Learning Disabilities in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children

Lindsey Edwards

in The Oxford Handbook of Deaf Studies, Language, and Education, Vol. 2

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780195390032
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Learning Disabilities in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children

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  • Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology



This chapter starts with a brief historical overview of research on the cognitive abilities of deaf children, to provide a context for understanding learning disabilities in this group of children. Working definitions of learning disabilities will be presented, distinguishing between global disability and specific difficulties. Although much has been written about deaf children’s cognitive abilities, good empirical evidence is patchy and findings are frequently contradictory. This makes it difficult to determine whether apparent specific difficulties are genuinely associated with hearing impairment, or the result of assessment methods or some other factor. However, some consistent findings have emerged and will be highlighted. Current research and views on established disorders such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and auditory processing disorder (APD) in deaf children will be presented, as will the available knowledge base for other areas of cognitive functioning, for example executive function, memory, problem solving, and sequencing. Areas of overlap among the underlying cognitive processes will be emphasized. Despite a lengthy history of debate on the issue, assessment of learning disabilities in deaf children is in its infancy in terms of agreed methods, and the use of tests standardized on hearing children remains contentious. Issues relating to the use of neuropsychological and other tests are discussed, and a range of possible approaches are considered and appraised. Finally, suggestions for specific areas in need of further research spanning the whole field of learning disabilities in deaf children are outlined.

Keywords: learning disability; cognitive; dyslexia; auditory processing; assessment; response to intervention

Article.  10107 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Neuropsychology

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