Background

 


Deaf people have faced challenges in education, training, and the workplace for a long time. And they continue to experience barriers – particularly when engaging in services that rely largely on conversation, understanding and relationships. There is clear evidence of challenges when accessing and participating in education and employment which is supported by a lot of past research. But there is little research exploring the experience of Deaf people and guidance – so it is likely that not many Deaf people might not know what guidance is or have experienced it. This also means that terms such as “career”, “career planning” and “career resilience” might not be understood and may not share the same meaning as they do for the hearing world.

Guidance offer so much for Deaf people but it is important that we first set out what guidance is. Guidance is about knowing yourself in relation to work and learning; it is about having confidence with your decisions and a deep belief in yourself. It is about more than just “getting a job”. Historically, guidance was influenced by the medical model thinking, all people with a disability were considered this way. The National Rehabilitation Board (NRB) in Ireland, was the designated guidance service for people with disabilities and Deaf people (Chamberlain, 1983). However, important changes and advances in law, policy and education have resulted in significant developments in work and learning and an increasing focus on inclusion. As a result there are now new opportunities. Therefore, it is timely that we consider guidance and explore all approaches from the viewpoint of the Deaf community. “Individuals, families, and communities differ in the extent to which they are able to visualise and plan their future. It is an important role of career guidance to address such differences and inequalities.” (OECD, 2021, P. 3).