Challenges impacting professional capacity to assess the social-emotional functioning of deaf and hard of hearing youth : a qualitative study
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The role of the practitioner assessing social-emotional functioning of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) youth is complex and requires extensive cultural, linguistic, and educational training. The range of required competencies, the insufficient number of professionals currently in practice, the dire need for service provision, and the ultimate influence of service provision on youth functioning merit deeper exploration of the challenges faced while assessing social-emotional functioning. This study employs a grounded theory approach to analyze semi-structured interview data from 13 school- and community-based professionals to explore challenges related to the assessment and conceptualization of social-emotional functioning of DHH youth. Seven key categories emerged from the data: challenges in early training and supervision, challenges in gathering sufficient background information, dual challenges in employing specialized assessment and therapy techniques, challenges in writing descriptions of youth functioning, challenges in working with interpreters, and the need for professional support. Future directions and implications for future generations of practitioners are discussed.