Emancipation Processes in the Ugandan Deaf Community
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Deaf Life Story Work blog

Deaf Life Story Work (DLSW) is a new evidence-based approach for enhancing deaf wellbeing through the cultural practice of life story telling. It was developed during Dr Goedele De Clerck’s 2015-2017 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship  (EU Horizon 2020) at the University of Manchesters Social Research with Deaf People (SORD) group. The project was titled Deaf life narratives in times of transition: Towards a cross-cultural instrument for life story telling. 

DLSW supports deaf adults and young people to develop a coherent life story, enabling them to gain a better understanding of their lives. Being able to integrate past experiences with present challenges generates the strength and confidence that are needed for agency in future perspectives. This technique also coaches them to strengthen their deaf identity and increase their active participation in various communities. Being trauma-informed and therapeutic, DLSW contributes to positive experiences of change and empowerment. It draws on the strengths of signed storytelling and exploits the visual orientation and neurobiology of deaf signers, as well as visual methods such as working with pictures, videos, and artwork.

Therapeutic life story work is a well-established intervention in the UK and internationally, and is tailored to specific target groups, such adoptees and young people in foster care. Life story telling is also used in therapy and coaching for adults dealing with life transitions such as migration. DSLW aims to make available therapies and strategies that enable deaf people to develop resilience and self-esteem.

An ESRC (Econonic and Social Research Council) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) grant titled The right of each young deaf person and deaf adult to tell his/her life story generously supported the dissemination of Dr De Clerck’s project through a workshop, videos, and a manual.

See here for an overview of the project:

This blog aims to provide updates on the developments related to this exciting new intervention.