Priority Grants Research Fund

Abstracts of Priority Research Project Funded for FY 2004

Cynthia Neese Bailes, Carol Erting, Lynne Erting, Dan Mathis, Carlene Thumann-Prezioso, Charles Reilly, Marlon Kuntze
Education, GRI, Clerc Center, Stanford University
Signs of Literacy: Case Studies of Deaf Children Becoming Bilingual
Irene Leigh, John Christiansen, Deborah Maxwell-McCaw
Psychology, Sociology
Adolescents and Cochlear Implants: Psychosocial Issues
Russell Olson, David Penna, Mairin Veith
History and Government
Disability Pressure Groups in Europe: Organization, Strategy and Tactics
Sarah Taub, Dennis Galvan, Pilar Piñar, Susan Mather
Linguistics, Psychology
Gesture and ASL Acquisition

Signs of Literacy: Case Studies of Deaf Children Becoming Bilingual
Cynthia Neese Bailes, Carol Erting, L. Erting, D. Mathis, C. Reilly, M. Kleinfeld, C. Thumann-Prezioso, M. Kuntze

Education, GRI, Clerc Center

This interdisciplinary, longitudinal study examines the literacy development of six diverse deaf and hard-of-hearing children from birth to upper elementary and middle school years. The overall goals are to (1) describe the ASL and English literacy acquisition of six deaf and hard-of-hearing children in preschool classrooms where ASL and English are the languages of instruction (2) to describe the pedagogy, including the philosophy, teaching strategies, and classroom literacy environments of the preschool teachers as well as the early literacy practices of the home, and (3) to trace and document the ASL and English literacy acquisition and learning, and the academic achievement of these children. The central focus is on (1) how ASL and English literacy are acquired and/or learned by individual children who differ in theoretically important ways, (2) how the parents', teachers', and children's use of ASL is linked to and supports emerging English literacy for these children, and (3) how this linguistic and cultural knowledge contributes to learning during interactions with adults and peers, and (4) how early classroom and home experiences contribute to their later academic achievement. This proposal is for the third year of a three-year study of the second phase of this longitudinal project.


Adolescents and Cochlear Implants: Psychosocial Issues
Irene Leigh, John Christiansen, Deborah Maxwell-McCaw

Psychology, Sociology

NIH has recommended research on the psychosocial adjustment of deaf adolescents with cochlear implants. This study will compare the psychosocial adjustment of a sample of 30 deaf adolescents implanted for at least three years with that of 30 deaf adolescents not using the implant. Having the implant, in conjunction with demographic variables, is hypothesized to affect deaf-hearing cultural identity as well as cocial and academic fuynctioning (reported by parents and teachers). Theres, in turn, are hypothesized to affect psychosocial adjustment, measured by self-esteem, loneliness, and satisfaction with life.


Disability Pressure Groups in Europe: Organization, Strategy and Tactics
Russell Olson, David Penna, Mairin Veith

History and Government

There is evidence that European disability interest groups have made incremental, subtle yet fundamental shifts in the tactics they use to accomplish goals favorable to their constituencies, including those which are Deaf. Although the metamorphosis appears to be a trend toward greater use of insider tactics (lobbying, advising, consulting, working within governments) and away from public confrontation, the precise nature of the new tactics has not yet been fully described. Moreover, the extent to which the new tactics are being uniformly applied in European countries with qualitatively different cultural, political, social, historic and economic environments has yet to be fully examined and documented. The three year project will study and describe the tactics of European disability groups, including variations that may occur in a sample of countries that combine to encompass a range of social contexts. In addition to illuminating a phenomenon that is significant to academic political science, the findings promise to provide insights to deafness related interest groups in this country and elsewhere, resulting in a greater influence on public policy.


Gesture and ASL Acquisition
Sarah Taub, Dennis Galvan, Pilar Piñar, Susan Mather

Linguistics, Psychology

The main goal of this project is to identify whether preexisting, communicative gestural behavior serves as a bootstrapping mechanism for acquiring the grammaticalized gestural elements of ASL (e.g, spatially modulated verbs and pronouns, role shift, grammatical facial expressions) among adult hearing learners. More specifically, our goal is to investigate whether the quality of co-speech gesture can serve as a diagnostic to predict ASL aptitude. In order to do this, we propose to collect videotaped data from hearing subjects who are about to begin learning ASL. Our subjects will watch several cartoon vignettes and then will retell the stories in English to another subject. We will develop a coding system to analyze the subjects' gestures according to factors such as number of gestures, size of gestures, spatial coherence of gestures, number of gestures in which hands represent referents, number of gestures in which the speaker takes on a character's persona, and frequency of shifts between types of gestures. Subjects will also be rated on their comprehension of the vignettes and on their involvement with the task, as both can affect gesturing.

Data from two different groups of subjects will be collected offset by one year. Subjects' skills in ASL after 8 and 20 months of exposure will be rated in at least the following areas: vocabulary, inflectional morphology, word order, facial expressions, use of classifiers, use of role shift, and discourse factors. ASL course grades will provide one measure of overall proficiency. Subjects' ASL narratives will be rated in these areas as well by a trained ASL consultant. Statistical analyses will test for correlations among gestural factors and ASL skill areas within and across subjects.

[Last modified: 2011.12.05 16:50:38. by Kevin Cole]

DISCLAIMER: This website contains documents with terms that may be considered by today's reader as outdated and even offensive. For example, the term "hearing impairment" is sometimes used as a category for levels of hearing loss, such as hard of hearing and deaf. Some people now see cultural identification and communication preference as defining characteristics behind terms such as hard of hearing and deaf, and they do not favor terms conveying medical distinctions and loss. Yet we recognize that removing and changing terms may alter the precise meaning of the scientific author. A solution may be found by expanding the scope of future research to include non-medical perspectives.
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