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The psychosocial development of children with hearing impairments : a comparative study.

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Teachers in South Africa and the United Kingdom rated their hearing impaired pupils, using the Meadow/Kendall Social Emotional Assessment Inventory, an instrument specifically designed for use with this population. The ratings of teachers from both countries were compared for the complete group of subjects (N=92, SA=42, UK=S0) and special school children (N=68, SA=38, UK=30). Children aged 10-12 years, with severe to profound hearing losses and no additional difficulties from South Africa and the United Kingdom, obtained similar scores on two subscales (social adjustment; self-image). On the third subscale (emotional adjustment) British children were rated more positively than South African children. The lower South African score was attributed to results from one South African special school which included children likely to have had more negative experiences than children from other schools. Additional item analysis revealed that children from both countries with hearing impairments do not show unusual or antisocial behaviours and have adapted well to communicative modes adopted in individual schools. Both groups of teachers rated the behaviour of their pupils as generally immature, especially with regard to motivation. It is suggested that such behavioural tendencies reflect appropriate adjustment to management by parents and teachers. Differences in levels of emotional adjustment noted between groups within the subject population are explained in terms of the life events framework. It is suggested that hearing impaired children who experience more negative life circumstances are at greater risk of developing emotional problems than others less affected.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.