[PS-2.10] Becoming a proficient reader: The case of one deaf student

Salehomoum, M. 1 & Pearson, D. 2

1 University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State University
2 University of California Berkeley

Despite advances in early identification, early intervention, and technological tools, on average, children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) continue to exhibit language and literacy delays, as compared to hearing peers. Early access to a comprehensible language, such as a natural sign language, improves the language and literacy outcome for DHH children, including those with a cochlear implant. A deaf student can, in fact, develop extraordinary literacy skills when provided with appropriate linguistic and educational supports. We would like to present the case of one such student, who at the time of the study was 17 years of age, used bilateral cochlear implants and a bimodal communication system, i.e., signed and spoken English, and enrolled in a mainstream educational setting. Data consist of: (a) two student interviews (b) direct observation of student while engaged in reading and thinking aloud, and (c) two interviews with parent. Findings indicate: (a) early and consistent exposure to sign language, (b) early and consistent exposure to literacy-based activities, and (c) certain inherent student characteristics to have played a role in supporting successful literacy development. The findings provide a counter-narrative to the prevalent reports of language and literacy delays in the DHH student population.