Center Papers

A Comparison Of The Letter-Processing Skills Of Hearing And Deaf Readers: Evidence From Five Orthographies

Guldenoglu, B., Miller, P., Kargin, T., Hauser, P., Rathman, C., Kubus, O., & Spurgeon, E. (2013). A Comparison of the Letter Processing Skills of Hearing and Deaf Readers: Evidence from Five Orthographies. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

This study was designed to examine the letter-processing skills of prelingually deaf and hearing students recruited from five different orthographic backgrounds (Hebrew, Arabic, English, German, and Turkish). Participants were 128 hearing and 133 deaf 6th–7th graders. They were tested with a same/different paradigm that assessed their ability to process letters under perceptual and conceptual conditions. Findings suggest that the letter-processing skills of deaf readers from some orthographic backgrounds may be underdeveloped in comparison to hearing counterparts. The finding that such letter-processing deficits were restricted to readers of some but not all of the tested orthographies warrants the conclusion that prelingual deafness, per se, does not impede the development of effective letter processing. Evidence for this study is discussed with reference to potential orthography-inherent and educational factors that may explain the existence of letter-processing deficits found in some of the prelingually deaf readers examined in this study.