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Book Reviews: Considerations When Counselling Deaf Clients

Dee Dee (Diana) Kay MC., C.I., C.T. & Lynn Ashley Davis Ph.D., R. Psych.
H.O.P.E. Incorporated Calgary, Alberta
ISBN 0-9813625


Review by Tami Ali

Although this book was written with psychological counselling professionals in mind, it is easily adapted to career counsellors. It is designed for professionals who are unfamiliar with the Deaf community or culture. It gives great insight into how Deaf people view themselves.

There is a two part application to this material:

a) how to interact with a Deaf client, and

b) how a career practitioner can assist potential employers who could hire a Deaf person.

Deaf people are quite adapted to the hearing world already through school, family and friends so seldom need direction in this respect, but they do need information provided visually and clearly – written, interpreted or spoken (for those who lip read). The key here is clarity and comprehension.

On your client’s behalf, it would be helpful to teach possible employers and co-workers the minimal adjustment requirements along with a few other points from this book. The sections on technology and hiring Sign Language interpreters will support employers when they hire a Deaf employee. Employers may be surprised at the quantity and quality of work many Deaf employees accomplish since they are not distracted by idle chatting or auditory interruptions.

My favourite part of this book is how it shows Deaf people can be more than capable with a bit of fine-tuning to our thinking!

Tami Ali is the President of Best Foot Forward Consulting Inc. and has 25+ years experience in Human Resources. As a former VP of Operations and Managing Partner of a Calgary-based international recruitment firm, she specializes in recruitment, administration and training for local and foreign clients. She also has worked as a sign language interpreter and as a life skills coach at the Morley Reserve.


Review by Jaz Bruhn


“The intent of this manual is to provide counsellors with a document which will enhance interactions between themselves and d/Deaf clients.” It includes an informational DVD.


I would first like to say that this is a great little resource. It is a must-read for counsellors and will be beneficial to everyone.


I found each and every chapter very readable and was able to do a quick read-through in about one hour. I then reread it more carefully and appreciated all the useful information. It is less than eighty pages from cover-to-cover and packed with “a plethora of information to facilitate counsellors understanding”.


It left me wanting to do a little more research on my own as the manual itself does not provide a whole lot of detail. This is not a criticism but more a praise of the manual. Too often manuals are either too technical or too lengthy.  As the authors state in their Introduction, “The manual is not exhaustive; however, it contains current relevant information which will enable a counsellor to initiate the therapeutic process through a culturally infused approach.”


The one note that I would like to make is that I would have liked to see the book sold on its own with the DVD offered separately. Not because it was not a great DVD but more for cost effectiveness and ease of shipping.


Jaz Bruhn is the Conference Planning Associate at CERIC and works on the CANNEXUS – National Career Development Conference project. He holds a B.A. with specialized honours (Linguistics) and a M.A. (English) both from York University.




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