The Development of Proto-Performative Utterances in Deaf Toddlers Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the development of proto-imperative and proto-declarative utterances in normally developing, non-neonatally screened, profoundly deaf toddlers. Method Both types of proto-declarative are considered to be the most basic prelinguistic and early linguistic communicative functions. Eighteen normally developing, non-neonatally ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2006
The Development of Proto-Performative Utterances in Deaf Toddlers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Guido F. Lichtert
    Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Filip T. Loncke
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Contact author: Guido Lichtert, Wateringe 67, B-2880, Hingene, Belgium. guido.lichtert@ped.kuleuven.be
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2006
The Development of Proto-Performative Utterances in Deaf Toddlers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2006, Vol. 49, 486-499. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/037)
History: Received January 31, 2003 , Revised August 24, 2004 , Accepted July 21, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2006, Vol. 49, 486-499. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/037)
History: Received January 31, 2003; Revised August 24, 2004; Accepted July 21, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the development of proto-imperative and proto-declarative utterances in normally developing, non-neonatally screened, profoundly deaf toddlers.

Method Both types of proto-declarative are considered to be the most basic prelinguistic and early linguistic communicative functions. Eighteen normally developing, non-neonatally screened, profoundly deaf toddlers participated in a longitudinal study. All children were enrolled in the same oral–aural home guidance program. At the time of the study, none of the children had received a cochlear implant. At the ages of 18, 24, and 30 months, proto-imperative utterances were elicited using an adapted version of M. Casby and J. A. Cumpata’s (1986)  Protocol for the Assessment of Prelinguistic Intentional Communication. For eliciting proto-declarative intentions, a video clip was used.

Results Results revealed a significant increase in both frequency and level of utterances for both types of proto-performatives. Although there was a clear development from nonlinguistic toward linguistic communication, utterances remained predominantly deictic–gestural for the imperative intentions and referential–gestural for declaratives.

Conclusions The data support the notion from the literature that both types of performatives are susceptible to elicitation. Results also suggest that after neonatal screening, both total communication and oral–aural approaches might accelerate conventionalization of the earliest communicative utterances of profoundly deaf toddlers.

Acknowledgments
The research reported in this article was supported by a special doctoral grant of the Fund for Scientific Research—Flanders (FWO) and by the Royal Special Education Center Jonghelinckshof in Antwerp, Belgium. The study was run in cooperation with Ghent University and Lessius College in Antwerp. We thank Amanda England for reviewing major parts of the article.
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