The Development of Pragmatic Skills in Children and Young People Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The development of pragmatic skills has emerged as an area of challenge for children and young people who are deaf and hard of hearing, including those who use cochlear implants. Pragmatics, a language subsystem, pertains to the social use of language and skills in this area can significantly impact on social interactions and the opportunities to develop strong social skills. This chapter will focus on spoken language users, drawing upon a number of recent studies that have compared the pragmatic skills of children and young people with and without hearing loss. It will explore pragmatic skills at three key developmental stages, in toddlers aged 0-3 years (critical years for language and cognitive development), during the upper primary school years (aged 8-12 years) and during adolescence. Pragmatic skills in young children who are deaf and may lag behind other language subsystems. In addition, school age children and adolescents with hearing loss demonstrate a range of pragmatic behaviours that differ from their hearing peers that may have significant implications for the social interactions, social and emotional development and peer relationships.

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Dianne Toe
Pasquale Rinaldi
Maria Cristina Caselli
Louise Paatsch
Amelia Church
Oxford UNiversity Press, New York, USA
Diversity in Deaf Education, edited by Marc Marschark, Venetta Lampropoulou, and Emmanouil K. Skordilis, pp. 247–269. New York: Oxford UNiversity Press, 2016
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