Academic journal article The Volta Review

Literacy Learning: Meeting the Needs of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with Additional Special Needs

Academic journal article The Volta Review

Literacy Learning: Meeting the Needs of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with Additional Special Needs

Article excerpt

A child with a hearing loss, with or without additional special needs, comes to the processes of reading and writing with unique strengths and challenges. This article presents learning conditions developed by Brian Cambourne which form a framework that parent-professional teams may use to evaluate and/or develop appropriate physical and social environments to foster language and literacy learning, an overview of the three primary components of any language, and suggestions on how the application of Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory may be used as a guideline in providing literacy learning experiences.

Language and Literacy Learning

Universally, language is used to meet social, emotional, and cognitive needs. Children begin constructing a language at birth as they interact with members of their language community (Heath, 1982, 1983; Wells, 1986). Common across cultures is the expectation that young children will learn the language of their families and communities (Corson, 1973; Foster, 1990).

Family and other caregivers, as well as peers and educators, play major roles in children's language and literacy learning processes. Young children who are immersed in print observe those around them making use of it and often have favorite books read to them (Smith, 1988). Parent-professional teams responsible for supporting children who are deaf or hard of hearing continually seek better ways to immerse a child in language within meaningful communication events. Like all children, children who are deaf or hard of hearing vary in their abilities, aptitudes, personalities, and ways of learning, knowing, and being. This is due to individual variation in cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical potential, development, expertise, and experience. Extreme variations in any of these areas may result in making the learning of spoken and written language more challenging. Instructional activities need to be adapted to each child's interests, experiences, as well as their rate and style of learning. Each child has unique needs in constructing various concepts, and applying knowledge and skills across contexts. One child may have specific difficulties processing linguistic code or in focusing attention. Another may have motor coordination difficulties that interfere with executing communication, while another child may find interacting with others a baffling or uninteresting experience.

A child with a hearing loss, with or without additional special needs, requires models and partners as he or she becomes literate. These individuals present reading and writing behaviors that demonstrate not only what print codes mean, but also reveal what a literate person thinks and does before, during, and after they read or write (Morrow, 2001). Educationally literate partners who understand the nature of child language development and respect the individual ways in which each child learns are extremely valuable assets. Thus, knowledge of a learner, as well as language and literacy development and learning processes, enables the literate partner to provide appropriate support, adaptations, accommodations, and modifications to meet a learner's needs as he or she develops.

This article presents learning conditions developed by Brian Cambourne (Brown & Cambourne, 1987; Cambourne, 1988, 2002a, 2002b) that form a framework which parent-professional teams may use to evaluate and/or develop appropriate physical and social environments to foster language and literacy learning, an overview of the three primary components of any language, and suggestions on how the application of Gardner's Multiple Intelligence theory (Gardner, 1991, 2000) may be used as a guideline in providing literacy learning experiences.

Cambourne's Eight Learning Conditions

Brian Cambourne's set of eight learning conditions provides a powerful framework for developing and maintaining supportive learning environments (Brown & Cambourne, 1987; Cambourne, 1988, 2002a, 2002b). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.