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New online resource provides ‘huge leap’ forward in deaf assessments

Start: Jun 07, 2016 12:00 AM

For the first time, teachers, clinicians and researchers will soon have access to a range of online tests that can be used to assess abilities in deaf children and adults, such as speech reading, sign language vocabulary and understanding.

The Portal Project has been developed in partnership between the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London, City University London and online resource developers, Cauldron. This new and innovative resource, will provide practitioners - for example teachers, clinical and educational psychologists and speech and language therapists - with on-line access to assessments of deafness, cognition and language developed through research carried out at DCAL over the last decade.

DCAL is the largest centre in Europe researching in the fields of sign linguistics, psychology and neuroscience and has brought together leading Deaf and hearing researchers, to provide unique insights into language and thought based on deaf people’s communication. Deafness is an important model to answer questions in linguistics, cognitive sciences and neuroscience and the work of DCAL has been of vital significance in advancing our knowledge and understanding in these areas.

The Portal site, officially launched today (7 June), will host a range of assessment tools which include:

· Sign language receptive skills (BSL RST)

· Tests of Child and Adult Speechreading (TOCS and TAS)

· A BSL vocabulary test and communicative development inventory (BSL VT and BSL CDI)

· A cognitive screening test designed to detect dementia and acquired cognitive impairment in older deaf adults who use British sign language (BSL CST)

· A BSL Aphasia Assessment Battery of British sign language and gesture ability in adults (BSL AAB)

Leading the project is Gary Morgan, Professor of Psychology in the School of Health Sciences at City University London and Deputy Director of DCAL. He has been conducting research at the research centre since 2006.

Commenting on the launch, Prof Morgan said:

“Working alongside City University London researcher, Abi Roper, we have taken some of the results of DCAL’s ground-breaking research work forward in this exciting project with Cauldron.

The DCAL Assessment Portal is a huge leap forward in allowing approved health and educational professionals to properly assess the cognitive and linguistic skills of both deaf children and adults.

This new online resource will include tests of child and adult speechreading, assessments of sign language vocabulary and grammar, and the only language and cognitive assessments in the world designed for deaf people with acquired neurological impairments such as stroke or dementia.

“The Portal will have a significant impact on the lives of deaf people if it is used by both specialist professionals and others who have a role in providing services for deaf children and adults.

“By giving professionals access to the assessment tools, NHS and educational services will be more effectively and efficiently targeted at individuals.”

The Portal can be accessed via the following address - https://dcalportal.org/.

-ENDS-

For further information or to receive a copy of the two-page briefing sheet, please contact:

Notes to editors

1. Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre is based at University College London. DCAL is a world-renowned centre of excellence for research on BSL. The centre brings together leading Deaf and hearing researchers in the fields of sign linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience. DCAL is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). http://www.dcal.ucl.ac.uk

2. Professor Bencie Woll, is a Fellow of the British Academy and is the Director of DCAL.

3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research into the big social and economic questions facing us today. It also develops and trains the UK’s future social scientists. Its research informs public policies and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. Most importantly, it makes a real difference to all our lives. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. www.esrc.ac.uk