Literacy Development Considering Developmental Language Disorders

Quinto-Pozos, D.

University of Texas at Austin

Deaf signers with signed language disorders pose a challenge for researchers interested in literacy development in deaf/hard of hearing children. In particular, a researcher or other professional (e.g., educator, clinician, language specialist) may wonder whether a child?s struggles with reading are related to their challenges with acquisition of their first language or if these literacy issues are caused by another factor (e.g., dyslexia). This area of inquiry includes questions about bilingualism and language modality (signed, written, spoken), among others. The complexity of this developmental picture is amplified when considering the variability of language input for deaf children and their early educational experiences.
This talk will outline these issues and present theoretical questions applicable to the investigation of literacy development for children who exhibit characteristics of signed language disorders. For example, what might constitute the difference between typical struggles with reading versus patterns of dyslexia considering deaf children with a signed language disorder? Literacy data from native deaf signers who have been diagnosed with-or suspected to have-a signed language disorder will be highlighted. The goal of the talk is to bring attention to questions of literacy development within the population of deaf children with developmental signed language disorders.