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Signs for Developing Reading: Sign Language and Reading Development in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1896-8250
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Tecken på läsutveckling : Teckenspråk och läsutveckling hos döva och hörselskadade barn (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Reading development is supported by strong language skills, not least in deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children. The work in the present thesis investigates reading development in DHH children who use sign language, attend Regional Special Needs Schools (RSNS) in Sweden and are learning to read. The primary aim of the present work was to investigate whether the reading skills of these children can be improved via computerized sign language based literacy training. Another aim was to investigate concurrent and longitudinal associations between skills in reading, sign language, and cognition in this population. The results suggest that sign language based literacy training may support development of word reading. In addition, awareness and manipulation of the sub-lexical structure of sign language seem to assist word reading, and imitation of familiar signs (i.e., vocabulary) may be associated with developing reading comprehension. The associations revealed between sign language skills and reading development support the notion that sign language skills provide a foundation for emerging reading skills in DHH signing children. In addition, the results also suggest that working memory and Theory of Mind (ToM) are related to reading comprehension in this population. Furthermore, the results indicate that sign language experience enhances the establishment of representations of manual gestures, and that progression in ToM seems to be typical, although delayed, in RSNS pupils. Working memory has a central role in integrating environmental stimuli and language-mediated representations, and thereby provides a platform for cross-modal language processing and multimodal language development.

Abstract [sv]

En god språklig förmåga bidrar till god läsutveckling, inte minst hos döva och hörselskadade (D/H) barn. Studierna som ingår i avhandlingen undersöker läsutveckling hos D/H elever som går på teckenspråkiga specialskolor och som håller på att lära sig att läsa. Arbetets huvudsakliga syfte var att undersöka om deras läsförmåga kan förbättras via datoriserad teckenspråksbaserad lästräning. Ett annat syfte var att undersöka samtida och longitudinella samband mellan läsförmåga, teckenspråk, och kognition i samma population. Resultaten indikerar att teckenspråksbaserad lästräning kan bidra till ordläsningsutveckling. Vidare pekar resultaten på att medvetenhet om och manipulation av teckenspråkets sublexikala struktur stöttar läsförmågan och dessutom att imitation av kända tecken (i.e., vokabulär) var associerat med utvecklingen av barnens läsförståelse. Dessa fynd visar att teckenspråkskunskaper kan utgöra en grund för läsutveckling hos teckenspråkiga D/H elever. Resultaten indikerade även att arbetsminne och Theory of Mind (ToM) är relaterade till läsförståelse i denna grupp. Vid sidan av resultaten rörande läsutveckling, framkom också att teckenspråkserfarenhet leder till starkare etablering av representationer av manuella gester och vidare att barnens mentaliseringsförmåga (Theory of Mind) uppvisade en förväntad progression, om än försenad. En implikation av detta är att insatser som stöttar utveckling av teckenbaserade representationer och deras användning vid bearbetning av skrivet språk kan främja läsutveckling hos teckenspråkiga D/H elever. Arbetsminne föreslås genom sin roll i integration mellan inkommande stimuli och språkmedierade representationer fungera som en plattform för modalitetsöverskridande språkbearbetning och multimodal språkutveckling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. , 95 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 681Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 79
Keyword [en]
Deaf and hard-of-hearing, intervention, sign language, reading development, word reading, reading comprehension, working memory, imitation, Theory of Mind
Keyword [sv]
Döva och hörselskadade barn, intervention, teckenspråk, läsutveckling, ordläsning, läsförståelse, arbetsminne, imitation, Theory of Mind
National Category
Psychology Specific Languages Clinical Medicine Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-128207DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-128207ISBN: 978-91-7685-767-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-128207DiVA: diva2:930192
Public defence
2016-06-10, Key 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-05-23 Created: 2016-05-23 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Evidence of an association between sign language phonological awareness and word reading in deaf and hard-of-hearing children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evidence of an association between sign language phonological awareness and word reading in deaf and hard-of-hearing children
2016 (English)In: Research in Developmental Disabilities, ISSN 0891-4222, E-ISSN 1873-3379, Vol. 48, 145-159 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Children with good phonological awareness (PA) are often good word readers. Here, we asked whether Swedish deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children who are more aware of the phonology of Swedish Sign Language, a language with no orthography, are better at reading words in Swedish.

METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

We developed the Cross-modal Phonological Awareness Test (C-PhAT) that can be used to assess PA in both Swedish Sign Language (C-PhAT-SSL) and Swedish (C-PhAT-Swed), and investigated how C-PhAT performance was related to word reading as well as linguistic and cognitive skills. We validated C-PhAT-Swed and administered C-PhAT-Swed and C-PhAT-SSL to DHH children who attended Swedish deaf schools with a bilingual curriculum and were at an early stage of reading.

OUTCOMES AND RESULTS:

C-PhAT-SSL correlated significantly with word reading for DHH children. They performed poorly on C-PhAT-Swed and their scores did not correlate significantly either with C-PhAT-SSL or word reading, although they did correlate significantly with cognitive measures.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

These results provide preliminary evidence that DHH children with good sign language PA are better at reading words and show that measures of spoken language PA in DHH children may be confounded by individual differences in cognitive skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keyword
Deafness; Handshape; Phonological awareness; Sign language; Word reading
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122930 (URN)10.1016/j.ridd.2015.10.008 (DOI)000367766100014 ()26561215 (PubMedID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2008-0846
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare [2008-0846]

Available from: 2015-11-30 Created: 2015-11-30 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
2. Imitation, Sign Language Skill and the Developmental Ease of Language Understanding (D-ELU) Model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Imitation, Sign Language Skill and the Developmental Ease of Language Understanding (D-ELU) Model
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, no 107Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Imitation and language processing are closely connected. According to the Ease of Language Understanding (ELU) model (Ronnberg et al., 2013) pre-existing mental representation of lexical items facilitates language understanding. Thus, imitation of manual gestures is likely to be enhanced by experience of sign language. We tested this by eliciting imitation of manual gestures from deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) signing and hearing non-signing children at a similar level of language and cognitive development. We predicted that the DHH signing children would be better at imitating gestures lexicalized in their own sign language (Swedish Sign Language, SSL) than unfamiliar British Sign Language (BSL) signs, and that both groups would be better at imitating lexical signs (SSL and BSL) than non-signs. We also predicted that the hearing non-signing children would perform worse than DHH signing children with all types of gestures the first time (T1) we elicited imitation, but that the performance gap between groups would be reduced when imitation was elicited a second time (T2). Finally, we predicted that imitation performance on both occasions would be associated with linguistic skills, especially in the manual modality. A split-plot repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated that DHH signers imitated manual gestures with greater precision than non-signing children when imitation was elicited the second but not the first time. Manual gestures were easier to imitate for both groups when they were lexicalized than when they were not; but there was no difference in performance between familiar and unfamiliar gestures. For both groups, language skills at T1 predicted imitation at T2. Specifically, for DHH children, word reading skills, comprehension and phonological awareness of sign language predicted imitation at T2. For the hearing participants, language comprehension predicted imitation at T2, even after the effects of working memory capacity and motor skills were taken into account. These results demonstrate that experience of sign language enhances the ability to imitate manual gestures once representations have been established, and suggest that the inherent motor patterns of lexical manual gestures are better suited for representation than those of non-signs. This set of findings prompts a developmental version of the ELU model, D-ELU.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2016
Keyword
imitation; sign language; manual gesture; representation; development
National Category
Basic Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-125800 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00107 (DOI)000370127400001 ()26909050 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare [2008-0846]

Available from: 2016-03-08 Created: 2016-03-04 Last updated: 2017-11-30
3. Theory of Mind and Reading Comprehension in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Signing Children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Theory of Mind and Reading Comprehension in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Signing Children
2016 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 7, no 854Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Theory of Mind (ToM) is related to reading comprehension in hearing children. In the present study, we investigated progression in ToM in Swedish deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) signing children who were learning to read, as well as its assocation with reading comprehension. Thirteen children at Swedish state primary schools for DHH children performed a Swedish Sign Language (SSL) version of the Wellman and Liu (2004) ToM scale, along with tests of reading comprehension, SSL comprehension, and working memory. Results indicated that ToM progression did not differ from that reported in previous studies, although ToM development was delayed despite age-appropriate sign language skills. Correlation analysis revealed that ToM was associated with reading comprehension and working memory, but not sign language comprehension. We propose that some factor not investigated in the present study, possibly represented by inference making constrained by working memory capacity, supports both ToM and reading comprehension and may thus explain the results observed in the present study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers, 2016
Keyword
Deaf and hard-of-hearing, Theory of Mind, sign language, working memory, reading comprehension, Children
National Category
Psychology Specific Languages Clinical Medicine Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-128253 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00854 (DOI)000377254900001 ()
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare [2008-0846]

Available from: 2016-05-24 Created: 2016-05-24 Last updated: 2017-11-30
4. Computerized Sign Language-Based Literacy Trainingfor Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Computerized Sign Language-Based Literacy Trainingfor Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children
2017 (English)In: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, ISSN 1081-4159, E-ISSN 1465-7325, Vol. 22, no 4, 404-421 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Strengthening the connections between sign language and written language may improve reading skills in deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) signing children. The main aim of the present study was to investigate whether computerized sign language-based literacy training improves reading skills in DHH signing children who are learning to read. Further, longitudinal associations between sign language skills and developing reading skills were investigated. Participants were recruited from Swedish state special schools for DHH children, where pupils are taught in both sign language and spoken language. Reading skills were assessed at five occasions and the intervention was implemented in a cross-over design. Results indicated that reading skills improved over time and that development of word reading was predicted by the ability to imitate unfamiliar lexical signs, but there was only weak evidence that it was supported by the intervention. These results demonstrate for the first time a longitudinal link between sign-based abilities and word reading in DHH signing children who are learning to read. We suggest that the active construction of novel lexical forms may be a supramodal mechanism underlying word reading development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017
National Category
Language Technology (Computational Linguistics) Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-141161 (URN)10.1093/deafed/enx023 (DOI)000412206300006 ()28961874 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare [2008-0846]; Swedish Hearing Foundation [B2015/480]

Available from: 2017-09-25 Created: 2017-09-25 Last updated: 2017-10-23Bibliographically approved

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