An Empirical Verification of the Integral Development Method for Deaf Children

Gordana Ilija Nikolic, Vesna Radoman, Sanja Dimoski


Empirical findings on the difficulties deaf children face in certain areas of cognitive, conative, emotional and social development served as a basis for The Integral Development Method for Deaf Children. The principles of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) relating to the importance of sign language, neglected for a long time, provided a wider basis of this method. The first part of the article presents the method in a general way. The research part of the article examined the results of two experimentally controlled workshops. The first workshop examined the effects of various non-verbal stimulation techniques on cognitive development. The second workshop examined the effects of a systematic application of sign language on communicative and educative development. Data in Study 1 were collected by Piaget’s test and in Study 2 we collected by the Communication Competence Scale. The sample consisted of 50 subjects in Study 1 and 60 subjects in Study 2. The subjects were deaf children aged 8 to 12 years. The results confirmed that systematic application of various non-verbal workshop techniques  that   are   suitable   for   deaf   children   significantly contributes to the promotion of cognitive development and that they effectively enhance and accelerate the concrete operational stage. A systematic application of Serbian sign language influenced promotion of Serbian speech language and complete communicative competence as well as higher cohesion of sign language end  speech language communication skills. Sign language also influenced school achievement.

Key words: cognitive development; communication; non-verbal approaches; sign language



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