READING COMPREHENSION OF PRELINGUALLY DEAF ADOLESCENTS AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO MATERNAL USE OF MANUAL COMMUNICATION (SIGN LANGUAGE, MOTHER, CHILDREN).
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between hearing mothers' methods of communication with their prelingually deaf childern, and those children's reading comprehension scores, as measured by the Stanford Achievement Test, Special Edition for Hearing Impaired Students, 1973, (SAT-HI). The subjects of this study were 201 prelingually deaf students from six randomly selected residential schools for the deaf from throughout the United States. All subjects had hearing losses of 91db (ANSI) or greater, had lost their hearing before age three, used some form of manual communication as their primary method of learning and communicating, were ages 11.25 through 19.83, had been enrolled for at least the past three years in residential schools which subscribed to the total communication philosophy, had no additional handicapping conditions, had natural mothers who were able to complete the Mother's Questionnaire, came from families who used English as the primary spoken language, and had parents whose hearing was normal. Questionnaires were sent to schools and mothers to obtain information regarding the dependent variable (reading comprehension scores); the primary independent variables (methods of communication used by mothers, ages of the children when signing mothers began to use manual communication, and skill levels of mothers who used manual communication); and a number of secondary independent variables. The date were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficients, multiple ANOVA's, multiple regression analysis and analysis of covariance. Chronological age and non-verbal IQ acted as covariates. Results indicated that, for the subjects of this study, the method of communication used by mothers of prelingually deaf children had no significant relationship with their children's reading comprehension scores. Of the subjects whose mothers used manual communication, no significant relationship was found between reading comprehension and the ages of the children when their mothers began to sign with them. Conversely, a significant relationship was found between reading comprehension scores and signing skill levels of mothers as reported by both mothers and schools. Because of questionable validity of some of the measures, difficulties in interpretation of the ANCOVA, inability to control for ethnic background, limitations in subject selection, and the small number of subjects in Group 1; the findings of this study should be considered to be speculative, at best.