Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Mary Rohl


Much research has shown that the hearing impaired population typically achieve only very low levels of literacy. Many researchers have examined the language and literacy deficits of the hearing impaired population in order to explain this. Nevertheless, a recent study has shown that hearing impaired children's preschool language and literacy development may occur along a similar pathway to that of their hearing peers. The present study aimed to investigate the language and literacy skills, behaviours and interactions of two severely to profoundly hearing impaired middle primary boys in the context of their mainstream school. Both qualitative and quantitative data sources were accessed, which included background records, interviews, standardised testing, sample analyses and observations in the school environment. The boys were reported as having strong visual skills. Results showed that whilst they displayed delays in receptive language and metalinguistic awareness both boys were able to read, but with different levels of achievement: one showed delays in both word recognition and comprehension; the other demonstrated particularly strong word recognition but less highly developed comprehension. There were also differences between the boys in their levels of writing and social language. Nevertheless, whilst one of them showed appropriate social language and interaction skills, they were both often excluded by their hearing peers. Various peer, teacher and environmental factors were identified within the school setting which may have interfered with the boys' social interactions and language and literacy learning. These findings are interpreted in terms of theories of language and literacy acquisition in hearing impaired children and their integration into mainstream settings. Some implications for educational practice and further research are presented.