The interactive behaviors of eight deaf and eight hearing mothers and their hearing infants were examined during normal play. The mother-child dyads were videotaped periodically in their homes when the infants were between 9 and 17 months of age. These videotapes subsequently were scored for eye gaze, facial expression, physical contact, vocalization, and maternal and infant initiations. The most marked differences between the deaf and hearing mother-infant dyads occurred in vocal behavior. The deaf mothers produced significantly fewer and shorter vocalizations than the hearing mothers. The two groups of hearing infants, however, differed on the frequency and duration of their vocalizations only during the 16-17 month age level. Although the hearing mothers made more vocal initiations to their infants, the deaf mothers typically made more nonvocal initiations. The deaf mothers also tended to touch their infants more frequently during the earlier age levels tested. Overall, for most of the dimensions of interactive behavior examined, the two groups evidenced patterns of considerable similarity and few differences.


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pp. 317-324
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