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J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2005 Fall;10(4):357-75. Epub 2005 Jul 6.

The impact of visual communication on the intersubjective development of early parent-child interaction with 18- to 24-month-old deaf toddlers.

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Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.


This article presents a study that examined the impact of visual communication on the quality of the early interaction between deaf and hearing mothers and fathers and their deaf children aged between 18 and 24 months. Three communication mode groups of parent-deaf child dyads that differed by the use of signing and visual-tactile communication strategies were involved: (a) hearing parents communicating with their deaf child in an auditory/oral way, (b) hearing parents using total communication, and (c) deaf parents using sign language. Based on Loots and colleagues' intersubjective developmental theory, parent-deaf child interaction was analyzed according to the occurrence of intersubjectivity during free play with a standard set of toys. The data analyses indicated that the use of sign language in a sequential visual way of communication enabled the deaf parents to involve their 18- to 24-month-old deaf infants in symbolic intersubjectivity, whereas hearing parents who hold on to oral-only communication were excluded from involvement in symbolic intersubjectivity with their deaf infants. Hearing parents using total communication were more similar to deaf parents, but they still differed from deaf parents in exchanging and sharing symbolic and linguistic meaning with their deaf child.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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