The UK has about 44,000 children with permanent hearing issues (CRIDE 2012), with over 90% being from hearing families. About two thirds of these children primarily use spoken language despite about 25% having severe to profound hearing issues that impacts their access to hearing and speech.
Accessing Phonics With Hearing Devices
Using hearing-aids and cochlear implants, “deaf children seem to follow essentially the same route to reading as hearing children. This is especially true of oral deaf children… who predominately use spoken rather than sign language” according to a new survey from City University, London (UK).
Research Study: Reading, Dyslexia And Oral Deaf Children
Note: the children in this survey are aged 10 and 11, ahead of the cohort aged 8 and under, who will have had newborn hearing tests (in the UK since March 2006). Consequently the children profiled may not have accessed essential factors for positive reading ability:
- newborn hearing tests (time to learn language before preschool)
- regular wear of digital hearing-devices from as early as viable
- sustained parent and family conversational interactions
Headlines About ‘Failing’
What’s notable, is the headlines about education systems ‘failing’ children who are deaf. With sustained early intervention, as cited in the bullet points above, future reading outcomes may be very different to today’s figures.
Read: Education system failing deaf children – survey
More positively, the researchers observed:
Our findings show very early use of cochlear implants to be protective of literacy skills. None of the 13% of children who had been implanted at 18 months of younger (most were less than a year) had below average scores on literacy, although nor were they among the best readers in the group. The child with the lowest performance in this group had social factors that may have compromised their vocabulary and reading.
Interestingly, the label of dyslexia as a reading challenge is disputed by researchers, who say the term is so broad that it has become ‘meaningless’.
- Language Parallels Seen In Deafness And Dyslexia
- How iPhones can revolutionise reading for people with dyslexia
- One Language May Be Best For Children With Implants
- Fatigue In Schoolchildren With Hearing Issues
- Listening And Speaking – A Refocus For Teachers
- Dyslexia label branded ‘unscientific’ – BBC News
- Scrap the term ‘dyslexia’, says educational psychologist