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Mechanisms of Reading in the Deaf

Although it is understood that deaf individuals may experience difficulty in learning to read, the neural basis of this phenomenon is unclear. In this project, behavioral and fMRI measures are used to explore the neurobiological basis of phonological processing and reading in deaf and hearing adults. A group of deaf adults who use Cued Speech (a manual communication system that contains the phonological information of English, which should result in better access to the phonological code of language) will be compared to hearing adults. These results will increase understanding of how the neural basis of reading is altered through early sensory experience. A greater understanding of how deaf individuals gain access to phonological information and read more efficiently may provide new insights into the compensatory mechanisms involved in reading remediation. The results of this study could potentially provide information leading to the development of more effective language instruction and intervention programs for both hearing and deaf individuals with reading disabilities.

(Funding Source: NICHD)

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