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Virginia Wesleyan College
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Student Research Projects

How do Deaf and Hearing-impaired Children Adapt Language Development?

Student Toni Montella
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Education
Course INST 482: Issues in Education


There has always been a gap in adapting language between deaf and hearing students, because of the advantage that hearing students have over deaf ones, namely, the ability to hear sounds in words. If children have never heard sounds, then how are they to adapt to a spoken language that consists of phonemes and phonographs? How do deaf and hearing-impaired students experience primarily sound-based language development? To find out, I surveyed sign language interpreters, parents of hearing and deaf children, and deaf and hearing children. Overall, there is no adaptation to a sound-based language per se. Deaf and hearing-impaired children mainly adapt to a gesture-oriented overview of language that does not mirror the grammar of spoken English.

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