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Social Interaction in Hearing and Deaf Preschoolers: Successes and Failures in Initiations
Deborah Lowe Vandell and Linda B. George
Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jun., 1981), pp. 627-635
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129183
Page Count: 9
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Dyadic free play of 32 children (16 deaf, 16 hearing) who attended the same preschool was videotaped on 2 occasions, once with a hearing partner and once with a deaf partner. Each 15-min play session was analyzed in terms of the hearing and deaf children's initiation strategies, their responsiveness to one another's initiations, and the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful initiations. Results indicated that mean interaction duration and proportion of time spent in interaction were greater in "like" (hearing child and hearing partner or deaf child and deaf partner) as opposed to "mixed" dyads. Contrary to previous hypotheses about inadequate communication skills, deaf children were found to be persistent initiators who frequently combined social acts. Underlying similarities were also apparent in the types of initiating acts used by hearing and deaf children. At the same time, however, the deaf preschoolers encountered interaction difficulties. Their initiation attempts were more likely than those of their hearing counterparts to be actively refused. They were also more likely to be recipients of inappropriate initiations, such as gestures or vocalizations to their backs. These results were discussed in terms of previous hypotheses about inferior social skills of the deaf and for their relevance to programs interested in integrating hearing and nonhearing children.
Child Development © 1981 Society for Research in Child Development