Lexical and grammatical abilities in deaf Italian preschoolers: the role of duration in formal language experience

Año: 2009
Editorial: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Vol. 14, Nº 1 (2009) pp. 63–75
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación, Educación » Adquisición y desarrollo del lenguaje


We evaluated language development in deaf Italian preschoolers with hearing parents, taking into account the duration of formal language experience (i.e., the time elapsed since wearing a hearing aid and beginning language education) and different methods of language education. Twenty deaf children were matched with 20 hearing children for age and with another 20 hearing children for duration of experience. Deaf children showed a significant delay in both vocabulary and grammar when compared to same-age hearing children yet a similar development compared to hearing children matched for duration of formal language experience. The delay in linguistic development could be attributable to shorter formal language experience and not to deafness itself. Deaf children exposed to spoken language accompanied by signs tended to understand and produce more words than children exposed only to spoken language. We suggest that deaf children be evaluated based on their linguistic experience and cognitive and communicative potential.