Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Carolyn S. Cooper


In the field of educating children with hearing impairments there has been a continuous debate over which is the most beneficial method of communication to use both in the classroom and in the home environment. The current debate concerns two main methods of communication through sign language, American Sign Language and Manually Coded English. The importance of the family in the decision over which sign language system to use in the child's environment has been documented throughout the research in this field. This study was designed to examine the attitudes of parents with no hearing loss who have children with a hearing loss. Attitudes are examined on the use of the two sign language systems by the child, parent, and teacher in both the home and school settings. In addition, this study investigated what factors affect a parent's decision to utilize a particular signing system.

Information from parents was gathered through the use of a survey distributed during the Parent-Infant Institute at the Illinois School for the Deaf. The surveys were grouped by the answers given to specific questions in order to accept or reject the hypotheses in this research: the degree of the child's hearing impairment and the type of the sign language system used in the home. Results from the survey indicated that the more severe a child's hearing loss, the more likely a parent was to choose American Sign Language. In addition, it was concluded that parents who use Manually Coded English want their child to utilize Manually Coded English in the educational setting while parents who use American Sign Language want their child to utilize both American Sign Language and Manually Coded English in the classroom environment. No other differences were found.