Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2021

Document Type


First Advisor

Kristen Harmon

Second Advisor

Julie Mitchiner


Language deprivation is a serious issue in deaf education and in the deaf community. Language deprivation occurs when the child is not exposed to an accessible language within their formative years, which is from birth to five years old. In this Capstone project, real-life experiences of language deprivation specifically on the lack of access to ASL were explored by collected interviews from four adults that were converted into creative nonfiction stories in a biographical style. This project focuses on the effects of ASL deprivation, as opposed to English and any other language. The stories portrayed how different the participants’ experiences of ASL deprivation were from each other. All of them are deaf and hard of hearing people who acquired American Sign Language at varying times well after their formative years. The stories highlighted the participants’ regrets, struggles, or impacts they’ve experienced as a result. The four stories have their own perspective to provide for ASL deprivation, and they showed how it can come from all kinds of things, not just one’s parents. Even locations and communities can deprive a child, due to a lack of resources. Ultimately, the stories serve as a reminder that people who have gone or are going through ASL deprivation are not alone and that what they are experiencing is not normal and they shouldn’t give up on themselves. There are many references regarding ASL deprivation, but most of them are research-based and designed for higher education. Sharing stories is a popular way of raising awareness, and this work has the potential to be a resource for schools and organizations.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.