All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jerry Patterson

Advisory Committee Members

Mary Jean Sanspree

Rosemary Newton

George Theordore

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


This study explored teaching strategies for communication and literacy development in deaf-blind students by determining if there was a significant relationship between the instructional strategies practiced by Annie Sullivan in the early 1900s and the contemporary instructional strategies recommended by The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness to teach literacy and communication to deaf-blind students. The findings of the study identified 11 Sullivan teaching strategies that were found similar to the outcome performance indicators. This study was conducted from the Summer of 2009 to the Spring of 2010. The first phase of the study was a qualitative exploration of teaching strategies for communication and literacy instruction used by Sullivan. The strategies that were identified were developed into a checklist that was used for comparing the strategies to the Outcome Performance Indicators (OPI's). This checklist was presented to 53 project directors of deaf blind projects associated with the National Deaf-Blind Consortium to determine the extent in which Sullivan's teaching strategies align with the outcome performance indicators. The findings from this checklist were presented to two of the four authors of the literacy and communication OPI's. Each expert participated in an interview process that determined what implications the results have on the profession of deaf-blindness. The intents of this study were to utilize the OPI's as a measure of the extent in which Sullivan's practices were futuristic. The similarities between 11 Sullivan strategies and OPI's produce a clear and objective demonstration of Sullivan being a teacher who incorporated teaching strategies that were truly ahead of her time.

Included in

Education Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.