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Deafness & Education International

Wiley Online Library : Deafness & Education International

Published: 2009-12-01T00:00:00-05:00




Phonological awareness and decoding skills in deaf adolescents


This study investigated the phonological awareness skills of a group of deaf adolescents and how these skills correlated with decoding skills (single word and non-word reading) and receptive vocabulary.Twenty, congenitally profoundly deaf adolescents with at least average nonverbal cognitive skills were tested on a range of phonological awareness tasks, and a non-word and real-word reading task, and their speech intelligibility was rated. Scores on a receptive vocabulary measure were gathered from existing records. All participants met an inclusion criterion of scoring within one standard deviation of the mean on a non-verbal reasoning task.As a group, compared to the hearing standardisation samples, the participants' single-word reading fell within the normal range; their non-word reading skills were significantly stronger and their phonological awareness skills and receptive vocabulary were significantly weaker. The participants' phonological awareness skills were relatively stronger at the level of the phoneme than the rhyme. Correlations between single word and non-word reading and phonological awareness skills were significant. Taking receptive vocabulary as a covariate, the association between word reading and phonological awareness was reduced but remained significant, but the association between non-word reading and phonological awareness became non-significant.The participants had developed good grapheme-phoneme knowledge in spite of relatively weak phonological awareness skills. This study is not able to inform whether this has occurred because only a minimal level of phonological awareness is necessary for grapheme-phoneme skills to develop or whether the process of learning to read has led to the development of grapheme-phoneme and phonological awareness skills, but ideas for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Early print concepts: insights from work with young deaf children


The notion that young children form and test hypotheses about early print is well established in relation to children from different cultures who use different languages. This study demonstrates that this also obtains for young deaf children still in the early stages of developing spoken language. Data collected from the homes of 13 deaf children (aged from 3 years 3 months to 4 years 4 months at the start of the study) over a two-year period showed hypothesising and experimenting around writing. Spontaneous drawing and writing samples were collected and a method of eliciting data was devised that did not rely on the children knowing vocabulary related to print (e.g. ‘word’ or ‘sentence’). The data revealed that these children had internalised print concepts but this knowledge could easily be overlooked. Implications for educational settings are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Sex and relationships education: potential and challenges perceived by teachers of the deaf


Providing children who are deaf with accessible, age-appropriate guidance and support in learning about growing up is of great importance for their healthy sexual development. This quantitative survey study is part of an exploratory research program with the goal of providing empirical data on the growth of sexual understanding in deaf children (the term ‘deaf’ includes all children with a permanent hearing loss). A short questionnaire was used to explore the views of teachers of the deaf on this subject as well as to provide an insight into the challenges these professionals face in the area of sex education. The study's findings highlight an overall concern over the suitability of current methods and materials often used to teach mainstreamed deaf children about sexuality and relationships. The data show a demand for a sex education module for teachers of the deaf and a need for deaf-friendly sex education material. The study's findings could support schools' efforts to implement a sex and relationships education policy that is inclusive and beneficial for all children, but especially for deaf children's development into confident, responsible and well-informed young adults. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Two cultures, one programme: Deaf Professors as subaltern?


Deaf instructors of American Sign Language have taught ASL in formal institutions of higher learning for several decades now, yet little is known of the challenges they face within those contexts. In this study, interviews with instructors of five ASL — English Interpreter Programs (AEIP) and four Deaf Studies Programs (DSP) in Canada identified a number of common themes in particular to the intersection of culture, power, and identity. Within a post-colonial framework differences were found in the discursive practices of the participants as Deaf or non-Deaf individuals. Evidence of systemic audism experienced by the Deaf staff was noted at a number of levels, perhaps due to the existence of a ‘Grand Narrative of Hearing’ and a process of ‘Worlding’ based on the ideology of the hearing majority. As a result perhaps some of the Deaf instructors were ascribed or adopted the role of subaltern, where they should have instead experienced substantial social capital. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.