships, coping responses, disability, deafness and stressor. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Title page i Acknowledgements ii Declaration iii Summary iv Table of contents vi CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY 1 Outline of chapters 6 CHAPTER 2: THEORY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS 8 Introduction 8 What is constructivism? 9 The history and development of constructivism 10 What is the difference between constructivism and social constructionism? 11 Lazarus s model of stress and coping 14 Minuchin s structural family theory 16 Conclusion 17 CHAPTER 3: THE IMPACT OF DISABILITY ON THE FAMILY SYSTEM 19 vi Introduction 19 The impact of a child with a disability on the family system 19 The family system 20 The impact of a child with a disability on the family system 21 The impact of having a child with deafness on the family 23 The sibling subsystem and the impact of disability 25 Normal sibling relationships (without the presence of a disability) 26 Sibling relationships in the presence of disability 27 Exploring the positive effects which brothers or sisters with disabilities have on their siblings 30 Exploring the negative effects which brothers or sisters with disabilities have on their siblings 31 Sibling relationships in the presence of deafness 33 Conclusion 37 vii CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 39 Introduction 39 Research design 39 Research Sampling 42 Subject selection 42 Data collection strategies/procedures 45 Semi-structured and unstructured interviews 45 Transcription of the interviews 49 Data analyses: A Grounded theory strategy 50 Constructivism s implications for this study and research process 53 Ethical Considerations 54 Establishing trustworthiness 57 Conclusion 61 CHAPTER 5: RESULTS 62 Introduction 62 Primary feelings about having a sibling with deafness 63 Feelings about family interaction 67 Unequal treatment 68 Communication issues 69 Pressures and stressors in the broader social viii system 72 Knowledge about the disability 76 Conclusion 78 CHAPTER 6: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION 79 Introduction 79 Primary feelings of having a sibling with deafness 80 Family interaction 82 Unequal treatment 82 Communication issues 83 Pressures and stressors in the broader social system 84 Knowledge about the disability 86 Conclusion 86 The value of this study 87 A critique of the study 87 Suggestions for future research 88 Concluding remark 90 REFERENCES 92 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1 28 ix LIST OF APPENDICES APPENDIX A Authorization letter from authorities: Department of Education 104 APPENDIX B APPENDIX C APPENDIX D Information Brochure 107 Letter of consent 112 Semi-structured questionnaire 115 x
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