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Deaf/Blind News Report of Communication Method Usage By Teachers of Deaf-Blind Qiildren—Part II Corinne Klein Jensema, Ph.D. This is the second in a series of articles presented under the "Deaf-Blind News" which discusses the results of a national survey of communication methods used by deaf-blind children and their teachers during the fall of 1979. A questionnaire was distributed to 400 teachers of deaf-blind children in educational programs receiving ESEA, Title VI C funds. Findings were based on statistical analysis of 195 returned useable questionnaires. Questions focused on what communication methods teachers used with their students and students used with their teachers, auditorily, visually, and tactilely and to what extent each was used. This article will discuss teacher responses to the methods of communication the students used with them. Tables 1 and 2 depict the percentages of students who used each method of communication to various degrees. It is fairly safe to predict that the "None Reported" category indicates that the method was not employed at all, and these statistics actually could be added to the "Never" category. DISCUSSION Deaf-blind children shared a preference for manual methods of communication. Use of gestures , pantomime, and sign language were high as compared with use of any other method. This suggests that manual modes are most compatible with and similar to the tactile/kinesthetic learning styles and, consequently, mental processes of these children. The arrangement of central sensory ("analyzers ") functions in the human brain develops according to the contents and conditions of daily activity (Zemtzova, Kulagin, & Novikova, 1962). In other words, neurological analyzers and synthesizers develop for those sense modalities for which the human body has practice . The development of these analyzers and synthesizers actually results from intraanalyzer and internanalyzer connections with the central nervous functions ("safe-analyzers") and not directly from the elementary sensory functions, as might be supposed. In the case of the deafblind person, sensory input ("afferentation") is provided by tactile and kinesthetic cues which are transferred, in turn, via the "safe-analyzers" to substitute sensory processes. These subsitute sensory processes develop in much the same way as do "analyzers"—on a principle of repetitive learning and conditioned reflex. For blind persons, the uniqueness of the functioning of the neural system is evident in the lowering of cortical neural excitation and an increase in excitation in subcortical neural structures (Zemtzova, et al., 1962). This peculiar occurrence represents a neurocompensatory solution and further explains vegetative reactions of other sensory channels. In other words, the nerves stimulate areas of the brain that can provide commensurate information and leave to rest those pathways which cannot provide useful information due to the loss of a sensory ability. Therefore, it seems reasonable that deafblind children naturally would choose to express themselves along the neurological pathways which have remained intact through use and which still transmit information adequately through intersubstitution processes. Overall communication by deaf-blind youngsters was very limited. Such causative factors as low IQs, extensive hearing losses, the congenital nature of most impairments, and withdrawn behavior can be cued. Many students also appeared to be operating in a very primitive, egocentric period of development and consequently, had little urge for social con392 A.A.O. I June 1981 Deaf !Blind News Table 1. Distribution of How the Student Communicates with the Teacher Visually and/or Auditorally. Communication Methods Rate of Use Not Reported Never 0-10% Sometimes 11-50% Usually 51-90% N % N % N % N % Always 91-100% N % ORAL Speech MANUAL Cued Speech Gestures and/or pantomime Signs (including fingerspelling) Fingerspelling (alone) Morse Code Cross Code Palmwriting Glove Method Braille Hand Speech Other WRITTEN Regular print Large print Braille Bliss Symbolics Rebus Other 36 18.5 112 57.4 27 13.8 58 29.7 34 17.4 26 13.3 50 50 49 49 49 50 178 46 46 49 51 50 187 25.6 25.6 25.1 25.1 25.1 25.6 91.3 23.6 23.6 25.1 26.2 25.6 95.9 122 62.6 63 32.3 86 44.1 135 69.2 145 74.4 145 74.4 146 74.9 145 74.4 144...


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pp. 392-394
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