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Sight and sound: The history of deaf education in Western Australia

Smith, Geoffrey M (2019) Sight and sound: The history of deaf education in Western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis looks at Deaf education in Western Australia from the late 19th century. It argues that the impact of various factors such as developments in auditory amplification and assistive technology, changing educational pedagogies and in attitudes among the Deaf community, interacted over the years to significantly influence the manner in which Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children have been educated in Western Australia. The concept of audism will be discussed which, while evident throughout much of the educational period under consideration, tended to be of a positive nature, with the aim of achieving academic, communicative and social competence to enable successful post-school life in a hearing world by D/HH students.

In Western Australia, most D/HH education has revolved around the WA School for Deaf Children. From its beginning, the school embraced the combination method with the aim of developing communicative competence in its students. In 1967, the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre was established also having a significant place in the history of Deaf education in Western Australia. Although taking a different approach to the educational instruction of D/HH children, TSH demonstrated an equal commitment to high educational outcomes for its students. By the 1980s, accepted pedagogy in terms of the education of the D/HH saw many students mainstreamed, with the resulting downsizing of residential institutions. The process of mainstreaming along with rapidly developing amplification technology and parental expectations required a reappraisal of the manner in which D/HH children were taught.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences
Supervisor(s): Sturma, Michael
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