QUESTION 5: What do we need to know further about deaf children and how they learn?


The following recommendations regarding deaf children and their abilities to learn come from the book, Psychological Perspectives on Deafness by Marschark and Clark (1993).
  1. A study of conversational interactions among deaf children needs to be monitored to assess their true quality rather than using assumptions.
  2. Need to measure the impact of high-fluency, high-quality interactions of deaf children with both deaf and hearing counterparts to assess whether these interactions have the same profound effect on deaf children as they do with hearing children.
  3. Teaching strategies need to be further assessed for their accuracy. For example:
  4. Research need to be done regarding the qualitative relationships between deaf children and hearing parents to strengthen theory that the parental relationship influences cognitive development.
  5. The issue of symbolic play needs to be assess to discover if it could be used as a measure and a mechanism for promoting deaf children’s relationships and development.
  6. Further work on observing and studying the parent/child relationship and the environment of the deaf child could help researchers understand compensations and accommodations that these children acquire naturally do to their deficiencies.
  7. A better understanding of deaf children’s competencies rather than deficiencies needs to be defined more clearly and promoted throughout the professional and private communities.
  8. More research on the biological and physiological aspects of deafness needs to be incorporated with the research regarding emotional and social variables.
  9. Interpersonal relationships and longitudinal studies need to be conducted to measure deaf children’s success in relating to hearing population.
  10. Defining and studying differences between hearing children and deaf children in regards to their cognitive learning styles is necessary in order to delineate needs. The emphasis here is that differences do not always have a negative connotation.

Why is this important? How should one use this information? All of the recommendations from this question need to inspire individuals to continue the work to better understanding of these children. Like all research, where it is in education or biology, human being need to strive to discover all they can about the world around them. Thus these recommendation are to fuel the thinking of professionals and parents to consider not only the differences and discrepancies of deaf children, but of themselves as well. This information should be used as a catalyst for further investigation and promoting more questions and recommendations for the future of deaf children and their families.


Marschark, M. & Clark M. D. (Eds.). (1993) Psychological perspectives on deafness. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Ass.


Alpern, G. D., Boll, T.J., & Shearer, M.S. (1980). Manual, development profile II (revised) . Aspen, CO: Psychological Development Publications.

Wood, D. (1986). Aspects of teaching and learning. In M.P.M. Richards & P. Light (Eds)., Children of social worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.

Wood, D., Wood, H., Griffiths, A. J., & Howarth, I. (1986). Teaching and talking with deaf children. London: Wiley.