Arming Parents with Children who are Deaf in Zimbabwe: Key Ammunition in Care and Education

Phillipa Mutswanga


Hearing parents with deaf children who participated in this study likened the discovery of their children’s congenital hearing loss to a war without weapons. The study took its focus against the informally shared experiences. Additionally, a dearth of knowledge from other studies on the topic from a Zimbabwe context also prompted this study. The stories of four pairs of parents’ parenting experiences with congenitally deaf children were qualitatively analysed using the thematic analysis. The terms deaf and hearing impairment are used interchangeably as hearing loss ranges from mild (hard of hearing) to profound. The phenomenological design was applied to the study because of its naturalistic principles. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with six participants and two narratives of parents with deaf children were used. Observations were an ongoing process which gave insights into other areas needing further clarity or probes. The findings were thus triangulated. Patterns of blame shifting tendencies; misunderstanding and misconceptions emerged from the study. Other common indicators were that most parents faced milestones in caring and educating their congenitally deaf children. Other emerging themes included: lack of parental support; victims of ignorance and bitterness; genetic impacts as root causes; isolation; absence of interventions. Counselling, education and parental support were identified as care giving ammunitions. Participants further expressed lessons learnt from the lived experiences. The discovery of a child’s impairment exuded patterns of milestone implying that parents went through various critical processes and stages before they came to terms with the conditions and that confirms the need lack of parental support throughout the child’s developmental stages. Against this background the study explored the experiences of parents in caring and educating children with congenital hearing loss with a view to army and pre-army parents to be with possible care giving and educational ammunition.

Keywords: arming parents, deaf children, care and education, ammunition, Zimbabwe.


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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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