Deirdre Curle – Final Ph.D. Defence (SPED)

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.
Room 200, Graduate Student Centre (6371 Crescent Road), UBC Point Grey Campus


Supervisor: Dr. Janet Jamieson (ECPS, SPED)
Supervisory Committee: Dr. Marla Buchanan (ECPS, CNPS) & Dr. Brenda Poon (SPPH)
University Examiners: Dr. Ann Anderson (EDCP) & Dr. Cay Holbrook (ECPS, SPED)
External Examiner: Dr. Sandy Bowen (University of Northern Colorado)


Title: An Investigation of the Transition from Early Intervention to School for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing



The transition to school is considered an important milestone in early childhood development, with implications for later school outcomes. However, it has been largely uninvestigated for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH). The overarching goal of this dissertation was to examine the transition from specialized early intervention (EI) programs into the school system for children who are D/HH and their families.

Study 1 investigated the availability, accessibility and content of information on the transition to school for D/HH children on government, outreach program, EI program and school district websites in British Columbia (B.C.), Canada. Results indicated that the majority of these websites offer little information about the transition to school, particularly in rural areas. Limited accessibility, particularly for individuals with disabilities or with lower English literacy, was noted.

Study 2 investigated the transition from the perspective of administrators and directors from EI, outreach, and school-based programs for D/HH children. Using the enhanced critical incident technique (ECIT), 146 incidents were extracted from 10 interviews and sorted into 10 helping, nine hindering and five wish list categories. Findings highlight the importance of communication and information exchange among stakeholders to provide a smooth transition to school for D/HH children.

To further investigate the communication that occurs and the relationships that develop among stakeholders during D/HH children’s transition to school, Study 3 used Activity Theory as a framework to examine the means by which stakeholders (parents, EI providers, and TODs) communicated, and the topics that they discussed. Results add support for families’ need for information about their child’s educational program, and use of personalized, high-intensity transition practices to support children and their families through the transition process.

The overall findings of this dissertation lend support to the Ecological and Dynamic Model of Transition (Rimm-Kaufman & Pianta, 2000), which conceptualizes the transition to school as being influenced by the pattern of interactions between the individuals, groups, and institutions connected to the child. Future directions for research and practice are discussed.