A helping hand

Deaf toddlers responding to food takings


  • Sara Goico University of California, Los Angeles




sign interaction, deaf children, ownership rights, mealtime interaction


In this article, I examine responses to the taking of food items during snack time in an early childhood education classroom with deaf toddlers (18 months to three years old) who are native signers of American Sign Language (ASL). These children have grown up with exposure to ASL from deaf family members and are attending a classroom where all individuals use ASL. Through the combined analysis of ethnographic and interactional data, I argue that the teachers’ corporeal socialization of the deaf toddlers into a visual orientation leads to their development of a social and moral understanding of ownership rights within the classroom which is displayed in the children’s social awareness, social responsiveness and self-reliance in responding to food takings.

Author Biography

  • Sara Goico, University of California, Los Angeles

    Sara A. Goico’s research focuses on the communication of deaf children who have minimal access to signed or spoken languages, utilizing a linguistic ethnographic approach that combines participant observation and video recordings of everyday interaction. She is committed to bringing academic research into conversation with social justice-oriented work to improve language and educational access for deaf children. She works as a parent–infant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing in the Los Angeles Unified School District Early Start Program, along with holding an assistant project scientist position at UCLA’s Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture.


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How to Cite

Goico, S. (2023). A helping hand: Deaf toddlers responding to food takings. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 7(2), 262-287. https://doi.org/10.1558/rcsi.23340