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From The CriticsReviewer: Linda Jacobs-Condit, AuD, CCC-A(George Washington University)
Description: This book, part of the series Perspectives on Deafness, is a compilation of contributions by recognized leaders in the field, providing broad information about deaf children's language development.
Purpose: According to the editors, this book was developed to tell two stories: an overview of the origins, progress, and future of research about spoken language development in deaf and hard-of-hearing children; and the current state-of-the-art in the field regardless of one's interest in spoken language vs. sign language. Given the recent technological advances in identifying and remediating deafness and/or hearing loss in children, there are greater more positive outcomes for these children.
Audience: The editors state that this book was written for parents, educators, linguists, speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Their objectives are to provide information about state-of-the-art research in language development so that parents can make more informed choices, and professionals will be in a better position to support them and their children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The editors have extensive experience with the use of spoken and sign language by children. Spencer, now retired from the social work program at Gallaudet University, is currently teaching research at Texas A&M University. Marschark is a professor in the department of research at the NTID and in the department of psychology at the University of Aberdeen. He has served as a journal editor and has published several books on raising and educating deaf children.
Features: This book includes a historical/theoretical introduction to language development in children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, followed by information on early language development, basic processes and supports for spoken language development. Oller focuses on early vocalizations while Masataka provides a cross-cultural and biological look at innate communication processes and their interaction with communicative experiences. Ackley and Decker incorporate an update on current and emerging technologies that identify and specify hearing loss in infants and children. Blamey, Sarant and Paatsch offer examples of continuing difficulties in the assessment of children's speech perception abilities. Subsequent chapters present data from studies of intervention methods being used to support deaf children's spoken language development. Geers presents a comprehensive summary of research findings supporting the significantly higher speech and spoken language skills acquired by children using cochlear implants compared to their peers who were not implanted. Yoshinago-Itano summarizes her longitudinal study of children with hearing loss in the Colorado population study. According to the editors, this book lacks specific chapters on current methodology in training speech and auditory skills due to the lack of research-based data. Other topics not included relate to characteristics of spoken language in hard-of-hearing children.
Assessment: The editors have compiled a book that includes state-of-the-art approaches to the identification and remediation of deafness or hearing loss in children, as well as broad approaches to their acquisition of language — either oral/spoken or sign.