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Belonging

An Autoethnography of a Life in Sign Language

Noel O'Connell

This book weaves intensely personal and evocative stories into a layered autoethnographic text about the author’s experience of childhood deafness, sign language and education. Interwoven with the performative narrative are powerful stories of stigma, trauma, friendships, relationships, love, isolation and displacement. Using interpretative and reflective analysis, the author explores the storied experience of self and belonging in family and school contexts, providing both personal and theoretical perspectives on language and culture. He traces the pathways he has taken in pursuit of a true sense of belonging in society, community and place.

This is an important contribution to the study of sign language, deaf education, disability and deaf health and well-being. It will be of interest to professionals and practitioners working with deaf children and parents and to students and researchers within social policy, social medicine, psychology, sociology, early childhood studies and special education.

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Chapter 1: Narratives of Loss and Trauma

Extract

Chapter 1 Narratives of Loss and Trauma Spirits of the past have haunted me Until I wrote their names. Then they took flight — Averil Stedeford (cited from the poem “The Healing Pen” in Bolton 1999, p. 15) Childhood Interrupted According to Walter...

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