]PS-2.2] Language and executive functioning in bilingual DHH children

Hermans, D. 1, 2 & Knoors, H. 1, 2

1 Royal Dutch Kentalis
2 Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen

Executive functions (EF?s) allow people to control and change their behavior in order to achieve (long term) goals in life as well as controlling ongoing behavior in daily living. EF?s are important for children?s school achievements (reading comprehension, mathematics) and children?s social functioning. Research on deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children has revealed that DHH children, on average, are delayed in their executive functioning and that these delays may (in part) be attributed to delays in the acquisition of language. In this study we explored the relationship between language skills and executive function skills in a group of 40 bilingual DHH children between eight and twelve years old. We assessed DHH children?s vocabulary and morphosyntactic skills in Sign Language of the Netherlands and in spoken Dutch. We also administered two performance-based EF tests (from the BADS-C) and collected teacher?s ratings of their DHH pupil?s EF?s using the BRIEF questionnaire. The results revealed significant delays on both executive function tasks, but not on the BRIEF questionnaire. In addition, DHH children?s scores on the executive function tasks were predominantly related to their skills in spoken Dutch.