A Semantic Analysis of Signed Communication in an Activity-Based Classroom for Preschool Children Who Are Deaf The signed communication of five preschool children who are deaf (ages 4:5 to 5:6) was analyzed for its semantic content. Videotaped samples were collected while the children participated in activity-based classroom routines and familiar play themes with teachers and peers in a 2 1/2-hour preschool classroom. The children demonstrated expected ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 1996
A Semantic Analysis of Signed Communication in an Activity-Based Classroom for Preschool Children Who Are Deaf
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Chris Marvin, PhD
    Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, 202 Barkley Memorial Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0732
  • Kathleen R. Kasal
    Iowa School for the Deaf, Council Bluffs, IA
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: cmarvin@unlinfo.edu
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 1996
A Semantic Analysis of Signed Communication in an Activity-Based Classroom for Preschool Children Who Are Deaf
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1996, Vol. 27, 57-67. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2701.57
History: Received July 8, 1994 , Accepted February 8, 1995
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1996, Vol. 27, 57-67. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2701.57
History: Received July 8, 1994; Accepted February 8, 1995

The signed communication of five preschool children who are deaf (ages 4:5 to 5:6) was analyzed for its semantic content. Videotaped samples were collected while the children participated in activity-based classroom routines and familiar play themes with teachers and peers in a 2 1/2-hour preschool classroom. The children demonstrated expected limitations in their language skills (mean MLU=2.01) but talked about many of the same topics at school as children of the same age who were not disabled (Marvin, Beukelman, Brockhous, & Kast, 1994). The five children who are deaf generally talked about the here-and-now and themselves and appeared to be heavily influenced by the materials, people, and activities in the immediate environment of the preschool classroom. Talk concerning teachers, peers, class projects, needed supplies and utensils, and food were common and frequent in the children's talk with teachers and peers. Talk concerning temporally displaced topics was less frequent and less common than talk concerning present time frames. Child-initiated utterances were longer in length and more semantically diverse than teacher-prompted utterances. Implications of these findings for preschool deaf educators and speech-language pathologists are discussed.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This project was supported by the Maude Hammond Fling Summer Research Fellowship and the Research Council at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Gratitude is extended to Jean Offenburger and Diane Schmidt for their diligence in transcribing the children’s interactions and to Channing Profit and Jennifer James for their assistance in coding the transcripts. A special thanks is extended to Brenda Schick and Mary Pat Moeller for their consultation and support on this project.
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