Higher-degree research being undertaken by Samantha Bernardo




Associate Professor David Evans

Thesis title:

An inquiry into understanding attachment and young children with hearing loss and additional/complex needs.



Project description

The aim of the study is to investigate the developing attachment relationships of young children with hearing loss and additional/complex needs with their caregivers. Young children with such needs often receive varied services to support their learning and development. A key part of any child’s development is forming secure relationships with their caregivers. This study seeks to examine how young children form attachments with their caregivers; in particular, how attachment develops between children with hearing loss and additional/complex needs and their caregivers. The study also seeks to enhance the services and educational programmes for such families. This study takes a mixed-methods approach to a multiple-case study embedded design. It utilises interviews, self-report questionnaires, documentation, and videotaped mother-child interactions and service provider-child interactions, during early childhood intervention therapy sessions, to form an in-depth understanding of how early attachment relationship unfold in this particular population.

Samantha Bernardo is an academic tutor in Special and Inclusive Education, in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. She obtained her combined degree of Bachelor of Arts (History) and Bachelor of Education (Secondary: Humanities and Social Sciences) (First Class Honours) from the University of Sydney in 2013, having commenced her doctoral studies in the same year. She fell in love with working and teaching young students with hearing loss and other needs, during a mandatory field placement as part of her undergraduate course. Consequently, she began volunteering at the organisation of the early childhood intervention centre that she is now conducting her research at. She also tutors students with special needs, and is involved in youth and social justice groups. She is now in the third year of her doctoral studies, hoping to complete her candidature sometime in the near foreseeable future...


  • 2013 Postgraduate Award

Professional and community roles:

  • Member of the Social and Educational Participation and Engagement Research Network (SEPERN)
  • Student Representative on the Office of Doctoral Studies Committee

Conference presentations