General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 8 September, 2016 Poster
Pragmatic and social-cognitive skills in the Czech Deaf
Speaker: Eva Filippova, Charles University in Prague

Authors: Filippova, Eva & Hudakova, Andrea


Despite much progress in empirical research of deaf children’s development, claims about deafness as a handicap in development of individuals are still pervasive in the medical discourse of the present-day Czech society. Deaf have been declared to reach lower cognitive milestones compared to their hearing peers, as documented by the statistics for the literacy and ratios of deaf and hearing within their respective populations. Hearing impediment has thus been a blame for the failure of reaching cognitive potentials of these individuals (e.g., Komínek, 2009), along with some of the mainstream societal standards. In a review of over 20 studies, Peterson (2009) demonstrates that only a paucity of even 11-year-old severely deaf children with hearing parents passed standard tasks assessing their social cognition, usually mastered by typically developing 5-year-olds. Moreover, such delays in prelingual hearing-challenged individuals occur in both children with cochlear implants or in those who communicate with their caregivers in sign language. These marked delays come in a sharp contrast with little or no delay documented in deaf children of signing parents. This may be due to the richness of their conversational input during their early ontogeny (Harris 2005, 2006). We hypothesize that the mastery of a sign language in early childhood should warrant intact skills in cognitive domains. Our pilot study has been testing Czech deaf and hearing children’s language skills and their respective skills in the domain of social cognition (i.e., theory-of-mind abilities). As a first endeavor of this kind in the Czech Deaf community, our aim has been to document that deaf individuals can, indeed, reach the full potential as can their hearing peers provided they have the tools to communicate with and represent through a complex independent language in whatever modality. Preliminary data from our pilot study indicate promising findings to support the above hypothesis.
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Coffee break and poster session
Place: Hall First floor area A

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10:00 h. to 11:00 h.Coffee break

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