Beneficiary: Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

The aim of this research project is to examine the quality of orthographic representations in children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing: (1) first, when the orthographic learning occurs and (2) during the development of orthographic knowledge and related skills (phonological awareness, sensitivity to visual regularities of print exposure, or morphological knowledge). The influence of such linguistic skills will be explored in written productions and spelling errors of deaf and hearing children. Other language, cognitive or auditory factors might be considered (e.g., communication modes, vocabulary in oral and/or sign language, short-term memory for serial order, auditory status or speech-perception skills through cochlear implants or hearing aids). A first study (paper in progress) on orthographic learning through a self-teaching paradigm shows that deaf children are better than typical hearing children in recognising newly learned words. This first line of research provides data on French-speaking deaf children regarding orthographic learning. The second axis of the project adds a clinical purpose. Indeed, in the orthographic tests currently used in speech therapy, there is a lack of assessment tools adapted to deaf children. Because spelling to-dictation might not fully reveal deaf children’s own spelling performances (given the variability of success with the use of prosthesis or cochlear implant), we plan to create a spelling test based on a written picture naming task. Furthermore, this work will investigate possible directions for enhancing the quality of orthographic representations in children with hearing impairment.

Supervisors: Fabienne Chetail and Jacqueline Leybaert

ESR 13: Elodie Sabatier