The study is an ongoing longitudinal investigation of a group of prelingually deaf children studied by direct observation in combination with videorecordings. The behavior of the children was registered once a month in their preschool and school settings, where activities were based on total communication, i.e., gestures, signs, fingerspelling, lipreading, reading, writing, and the stimulation of remnants of hearing. Our observations show that the use of signs does not impede the development of speech. Instead it seems to increase the children's skill in lipreading, although the early use of written language may play a part by facilitating the encoding of lipmovements. In children with hearing residuals, the use of signs enables them to better use their hearing.


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pp. 404-410
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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