Interactions of Deaf Preschoolers: A Comparison of the Communicative Behaviors of Deaf Children of Deaf Parents and of Deaf Children of Hearing Parents
This exploratory study examined the communicative behaviors of deaf children of deaf parents (DCDP) and of hearing parents (DCHP) by observing child-child dyads in free-play situations. DCDP-DCDP pairs were compared with DCHP-DCHP pairs. Dyadic peer interactions were recorded on videotape. The finding indicated that there were no differences between DCDP and DCHP connected with communicative competence from the point of view of Polish Sign Language (PJM). However, statistically significant differences were found between the two groups with regard to some basic additional categories of communicative behaviors and of pragmatically non-manual behaviors. For example, DCDP were much more likely to form communicative utterances categorized in reference to absent objects, events, and persons. The results of this study suggest a change in the program of educating deaf children, taking into account the positive role of sign language in their psychological development.