Risk and Resilience for Social Competence: Deaf Students in General Education Classrooms

  • Shirin D. Antia
  • Susanne Reed
  • Linda Shaw


Increasing numbers of deaf students receive most of their education in general education classrooms. These students may not have easy access to peers and adults with whom they can communicate; consequently professionals have expressed fears that these students will be socially isolated and lack opportunities to develop the social competence necessary for success. We briefly review the available literature on social competence of deaf students in general education classrooms, paying particular attention to student-related, school-related, and family-related factors that influence risk and resiliency. Student-related risk factors include the presence of a hearing loss (however mild) and lack of social maturity due to age; resilience factors include an outgoing personality, good communication skills, and the ability to self-advocate. School-related risk factors include school transitions (e.g., from elementary to middle school); resilience factors include opportunities to work collaboratively and become familiar with hearing peers; access to extra-curricular activities; and stable, continuing services from teachers of the deaf. Family-related risk factors include lack of resources; resilience factors include parental communication with school personnel and social coaching by parents. Case studies of three deaf students are provided to illustrate the effects of risk and resilience factors. Although there continue to be gaps in our knowledge of the social competence of deaf students in general education classrooms, the current literature indicates that these students are not necessarily lonely or isolated. However, additional research on how to minimize risk and increase resilience is needed.


Hearing Loss Sign Language Social Outcome American Sign Language Deaf Child 
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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shirin D. Antia
    • 1
  • Susanne Reed
  • Linda Shaw
  1. 1.Department of Disability and Psychoeducational StudiesUniversity of Arizona – TucsonTucsonUSA

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