"They should know they have Usher syndrome around here": College students who are deafblind

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Douglas Biklen


Usher syndrome, College students, Deafblind

Subject Categories

Education | Special Education and Teaching


This study examines the experiences of college students who are deafblind. A growing number of students who are deafblind attend college. A literature base has emerged about college students who are deafblind, yet little research has been conducted about the experiences of these students from their perspective. Utilizing qualitative methods to meet and interview eleven students who are deafblind in one college setting, the researcher conducted interviews in sign language, spoken English, or a combination of sign and speech based on student preference. Interviews were videotaped and reviewed by the researcher, who is trained as a sign language interpreter. Written transcriptions were produced in English.

The purpose was to understand what students report about their experiences, what is important to them, and what it means to be a college student who is deafblind. What emerged were student concerns about identity, social relationships, and how to navigate the college setting and the service agencies they encountered. The intersection of lived experience as deafblind and socially constructed ideas about disability was clear. This provided an entry point for exploring ideology in the fields of deafblindness and disability studies.


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