13. Spelling ability and associated skills

Beneficiary: Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

The aim of this longitudinal project is to examine how the quality of orthographic representations in children with hearing impairment are related to biological factors (deafness, recovered auditory skills through cochlear implant or hearing aids), language abilities and vocabulary in oral and/or in sign-language, and to exposure to print (reading ability). Previous work from our team demonstrated that the score of written sentence comprehension in deaf youngsters is explained by a set of linguistic variables (such as vocabulary, speech-reading ability and metaphonological skills) and by verbal short-term memory for order information (Leybaert et al., 2017, 2019). In the present longitudinal project, we will examine the quality of the orthographic representations of new samples of young deaf and hearing children, and how their orthographic skills are related to language skills, to print exposure, and to short-term memory for serial order. Spelling production skills will be also investigated (see e.g. Simon et al., 2019). This study will provide quantitative normative description of the various spelling patterns of children with hearing impairment in relation to predictive factors, such as age of implantation, duration of implant use, communication modes and practice, unilateral vs. bilateral implantation, language scores. Furthermore, the work will investigate possible directions for enhancing the quality of orthographic representations in children with hearing impairment.

Supervisors: Fabienne Chetail and Jacqueline Leybaert