‘Were the Fathers Available?’: An Evaulation of Fathers’ Involvement in Emergency Remote Eeducation of Learners who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing





Fathers’ involvement, remote education, learners who are Deaf and Hard of hearing, COVID-19, sign language


Prior to the emergence of the coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19), studies revealed lower involvement of fathers in the education of learners who are Deaf and Hard of hearing (LDHH). Although research evidence reveals that work structure and other commitments may be responsible for fathers’ limited involvement in the education of their children, there is limited research evidence in existence on the involvement of fathers of LDHH in remote education during the COVID-19 lockdowns. This study therefore explored fathers’ involvement in the remote education of their LDHH, based on the mothers’ perceptions. Hinged on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, two research questions were raised and answered in the study. Eight mothers of LDHH from KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa participated in this qualitative study. Data was gathered via a semi-structured telephonic interview, and the collected data was analysed thematically. The findings revealed that: (i) the involvement of fathers in the remote education of LDHH saw a fair increase during the lockdowns when compared to the pre-COVID-19 era; (ii) father-child communication competencies (especially in terms of sign language), the fathers’ ability to provide the technical devices needed for remote education, and their ability to intervene promptly during technical difficulties were factors that influenced the perceptions of the fathers’ involvement in the remote education of LDHH during the lockdowns. Based on the findings, appropriate recommendations were made for policy and practice.


Adebiyi, B. O., Roman, N. V., Chinyakata, R., & Balogun, T. V. (2021). The negative impacts of COVID-19 containment measures on South African families-Overview and recommendations. The Open Public Health Journal, 14(1), 233-238. https://doi.org/10.2174/1874944502114010233.

Adibsereshki, N., Hatamizadeh, N., Sajedi, F., & Kazemnejad, A. (2019). The effectiveness of a resilience intervention program on emotional intelligence of adolescent students with hearing loss. Children, 6(3), 48. https://doi.org/10.3390/children6030048

Adigun, O. T. (2017). Effects of computer-assisted instruction and concept mapping on the academic achievement of students with hearing impairment in Ecology in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Journal of Issues and Practice in Education, 9(1),123-146. Available at https://journals.out.ac.tz/index.php/jipe/article/view/752

Adigun, O. T. (2019). Burnout and sign language interpreters in Africa. Journal of Gender, Information and Development in Africa, 8(3), 91-109. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31920/2050-4284/2019/8n3a5

Adigun, O. T. (2020). Perceived quality of life of adolescents who stutter: Does self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, parental socio-economic status and social support play a role? Gender & Behaviour, 18(2), 15874-15883.


Adigun, O. T. (2020). Self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-concept and intimate image diffusion among Deaf adolescents: A structural equation model analysis. Heliyon, 6, e04742; 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04742

Adigun, O. T. (2022). Experiences of emergency remote teaching via Zoom: The case of natural sciences teachers handling deaf/hard of hearing learners in South Africa. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 21(2), 176-194. 2 https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.21.2.10

Adigun, O. T., & Ajayi, E. O. (2015). Teacher’s perception of the writing skills of deaf/hard of hearing students in Oyo State, Nigeria. International Journal of Educational Foundation and Management, 9(1), 212-222. Available at www.ijefameducation.com

Adigun, O. T., & Iheme, U. M. (2020). Mathematics anxiety among deaf learners: An analysis of predictive factors. The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, 28(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7971/CGP/v28i01/1-13

Adigun, O. T., & Nzima, D. R. (2020). Digitalized vs. interpreted biology instructions for deaf learners: Implication for a technosociety. Journal of Education and Social Research,10(5), 265-272. https://doi.org/10.36941/jesr-2020-0104

Adigun, O. T., Vivekanantharasa, R., & Obosu, G. K. (2021). The deaf or hard of hearing population’s attitude and information seeking behaviour towards COVID-19 in South Africa. Journal of Human Ecology, 75(1-3), 16-26. https://doi.org/10.31901/24566608.2021/75.1-3.3326

Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179-211.

Akellot, J., & Bangirana, P. (2019). Association between parental involvement and academic achievement of deaf children at Mulago School for the Deaf, Kampala, Uganda. African Health Sciences, 19(2), 2270-2281. https://doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v19i2.53

Alghazo, Y. (2013). The theory of planned behavior and parental involvement: A theoretical framework for narrowing the achievement gaps. International Journal of Science and Research, 5(4), 570-572.

Alqraini, F. M., & Alasim, K. N. (2021). Distance education for d/deaf and hard of hearing students during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and support. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 117, 104059. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2021.104059

Alshawabkeh, A. A., Woolsey, M. L., & Kharbat, F. F. (2021). Using online information technology for deaf students during COVID-19: A closer look from experience. Heliyon, 7(5), e06915. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06915

Asril, N. M., Mahayanti, N. W. S., Tirtayani, L. A., Adnyani, K. E. K., Astawan, I. G., & Arthana, I. K. R. (2021). Fatherhood & children’s remote learning during Covid-19 pandemic. In 2nd International Conference on Technology and Educational Science (ICTES 2020) (pp. 60-65). Atlantis Press.

Ayas, M., Al Amadi, A. M. H. A., Khaled, D., & Alwaa, A. M. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on the access to hearing health care services for children with cochlear implants: a survey of parents. F1000Research, 9. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.24915.1

Cacioppo, M., Bouvier, S., Bailly, R., Houx, L., Lempereur, M., Mensah-Gourmel, J., ... & ECHO Group. (2021). Emerging health challenges for children with physical disabilities and their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic: The ECHO French survey. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 64(3), 101429.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Descriptive statistics. Research Methods in Education Seventh Edition. Routledge, 35, 622-640.

Crespi, I., & Ruspini, E. (2015). Transition to fatherhood: New perspectives in the global context of changing men's identities. International Review of Sociology, 25(3), 353-358. https://doi.org/10.1080/03906701.2015.1078529

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Mapping the field of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 3(2), 95-108. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689808330883

Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2016). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage.

DesJardin, J. L., & Eisenberg, L. S. (2007). Maternal contributions: supporting language development in young children with cochlear implants. Ear Hear, 28, 456–469. https://doi.org/10.1097/AUD.0b013e31806dc1ab

Fischer, J., & Anderson, V. (2012). Gender role attitudes and characteristics of stay-at-home and employed fathers. Psychology of Men & Masculinity 13, 16–31. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024359

Flippin, M., & Watson, L. R. (2015). Fathers’ and mothers’ verbal responsiveness and the language skills of young children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 24(3), 400-410. https://doi.org/10.1044/2015_AJSLP-13-0138

Flouri, E. (2005). Fathering and child outcomes. John Wiley & Sons.

Galpin, J., Barratt, P., Ashcroft, E., Greathead, S., Kenny, L., & Pellicano, E. (2018). “The dots just don’t join up”: Understanding the support needs of families of children on the autism spectrum. Autism, 22(5), 571-584. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361316687989

Goggin, G., & Ellis, K. (2020). Disability, communication, and life itself in the COVID-19 pandemic. Health Sociology Review, 29(2), 168-176. https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2020.1784020

Graig, F., Operto, F. F., De Giacomo, A., Margari, L., Frolli, A., Conson, M., ... & Margari, F. (2016). Parenting stress among parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Psychiatry Research, 242, 121-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2016.05.016

Green, J. K., Burrow, M. S., & Carvalho, L. (2020). Designing for transition: supporting teachers and students cope with emergency remote education. Postdigital Science and Education, 2(3), 906-922. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-020-00185-6

Hallahan, D. P., & Kaufman, J. M. (2006). Exceptional learners: Introduction to special education. (10th Ed.). Allyn & Bacon.

Hernawati, N., & Herawati, T. (2020). Differences in father and mother involvement and the factors that influence it on early childhood education. SEA-CECCEP, 1(01): 17-31. http://seameo-ceccep.org/journal/index.php/eccep/article/view/7

Hrastinski, I., & Wilbur, R. B. (2016). Academic achievement of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in an ASL/English bilingual program. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 21(2), 156-170. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/env072

Hyland, P., Shevlin, M., McBride, O., Murphy, J., Karatzias, T., Bentall, R. P., ... & Vallières, F. (2020). Anxiety and depression in the Republic of Ireland during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 142(3), 249-256. https://doi.org/10.1111/acps.13219

Ingber, S., & Most, T. (2012). Fathers’ involvement in preschool programs for children with and without hearing loss. American Annals of the Deaf, 157(3), 276-288. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26234842

Johnson, P., Cawthon, S., Fink, B., Wendel, E., & Schoffstall, S. (2018). Trauma and resilience among deaf individuals. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 23(4), 317-330. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/eny024

Karahan, S. , Yıldırım Parlak, Ş. , Demiröz, K. , Kaya, M., & Kayhan, N. (2021). Experiences of the mothers to cope with the problem behaviors of the children with special needs during coronavirus (COVID-19) process. Eğitimde Nitel Araştırmalar Dergisi, 9(1), 76-101.

Konstantareas, M., & Homatidis, S. (1992). Mothers’ and fathers’ self-report of involvement with autistic, intellectually delayed and normal children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 153–164. https://www.jstor.org/stable/353283

Kritzer, K. L., & Smith, C. E. (2020). Educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students during COVID-19: What parents need to know. The Hearing Journal, 73(8), 32. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.hj.0000695836.90893.20

Lara, L., & Saracostti, M. (2019). Effect of parental involvement on children’s academic achievement in Chile. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1464. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01464

Lewis, C., & Lamb, M. E. (2003). Fathers’ influences on children’s development: The evidence from two-parent families. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 18(2), 211-228. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03173485

Masten, A. S. (2014). Global perspectives on resilience in children and youth. Child development, 85(1), 6-20.

Mavrogianni, T., & Lampropoulou, V. (2020). The involvement of fathers with their deaf children. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 67(1), 45-57. https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912X.2018.1551520

Mbazzi, F. B., Nalugya, R., Kawesa, E., Nimusiima, C., King, R., Van Hove, G., & Seeley, J. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 measures on children with disabilities and their families in Uganda. Disability & Society, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2020.1867075

Musyoka, M. M. & Smith, Z. Y. (2021). Mainstreamed Deaf/HH Students' Online Learning in K-12: Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions. In T. Fudge & S. Ferebee (Eds.), Curriculum Development and Online Instruction for the 21st Century (pp. 69-89). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-7653-3.ch005

Olawale, B.E., Mutongoza, B.H., Adu, E., & Omodan, B.I. (2021). COVID-19 induced psychosocial challenges in South African higher education: Experiences of staff and students at two rural universities. Research in Social Sciences and Technology, 6(3), 179- 193. https://doi.org/10.46303/ressat.2021.37

Ortiz, K. R., Rice, M. F., Curry, T., Mellard, D., & Kennedy, K. (2021). Parent perceptions of online school support for children with disabilities. American Journal of Distance Education, 35(4), 276-292. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2021.1979343

Oyewumi, A. M., Isaiah, O. O., & Adigun, O. T. (2015). Influence of social networking on the psychological adjustment of LDHH in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Net Journal of Social Sciences, 3(1), 17-24.www.netjournal.org/pdf/NJSS/2015/1/15-015.pdf

Pacheco, L. F., Noll, M., & Mendonça, C. R. (2020). Challenges in teaching human anatomy to students with intellectual disabilities during the Covid‐19 pandemic. Anatomical Sciences Education, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1002/ase.1991.

Pancsofar, N., Vernon-Feagans, L., Odom, E. C., & Family Life Project Investigators. (2013). Work characteristics and fathers’ vocabulary to infants in African American families. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34(2), 73-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2012.11.005

Pataki, K. W., Metz, A. E., & Pakulski, L. (2014). The effect of thematically related play on engagement in storybook reading in children with hearing loss. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 14(2), 240-264. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468798413480516

Patton, S. R. (2019). Parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of parental involvement. Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 7419. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/dissertations/7419

Plant, K. M., & Sanders, M. R. (2007). Predictors of care‐giver stress in families of preschool‐aged children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 51(2), 109-124. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006.00829.x

Pleck, J. H., & Masciadrelli, B. P. (2004). Paternal involvement by U.S. residential fathers: Levels, sources, and consequences. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 222–271). John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Radovanović, V., Šestić, M. R., Kovačević, J., & Dimoski, S. (2020). Factors related to personal resiliency in deaf and hard-of-hearing adolescents. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 25(4), 430-437. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enaa012

Ricci, L. A., & Hodapp, R. M. (2003). Fathers of children with Down’s syndrome versus other type of intellectual disability: Perceptions, stress, and involvement. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47, 273–284. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2788.2003.00489.x

Rice, M. (2017). Describing K-12 online teachers’ online professional development opportunities for students with disabilities. Online Learning Journal, 21(4). https://www.learntechlib.org/p/183765/

Rice, M. F. & Ortiz, K. R. (2021). Parents’ use of technological literacies to support their children with disabilities in online learning environments. Online Learning, 25(3), 208-229. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i3.2407

Rice, M.F. (2015). Rhetorical constructions of parents by online learning companies: A study of parent testimonials. Exploring Pedagogies for Diverse Learners Online (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 25) (pp. 121-141) Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-368720150000027006

Roggman, L. A. (2004). Do fathers just want to have fun? Human Development, 47(4), 228-236. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26763805

Rush, M. (2015). Theorising fatherhood, welfare and the decline of patriarchy in Japan. International Review of Sociology, 25(3), 403-414. https://doi.org/10.1080/03906701.2015.1078528

Sarimski, K. (2017). Behaviour problems in preschool children with Down syndrome: Results from the Heidelberg Down syndrome study. Zeitschrift fur Kinder-und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie, 46(3), 194-205. https://doi.org/10.1024/1422-4917/a000523

Sato, N., & Araki, A. (2021). Fathers’ involvement in rearing children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. Journal of Family Nursing, 1–12, https://doi.org/10.1177/10748407211037345

Sevinc, S., & Senkal, O. A. (2021). Parent participation in early intervention/early childhood hearing impairment program. Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice, 24(2), 254. https://doi.org/10.4103/njcp.njcp_139_20

Smith, S., Ortiz, K., Rice, M., & Mellard, D. F. (2017). Parents’ perceptions of special education service delivery when their children move to fully online learning. Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities, University of Kansas.

Spencer, P. E., & Meadow‐Orlans, K. P. (1996). Play, language, and maternal responsiveness: A longitudinal study of deaf and hearing infants. Child Development, 67(6), 3176-3191. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01908.x

Tlili, A., Amelina, N., Burgos, D., Othman, A., Huang, R., Jemni, M., ... & Chang, T. W. (2021). Remote special education during crisis: COVID-19 as a case study. In Burgos D., Tlili A., Tabacco A. (eds. ) Radical Solutions for Education in a Crisis Context (pp. 69-83). Lecture Notes in Educational Technology. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7869-4_5

Yazcayir, G., & Gurgur, H. (2021). Students with special needs in digital classrooms during

the COVID-19 Pandemic in Turkey. Pedagogical Research, 6(1), em0088. https://doi.org/10.29333/pr/9356

Zaidman-Zait, A., Most, T., Tarrasch, R., & Haddad, E. (2018). Mothers’ and fathers’ involvement in intervention programs for deaf and hard of hearing children. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40(11), 1301-1309. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2017.1297491





Section II