Becoming More Resilient through Social Media: Deaf Users of Reddit

Conference: The Paris Conference on Education (PCE2022)
Title: Becoming More Resilient through Social Media: Deaf Users of Reddit
Stream: Education & Difference: Gifted Education, Special Education, Learning Difficulties & Disability
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Rudy Pugliese, Rochester Institute of Technology, United States
Charlotte Deering, University of Oregon, United States


The deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) face many challenges when it comes to matters of health, education, and communication. A marginalized community, the DHH constitute a sub-culture. In the US, many DHH individuals are educationally mainstreamed and face difficulties in finding resources and other information about deafness, education, and accessibility services. However, many DHH individuals reject the use of assistive hearing technology and view their deafness as a cultural trait marked by the use of American Sign Language. Deaf epistemology relies heavily on personal testimonies, experiences, and accounts to document knowledge. Consequently, social media are considered legitimate sources of news, information, and knowledge. Reddit is the 17th most used website globally and the seventh most used website within the United States (Alexa, 2020). This online space provides an area for users to share news, generate content, add comments, and vote on proposals. Topics are broken into separate forums called subreddits, or “subs” that users can “join” through their account. In the midst of the pandemic, postings on the r/deaf and r/hard of hearing subreddit were analyzed during the first two months of the 2021 school year in the U.S. The present study downloaded 12,430 postings on the r/deaf and r/hard of hearing subreddit, selected a random sample, and content analyzed them. The categories included health, education, communication, technology and identity. The question “What types of information do DHH individuals need to know?” is addressed quantitatively and qualitatively.

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