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193 12 The Mother-Child Relationship and Language Development Disorders: Studies of Deaf Adolescent Children of Hearing Parents Joanna Kobosko Relative to the language competence of their hearing peers from hearing families and their deaf peers from Deaf families, the vast majority (about 70%) of deaf children of hearing parents tend to have substandard language competence in either spoken or natural sign language (e.g., Black & Glickman, 2006; Fellinger et al., 2005; Glickman, 2007; Kitson & Fry, 1990; Krakowiak, 2003; Punch & Hyde, 2011; Scheetz, 2004). Most deaf adolescent sign language users or sign-supported-system users employ some form of “pigeon sign language” (Wojda, 2009, 2010), which is usually insufficient or inadequate. It should be remembered that deafness per se and “being deaf does not, in itself, predetermine a given child’s path of development any more than does the fact of being left-handed or being six-feet tall. Rather, the context in which deafness occurs, and the interpretations placed on it by others, will be far more influential in shaping the child’s future progress and adjustment” (Koster & Meadow-Orlans, 1991, p. 300). It is worth noting that although language development in deaf adolescents is related to their psychological functioning, there is no comparable DSM-IV category for simple language retardation in hearing children. Interestingly, in a study of deaf and hard of hearing children and adolescents, using the Semistructured Clinical Interview for Children and Adolescents (SCICA), the rate of diagnosable mental disorders was found to correlate positively with the level of language deprivation and mode of communication (van Gent, Goedhart, Hindley, & Treffers, 2007). This state of affairs is the result of persistent ineffectiveness of medical, linguistic, psychological, and educational interventions facilitating language development in ara86542_12_ch12.indd 193 ara86542_12_ch12.indd 193 12/10/15 6:56 PM 12/10/15 6:56 PM Joanna Kobosko 194 deaf children and adolescents, suggesting that we need to seek new solutions. Perhaps if we were to adopt the interpersonal perspective (Stern, 1985, 1995; Zalewska, 1998a), which means considering the quality of the mother-child relationship and its effects on developmental disorders, including the language development of hearing-intact children and those with a hearing impairment, we would be able to suggest new directions of clinical theory and practice in this field. RESEARCH DIRECTIONS AND INTERVENTIONS IN THE FIELD OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT AND DEPRIVATION IN DEAF CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS FROM HEARING FAMILIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE MOTHER (PARENT)/ CHILD RELATIONSHIP In many European countries the question of how to facilitate language development in children with a hearing impairment who have hearing-intact parents is conceptualized in terms of intervention: medical, linguistic, educational, and psychological . Since hearing parents of children with a hearing impairment typically choose the language or method of communication to be used with their children, the child’s development and the parent-child relationship may be affected by a number of psychological issues. Medical Intervention from the Point of View of the Deaf Child’s Language Development and the Mother-Child Relationship Typically, medical intervention is oriented toward the development of spoken language , auditory communication, or visual-auditory communication. To that end, hearing aids or cochlear implants (CIs), as well as hearing and speech therapy, are often utilized. Given that cochlear implants have traditionally been (and still are?) viewed as a sign of parents’ denial of their child’s deafness (e.g., Hindley, 2000), deaf children with cochlear implants should theoretically have considerable difficulty with their psycholinguistic development because denial of deafness would negatively affect the mother-child relationship. Studies of the deaf population with implants in the United States between 1972 and 2000 found that about 30% communicated by means of spoken language and lived in the hearing community, 30% communicated by means of natural sign language and were a subculture of the Deaf community, and about 30% were “in between,” neither here nor there, identified with neither of these communities, and did not achieve satisfactory mastery of either spoken language or natural sign language (Bat-Chava & Deignan, 2001). ara86542_12_ch12.indd 194 ara86542_12_ch12.indd 194 12/10/15 6:56 PM 12/10/15 6:56 PM 195 The Mother-Child Relationship and Language Development Disorders From the point of view of linguistic functioning, this deaf population with CIs includes individuals who are proficient in spoken language and/or natural sign language . Therefore, these findings indirectly suggest, among other things, that we must consider other aspects (or mechanisms) of the mother-child relationship that enable the deaf child to acquire either spoken language...


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