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Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation by…

Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation

by Marla C. Berkowitz

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My finishing of this book about deaf and hearing siblings has been a long time in coming.

I found it to hit the common themes of family isolation, need for sign language to facilitate closer relationships, and dependency on/bonds with interpreters, illustrated with anecdotes from a soft sociological study. This is a rather academic niche book, with findings that didn't particularly surprise me -- but it is well written and a well designed study, with a chatty tone that is easy to read. ( )
  pammab | Aug 3, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting book, providing insight about deaf culture, and the particular ways that plays out in the sibling relationship. Not for the casual reader, this book is best suited for those pursuing deaf studies or wanting to engage in sociological understanding of deaf/hearing family issues.
  jlhowson | Jul 22, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a Deaf person, I did not hesitate to request "Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation" from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I knew I would probably not learn anything new from this book, since I have lived the experience of Deaf/Hearing siblings -- I grew up with one sibling and was, and still am, more fortunate than most Deaf people in that both my parents and my sister sign. My parents and sibling are great. Even so, while growing up, there were still a lot of "oh, never mind, it's not that important" or "I'll tell you later what we're talking about" moments and other issues related to a family that is mixed (hearing and deaf members, rather than all-hearing or all-deaf members). This book discusses such situations as these in hopes of providing enlightment.

The purpose of this book is clearly intended to be an educational textbook, which would be useful for ASL students or Deaf Culture students or people in the fields of social work and psychology that may encounter clients with familial dynamics impacted by having a deaf member in it. While it is very academic (i.e. clarifying the differences in sign language methods such as MCE -- Manually Coded English -- or ASL -- American Sign Language), it still imparts the tone of empathy for family members involved. Sibling relationships often are complicated, and can be made more so when there are Deaf siblings as well. Not just language barriers -- but psychological issues can come in play. For instance, some parents will exacerbate certain situations such as letting the deaf child's misbehavior slide and hearing siblings notice this inconsistency in discipline. The authors acknowledges situations such as these, but solutions are not provided (other than how to improve communication) for those who might want to change their approach in their family dynamics.

Looking at this book from a sociological viewpoint, this book has a couple weaknesses. One is that ten families were studied, which seems to be a small sample size. Another weakness would be due to the authors' very understandable concern about protecting privacy. The Deaf-World is very small, and thus interview subjects probably could have been easily identified by some readers of this book. Therefore, beyond the usual changing of names which would be considered acceptable, the authors also combined several personality traits, and avoided direct conversational attributions. As a result, it sometimes got confusing about who was who. However, the purpose of this book doesn't seem to be a sociological study, but rather, to suggest that sibling relationships can most likely be enhanced by better communication methods and ensuring that a deaf sibling isn't left out in various situations.

Certainly this would be a useful textbook for the type of classes mentioned earlier. I think, though, because of the intent of this text, that "Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation" would be better off being evaluated by academics rather than on LibraryThing, where I'm guessing most readers are relative laypeople on this topic. Still, I am appreciative of this addition to the subject of Deaf Studies. ( )
1 vote ValerieAndBooks | Jan 21, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a good book to enlighten the reader about trends in deaf education, and the division between those who were born deaf and opt to get surgery to correct their deafness, and those who do not. It also discussed the great burden placed on siblings who are often the bridge between parents, society, and non deaf friends. Interestingly enough, It was written by a deaf and not deaf author, who lived far apart.
I believe awareness can bring change. Making us aware of the obstacles can facilitate an awareness in us and help remove some of the stigma of being deaf and help deaf individuals integrate into the mainstream of society. ( )
  DianneBottinelli | Jan 3, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The concept of the subject is interesting. The authors, clearly passionate about it, start with too much explanation of their "process" and methods. There is a two page "acknowledgments", a forward, preface AND an introduction. This third person consciousness continues throughout most of the book and detracts from the interesting meat of the subject.

It seems to me that there is an imbalance in this area. On one hand, many families might neglect the importance of the sibling relationship in a hearing impaired family. On the other hand, this book is a little elaborate attempt at a full blown psychoanalysis of very individual and complicated (even without disabilities present) relationship.

I wanted to enjoy it more.
  readysetgo | Dec 30, 2014 |
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"This is the first book to consider both deaf and hearing perspectives on the dynamics of adult sibling relationships. Deaf and hearing authors Berkowitz and Jonas conducted individual open-ended interviews. The book documents how the 150-year history of educational decisions and societal attitudes became imbedded in sibling bonds"--… (more)

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