The Impact of Hearing Loss on Literacy Development: The Role of the Home and School


 This paper is part of a broad study that looked at the impact of hearing loss on literacy skills development. The paper explores the role of the home and the school in the development of literacy skills among learners with hearing impairments. The study employed mixed methods where both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used.  However, the case study design largely underpinned the study. The representative sample was composed of five educators (two teachers and three administrators) and 10 parents who were conveniently selected. Questionnaires, interviews and observation were the data gathering tools used. The results showed that educators felt that the curriculum did not support both English and Zimbabwean Sign Language equally as needed for literacy development in the teaching of students with hearing impairment. From the observations and interviews carried out, it was established that there was no equal time allocation on the timetable to both languages. There was no formal teaching of Zimbabwean Sign Language as a subject like English. There were no materials that could be used in the teaching of Zimbabwean Sign Language. The study recommended that language development should be the primary consideration when teaching students who are pre-lingually deaf (either born deaf or became deaf before acquiring language). To counteract the apparent language deficit in hearing families with children who are deaf it was recommended that a variety of strategies to provide meaningful language experiences be employed. Teachers were encouraged to share these suggestions with families, as well as remember them in their own teaching.