Changing Parameters in Deafness and Deaf Education: Greater Opportunity but Continuing Diversity

Greg Leigh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter focuses on two developments that will speed up change in the population profile of DHH children: early identification through universal newborn hearing screening (UNHS) and early cochlear implantation. Studies show that children identified through UNHS within the first weeks of life have superior development on a wide range of measures, both linguistic and social-emotional, compared with children whose hearing loss was identified at later ages. The literature also provides compelling evidence of an improved rate and level of spoken language development for most children with severe to profound sensory-neural deafness who receive a cochlear implant, provided that they receive consistent input in spoken language. The chapter argues for an alternative approach to early intervention, which seeks to identify - at the earliest possible stage - those children for whom spoken communication may not be entirely accessible and for whom signed communication will likely be necessary to ensure their linguistic, social, cognitive, and emotional development. It then seeks to provide those children with a program focusing on the development of both spoken and signed language (or communication).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeaf Cognition
Subtitle of host publicationFoundations and Outcomes
EditorsMark Marschark, Peter C. Hauser
Place of PublicationOxford, New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780199894161
ISBN (Print)9780195368673
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlear implantation
  • Deaf children
  • Language learning
  • Universal newborn hearing screening

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