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Family contributions in pre-school treatment of the hearing-handicapped child : an analytical survey of children in the speech and hearing clinic, Health Centre for Children, Vancouver General Hospital, 1955-59. Varwig, Renate Juliane Friederike


That deafness is more than an organic handicap requiring training and education in special schools has been increasingly recognized in recent years. Modern approaches to care for the young deaf child stress the importance of (a) early diagnosis and (b) of pre-school auditory and speech training. It is also recognized (c) that the most influential forces in the emotional and social development of the child are his experiences in his own home during the first five or six years of his life. For these reasons, in newly-developed audiology centres and speech and hearing clinics throughout Britain, the United States, and Canada, social workers take part in a multi-professional team approach to meet the differential needs of individual children and parents. The present study is developed from the operations of the Speech and Hearing Clinic of the Health Centre for Children at the Vancouver General Hospital. The case records selected for study relate to all hearing handicapped pre-school children known to the Clinic and born in 1954 or 1955. Two separate rating scales were developed to make an assessment of (a) the child's emotional and social adjustment and (b) of parental and family strengths. These are compared at the time of (1) initial evaluation, and (2) after a period of two years making it possible to examine the influences which may promote or inhibit the healthy development of the young deaf child and have a bearing on his response to treatment. This is a first exploratory study of the areas significant for the social work contributions to the treatment process. Nevertheless there are sharp evidences of correlation between social environment, especially parent-child relationships and the emotional, social, and intellectual adjustment of the hearing-handicapped child. Effectiveness of treatment seems to depend to a considerable degree on parental attitudes and feelings toward the handicapped child. Parent education and guidance, and, if necessary the modification of parental attitudes is therefore an essential component in the overall treatment process.

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