Brokering of communication between deaf signing parents and healthcare professionals: The experience of young hearing people in the UK

Abigail Gee, Barry Wright, Jemina Napier, Rachael Hayes, Victoria Ackroyd , Helen Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Child language brokering (CLB) refers to the informal interpreting performed by children and young people, typically in migrant families. Due to their bilingual and bicultural status, hearing heritage signers (HHS) may mediate communication between their deaf parent(s) and hearing non-signers through a process of sign language brokering (SLB). SLB has been found to occur in varied contexts, including healthcare settings. This study aimed to explore the experiences of young HHS brokering communication between their parents and healthcare professionals using British Sign Language. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 young HHS aged 16-25 in the UK.
HHS' experiences of SLB in healthcare settings were varied, as were their attitudes, feelings and views towards SLB. Key themes were identified including: pride and pressure; insider and outsider status; conflicting roles; autonomy, dependence and independence; choice and expecta-tion; and perceptions of high or low-stakes brokering. Recommendations for healthcare provid-ers were identified including: increased awareness of deaf people’s rights and access, recogni-tion of children’s developmental needs in these contexts and the ability to sign-post HHS to appropriate support networks. Nevertheless, complex obstacles remain and additional research is required to explore this field further and to develop best practice guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunication & Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Jul 2022

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