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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Many deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children who acquire a natural sign language from deaf parents develop typical executive function (EF) skills and are able to successfully sustain attention, monitor and plan behavior, and avoid distraction. However, for the 90% to 95% of DHH children born into hearing, families, the picture is different. There is now clear evidence that these children are at risk for delayed EF development and therefore weaker academic performance. This chapter reviews what is known about the development of EF in DHH children and its relationship with language development. This is important in light of competing theoretical accounts that attribute EF deficits to either auditory or linguistic deprivation. An account is proposed that takes into consideration the development of intersubjectivity—the ability of an infant to engage in shared and reciprocal exchanges with caregivers. It is argued that the focus should be on early detection and interventions during the first 18 months that promote successful communicative interactions regardless of modality of language.

Keywords: executive function, DHH, deaf, language development, intersubjectivity

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