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Hearing Loss and Deafness

Levels Of Hearing Loss, Sign Languages, Deafness In Relation To Language And Social Development, Education Of Deaf Children: Research Findings

About 1 in 1,000 children demonstrates hearing loss to a level considered deaf or partially hearing and in need of special educational support. Severity of hearing loss may differ in one ear compared to the other and will vary greatly for different children.

Language Assessment

Reasons for language assessment vary and become particularly crucial if a child has reached school age and has difficulties with lessons. Tests for measuring receptive and expressive language in childhood depend mainly on a tester using oral language. Thus, even a receptive language test such as the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), which requires only that a child listen to the examiner ("Show me bed") and then point to one of four pictured items on a page, depends on a child's hearing ability. The Grammatical Analysis of Elicited Language-Preschool Sentence Level (GAEL-P) (is a test that specifically analyzes the English skills of deaf and hard-of-hearing preschoolers. In the single-word vocabulary part of this test, children are asked to identify objects either by signs or by speech. Children are also asked to select objects that the tester names with signed and spoken words. The number of words the preschoolers produce and understand is a measure of their expressive and receptive vocabularies.

Testing requires decisions about why, how, and what tests to use. Marie Thompson and her colleagues suggested that reasons for assessment of deaf school-age children are: "To provide numerical scores to school districts; to identify a developmental language level and specific language targets for remediation; to measure efficacy of intervention based upon change in language behavior" (Thompson, Biro, Vethivelu, Pious, and Hatfield 1987, p. 30). These authors provide an extensive array of tests from which to choose when creating a custom-tailored battery of tests for a particular hearing-impaired school-age child.

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 4