Date of Award

Spring 4-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Second Advisor

Gabriel Lomas, PhD

Third Advisor

Nora Marrinan, EdD


This qualitative study investigated the academic, community, and family experiences of adults who are profoundly deaf. The deaf adults were categorized as high-achieving by having attended college post-high school. The intent of this study is to give teachers, parents, and other deaf students, insight into the factors responsible for contributing to the deaf adult becoming high-achieving.

This multiple case study design involved a sample of three profoundly deaf adults. Additionally, each deaf adult participant recommended one parent and one educator to participate in the study. The deaf adults, parents, and teachers each completed an individual demographic survey and participated in an individual semi-structured interview. The transcripts from the interviews were coded, to reveal underlying themes. The following five themes emerged: (a) obtaining resources, (b) acquiring communication, (c) garnering strengths, (d) determining educational placement, and (e) planning for the future.

Implications and recommendations for deaf individuals, parents, as well as educators and school systems were developed. Some of the implications from the study were: (a) If deaf individuals acquire self-advocacy skills, then they will have the ability to navigate in the hearing and deaf worlds; (b) if deaf individuals become involved in the deaf community, then they will have a stronger personal identity; and (c) if deaf individuals utilize multiple ways to acquire information, then they will enhance their academic outcomes.