Sign language based literacy training with Omega-is-d
2012 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Signed languages do not have a written form. Thus, deaf children, for whom sign language is the primary mode of communication, learn to read in a second language. Not surprisingly, the reading skills of deaf children generally lag behind those of their hearing peers. The mechanisms underlying reading in deaf individuals are only just beginning to be unraveled but it seems that language skills play an important role. The assumption underlying the present study is that encouraging deaf children to explore the relationship between signed language and written speech-based language can promote reading skill. We are developing and evaluating a sign language version of Omega-is, a computerized literacy training program that trains language abilities. Interventions with Omega-is and its forerunners have shown positive effects on reading abilities in children with sensory and cognitive impairments. In the sign language version, known as Omega-is-d, written sentences created by the user are presented in Swedish Sign Language. In a preliminary study, 12 deaf pupils (six in grade 1-2 and six in grade 4-6) at a Swedish state primary school for deaf and hard of hearing children trained language skills using a pilot version of Omega-is-d in a crossover design. Participants in grade 1-2 improved their word-decoding ability as a result of training. Although reading comprehension was below normal, cognitive skills were age appropriate. Better reading comprehension was associated with better word decoding skills, better syntax skills in written Swedish and Swedish Sign Language and better working memory capacity. These preliminary findings suggest that young deaf children with age appropriate cognitive skills can achieve better reading skills with sign based literacy training.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National CategoryPsychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-76746OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-76746DiVA: diva2:516610
Fifth Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies, 24-27/7 2012, Lund, Sweden
FunderFAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research