Publication Date

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Counselor Education

Abstract

This paper describes an exploratory study of a fifteen-week program of child-centered play therapy provided to four deaf children by a hearing therapist fluent in sign language. Historical and contemporary perspectives on Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL) are described, along with implications for appropriate mental health services. Discussions of the behavioral and emotional health of deaf children and child-centered play therapy provide context for the study. Methods and procedures are detailed, followed by results obtained from the Behavior Assessment System for Children, the Roberts Apperception Test for Children, and therapist observation. Overall, the results were not statistically significant, however two of the children improved on some measures, and therapist’s observations indicated that those children were progressing through the stages of play therapy at the time the study was concluded. Upon analysis of therapist-child interactions, it was concluded that the divided attention phenomenon of visual languages may impact the delivery of child-centered play therapy. Further study of the cross-cultural implications of child-centered play therapy are recommended.

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