Language Development in Deaf Children

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  • Children with limited hearing ability have historically faced significant challenges acquiring language. Because, until late in the 20th century, identification of limited hearing rarely occurred before age 2, even in the United States and other industrialized countries, language and language-related achievement levels remained at only about half that of typically developing hearing children. Academic, especially literacy, achievements remained similarly low. Reports of social isolation and increased risk for social-emotional problems were common. There is considerable individual variation in abilities and achievements, however, and early identification and intervention efforts significantly increase developmental rates. Under optimal conditions, greater proportions of deaf and hard-of-hearing children demonstrate patterns of language development similar to that of hearing children.

    The age at which limited hearing occurs strongly influences language development. Children born ...

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