Within a longitudinal study of children with congenital rubella, 85 Deaf Only adolescents, 85 Deaf Multihandicapped, and 34 Normal controls were studied with respect to impulsivity. The majority of the deaf group had severe or profound hearing loss.
Prevalence of impulsivity and self abuse clearly differentiated Deaf Only from Deaf Multihandicapped. In adolescence, one-fifth of the Deaf Only and three-fifths of the Deaf Multihandicapped showed impulsivity; only Deaf Multihandicapped were self abusive.
For both the Deaf Only and the Deaf Multihandicapped groups, impulsivity at adolescence was a continuation of this trait from earlier developmental periods. In contrast, self abuse was a transient behavior for the Deaf Only but was persistent for the Deaf Multihandicapped from early childhood.
A meaningful discussion of impulsivity in deaf children necessitates differentiation of Deaf Only from Deaf Multihandicapped.