Acquisition of Theta Roles in Deaf Children with Cochlear Implants
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Deaf children with cochlear implants often display delayed language acquisition. As a result, researchers refer to “hearing age,” the time elapsed since the implantation of hearing aids, in addition to chronological age, the time elapsed since birth. This subpopulation may be a possible new avenue of study for language development. I compared the ability of 7 children enrolled at the Southwestern Hearing School for the Deaf as they determined the subject and object roles in a sentence. Each participant was read a sentence and asked to select the correct corresponding picture. The sentences had varying levels of difficulty depending on the number of possible subjects and objects within the sentences. As expected, older children (measured by hearing age) made fewer errors. All children made more errors as the sentences became more complex. The relatively small sample size precludes strong conclusions, but provides tentative support for separating hearing age from chronological age.