The low literacy levels achieved by deaf children are of ongoing concern to educators and researchers alike. The present research considered emergent literacy as one aspect to consider in the acquisition of literacy skills in deaf children. The aim of this research was to describe the home-based literacy experiences of severely to profoundly deaf pre-schoolers as provided by their hearing parents. Parents of twenty-nine pre-school deaf children from schools for the deaf were selected to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed based on the four identified literacy contexts: the physical and functional context, the language context, the affective context and the educational context. The results obtained indicate that the deaf children in this survey are exposed to literacy-rich home environments where they are able to observe literate adult role models. Limitations in the quantity and quality of text-based interaction between the deaf pre-schoolers, their hearing parents and older siblings were identified. The results also indicated that the parents who participated in this research regarded the development of language and communication as more important than the early acquisition of literacy skills. The parents assigned the greatest responsibility in teaching literacy skills to teachers. This study highlights the sensitive nature of early literacy and language learning in young deaf children. Suggestions for further research are presented.
Dissertation (M(Augmentative and Alternative Communication))--University of Pretoria, 2007.