Date of Award

Fall 12-10-2014

Exit Requirement

Professional Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Department

Special Education

Committee Chair

Pamela Cancel

Committee Member

Erin Trine

Committee Member

Dr. Angela Nonaka

Abstract

This project focuses on improving the cultural competency that social workers have with Deaf clients. With few materials about the American Deaf community geared towards social workers, there may not be sufficient resources for social workers to develop the cultural competency necessary to provide the best services. It is important to understand social workers’ perspectives towards and experience with Deaf people in order to assess the need for continuing education in the field. This study asks the question, what do social workers need to know in order to work with Deaf clients and interpreters?

The initial hypothesis was that social workers in Texas would have negative to neutral attitudes towards Deaf people, as a result of their lack of contact with that population. Social workers from Texas were recruited to participate in an online anonymous survey that included the Attitudes to Deafness Scale developed by Cooper, Rose, and Mason (2004). The results of the survey showed that social workers in Texas actually have neutral to positive views of the Deaf community. While it was not possible to identify a definitive reason why this might be the case, the overwhelming majority of social workers surveyed voiced a need for more training focusing on the American Deaf community. In response to the desire for increased knowledge of this population, a learning module for social workers was produced, which allows them to earn continuing education units.