Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies & Anthropology

First Advisor

Educational Studies Faculty


How does American Sign Language influence the discovery of self and identity in Deaf adults? My thesis argues that American Sign Language is an intricate part of Deaf identity and deaf children and their families need to begin to learn American Sign Language upon discovery of hearing loss. Not only does it serve as a form of communication that is the most natural and practical, but it also serves as a cultural bond. This was an ethnographic study with interviews of pairs and individuals. I found that there was often a conflict between Deaf and hearing culture. There were also rifts between families because of a lack of communication. This paper is to draw attention to how important American Sign Language is to Deaf identity, culture, and community.


Senior thesis completed for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies & Anthropology.