Analogous and distinctive patterns of prelinguistic communication in toddlers with and without hearing loss

Anat Zaidman-Zait*, Esther Dromi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study was conducted to compare the prelinguistic communicative abilities of toddlers with hearing loss and without hearing loss during the 2nd year of life and shortly before the emergence of productive single-word lexicons. Method: The participants were 28 toddlers with hearing loss who participated in an early intervention program and 92 toddlers with normal hearing at similar language levels and close chronological ages. The assessment consisted of the Hebrew Parent Questionnaire - Communication and Early Language (HPQ-CEL; E. Dromi, H. Ben-Shahar-Treitel, E. Guralnik, & D. Ringwald-Frimerman, 1992) that guided parents' observations of their toddlers in 6 contexts at home. Parents reported on a range of prelinguistic communicative abilities. Results: Profile analysis indicated that the 2 groups used a remarkably similar overall profile of prelinguistic behaviors. Interrelationships among behaviors were noticeably similar, too. Two communication properties unique to toddlers with hearing loss were relatively lower spontaneous use of words and reduced involvement in triadic book reading interactions. In addition, the associations between use of words and gestures in toddlers with hearing loss were slightly different from the toddlers with normal hearing, and the range of innovative gestures that they produced was greater. Conclusion: The remarkable similarity between the 2 groups support the feasibility of adopting goals and principles known to hold true in typical development for fostering communication in toddlers with hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1180
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2007


  • Communication strategies
  • Deafness
  • Infants and toddlers
  • Linguistics
  • Parents


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