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Carol Ashey

ENGL 391
Dr. Land
April 24, 2014
Prospectus Draft 2
Since my last prospectus draft, I have come to the conclusion that I will include my cognitive
disability as part of the Identity aspect of my thesis. This changes my thesis from the Hard of Hearing
(HH) identity to the disabled identity. Since I came to this conclusion, I am now thinking of doing more
research on cognitive disabilities in the realms of literature, education, and society. Since my full
disability range is hearing loss and cognitive disability, I already have some information on the two of
them together from the educational perspective, which I found in the source Deaf Education in the 21st
Century: Topics and Trends.
Since this disability has had more of an effect on my education than my hearing loss, I am now
interested in finding out about this in part because I was only tested for this kind of disability a couple of
years ago, and only learned I had it at that time. In short, this part of my disability is new to me, and
therefore requires more investigation. In order to gain further understanding of the identity perspective
of my thesis, I am also planning on reading and re-reading information on psychological development,
namely from my educational psychology textbook. I also plan on looking at sociolinguistics in order to
find some scholars on identity.
I have an idea for what I want to do organizationally with my thesis; my current plan is to write it
from the outside inor how education, literature, and society impact the disabled identity. The only
problem I have come across with this is that I feel like I should explain the identity part first because it is
the most important and provides the basis for everything else. All of these parts are complex and

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interrelated, which makes separating them and viewing them individually a bit of a headache to deal
with.
When I think of actually writing down all of my findings so far in each section, I think of writing
about identity first which will take up the first pages, then society, then literature, and ending with the
education. I noticed that when I put all four aspects of my thesis together, I created the acronym ISLE. I
would currently, like to talk about each aspect in the order used in the acronym, but when I really think
about it, identity will be referenced in all of them, so the order is more likely to go identity-societyidentity-literature-identity-education-identity. Because of the ISLE acronym, I thought of using that as a
possibility for my presentation, maybe using Prezi to create pictures of isles using words from each
category.
One of the questions my co-mentor asked me the last time we met was Where do you see
yourself in the future? I will definitely be explaining this in my thesis as this is where I will explain how I
will be accommodating myself in the classrooms I will be teaching in. For example, the desks will be set
up in a circle so everyone can see each other, and also, if I am writing on the board and a student asks
me a question, they will have to wait until I am facing them to ask it.
At the end of my proposal I asked two questions: 1) What is the ideal education for someone
with a hearing loss [and a cognitive disability], and 2) How are hard of hearing characters portrayed in
young adult literature? The answer varies for both. To answer the first question, it depends on the type
of hearing loss the person has (mild, moderate, severe, profound), when the loss was acquired (pre or
post lingually), and the loss impact on spoken communication and psychosocial development. I would
also add whether or not the hearing loss has been the same or has decreased over time. For instance,
my hearing loss was acquired after I had a command of the English language and has decreased over
time and my loss is different in each ear. I plan to explain in my thesis the education that I did have and

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the accommodations I did receive, but I also plan to explain the education that I should have had using
examples from all of the research I have done.
The answer to the second question varies as well. It depends on the character the author has
created, the authors own view of hearing loss, when the character lost their hearing, and the
characters own view of their hearing loss. The most prominent author is this category that I have found
in my research is Virginia M. Scott who wrote the books Belonging, and Balancing Act. In both of these
books, the main characters contract Spinal Meningitis, which is a cause of deafness. The difference,
between them is that Gustiethe main character in Belongingloses her hearing in her teens, whereas
Beth, the main character from Balancing Act, loses hers as a child, so she grew up with it.
To the best of my knowledge, Scott is the only author of fiction that I have found who has a
disability herself (she is deaf). To my knowledge, the other authors I have used as sources are all hearing
people writing about those who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. Granted, authors Brian Selznick and
Antony John did impeccable research for their novels and were successful portraying hearing loss
realistically. I do not know what Suzanne Collins views on hearing loss are, but judging by the way she
portrayed Katnisss hearing loss as a tragedy, they are not favorable.
In the patterns I have noticed so far with the literary characters who have a hearing loss, there is
always a sense of empowerment in the acceptance of their disabled identity towards the end of the
book. At first, they are often indifferent to it, and sometimes they hate it, in short they have mixed
emotions about it. Katniss is the only character who outright hates her hearing loss from the beginning
and in her case, she gets her hearing back, fully restored, due to the superior technology of the Capitol,
so she doesnt have to live with it for very long, unlike the rest of the characters I have read, who have
to live with their hearing loss for the rest of their lives.

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My own views about my hearing loss are mixed as well. Since I have lived with it for most of my
life, and its always been there, I dont usually think about it unless a situation presents itself where it is
important that I hear. There are days where I wish I had hearing like everyone else, and because my loss
has progressed over time there have been moments where I remember where a certain sound used to
be but can no longer detect it; but for the most part, Ive always had a hearing loss, and there are
probably sounds I have never heard because of it. As a whole though, I am fine with my hearing loss
because I believe that God made me to have one for a special purpose; and I will also be able to hear
fully in Heaven so that makes this burden of hearing loss easier to bear.