Abstract and Keywords
Peer interaction is an important contributor to social development in all children. Hearing loss can create barriers in communication between children, thus the quality and quantity of peer interaction of deaf and hard-of-hearing (D/HH) children is a topic of interest to both practitioners and researchers. D/HH children have been found to interact less with peers and engage in less social play than hearing children of the same age. In contexts where both D/HH and hearing children are present, D/HH children prefer to interact with D/HH rather than hearing peers. Although D/HH children initiate interaction at rates similar to that of hearing children, they have fewer successful initiations, and have more difficulty maintaining interactions. However, they are able to moderate their initiation strategies based on the hearing status of their peers. Their communication during social play is likely to be focused on literal and current topics rather than on symbolic or fantasy topics. The quality and quantity of peer interaction between D/HH and hearing children appears to be related to language and communication ability, mode of communication, and familiarity. Intervention programs to increase peer interaction have succeeded in increasing interaction of D/HH children with D/HH but not with hearing peers. However, long-term intensive interventions that provide opportunities for peer familiarity, such as co-enrolled programs may be likely to produce positive results. Finally, little current research has been conducted on peer interaction, thus little is known about early-identified or early-implanted D/HH children who are in inclusive programs.
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