Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Heather Bortfeld

Associate Advisor

Letitia Naigles

Associate Advisor

James Green

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Shared intentionality, or the ability of people to focus on an event of interest is an important developmental process that has been studied extensively in hearing children (Bakeman & Adamson, 2004) and children with ASD (Mundy, 1995). However, only a handful of studies exist that document shared intentionality in deaf children of hearing parents, a population which is subject to decreased performance on socio-cognitive measures of development compared to hearing children of hearing parents. The present study hypothesized that Hd dyads would have shorter mean lengths of interaction than Hh dyads, that group differences in proportion of time spent in a state would exist only in the unengaged and coordinated joint engagement states, and that Hh dyads would demonstrate age-typical patterns of engagement state production while Hd would show delays. None of these hypotheses were supported. However, Hd dyads spent a greater proportion of time in the onlooking state than Hh dyads, which may suggest that deaf children are taking advantage of the visual learning possibilities in this state. Hh dyads spent a greater proportion of time in language engagement than Hd dyads, which could indicate that hearing mothers are aware of deaf children’s communication mismatch and accommodate by interacting differently with their children. Finally, Hd and Hh displayed differences in which state measures correlated with other state measures, suggesting some subtle differences that were not accounted for in the author’s coding scheme. Further research is needed to elucidate the role that sensory modality and ASL exposure play in the display of joint engagement in deaf children of hearing parents, as well as to characterize associated socio-cultural variables.