UCL Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre


Deaf Children and Development

11 May 2013

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A considerable amount of DCAL's work focuses on research that is improving outcomes for deaf children. DCAL explores how deaf children acquire and use language, as well as how their brains develop. Using this information DCAL can help the parents of deaf children and people who work with deaf children develop tools and strategies to ensure that the children get the best start in life. On the following pages you can read more about some of DCAL's current research relating to deaf children and development.

Key facts about deaf children:

  • Around 1 in 600 deaf babies are born in the UK every year
  • 90-95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, the vast majority of whom do not have sign language skills
  • Deafness is not a learning disability, yet 65% of deaf children in England fail to achieve five GCSE grades A*-C (including English and maths)
  • Deaf children are 60% more likely to experience mental health problems compared to other children

Deaf Children's Development Conference

On 11 September 2012 DCAL hosted a conference on Deaf Children's Development at City University, Northampton Square, London. It was open to all with an interest in the subject and was entirely free.

Invited speakers included DCAL directors and other leading experts from the fields of child development, education and mental health. The day included a speakers' question and answer session with the chance for attendees to ask their questions and also give their opinion on where DCAL should take its research in the future. There were also information stalls, research demonstrations and refreshments, and BSL interpreters were available all day.

Over the last six years DCAL has been at the forefront of researching the key issues that impact on deaf children: from understanding how they acquire language and reading skills to gaining a better understanding of how deaf children learn to think about the world and how their brains develop. DCAL planned the conference to be an opportunity to bring this research to the widest possible audience in an accessible way and to be of special interest to Teachers of the Deaf, Speech and Language Therapists, Audiologists, other professionals working with deaf children, parents of newly identified deaf babies, and parents of deaf children; as well as all d/Deaf or hearing people interested in finding out what DCAL is about or to get up-to-date with the centre's latest research.

Read more at the Deaf Children's Development Conference blog