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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Social Development of a Deaf Child

Q. I am a student working on a research project to study the effect that a hearing sibling has on the social development of a deaf child. I am looking for ways to assess the social skills of a deaf child (or any child), as well as confidence levels in different social situations and self image in general. I am looking for the names or descriptions of any tests or kinds of questions you think might be useful, or websites or texts where I might be able to find these resources. Thank you for your time.

A. I would suggest a couple of avenues to pursue. First, you might want to read the article by Altepeter et al, entitled "Comparison of scores of hearing-impaired children on the Vineland Adapative Behavior Scales and the Vineland Social Maturity Scale" (Psychol Rep, Oct. 1986, pp. 635-9). The latter scale might be useful in getting at the questions you are interested in.

Second, you might want to log on to the library website for the Oregon School for the Deaf (http://library.osd.k12.or.us:82/library). This will put you into a large data base that might be helpful. You may also find some help in the book Teaching Social Skills to Hearing-Impaired Students (Centennial Celebration Series) by Patrick J. Schloss and Maureen A. Smith. This may be out of print, so you may have to put in some time to get hold of it.

Finally, with respect to the role of hearing children helping those with hearing impairment, you should probably read the paper by Vandell et al, in the October 1982 issue of Child Development. This describes some of the problems involved in trying to mainstream children with hearing impairments.

Good luck with your project!

January, 2001

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