The world cannot reach its goal of “Education for All” without showing improvement in developing nations, such as India. Despite the political will and legal protections in India, nearly 50% of children drop out of school before eighth grade (MHRD Annual Report, 2008). Learning assessments in Indian schools indicate that children who do remain in school are not learning the basics of literacy and numeracy (S. Verma, 2007). Because of the policy of inclusive education, increasing numbers of children with disabilities attend mainstream schools. Although inclusion is often beneficial, children who are deaf find it difficult to compete in academics when compared with children who can hear because of their literacy skills. This study investigates whether differences in literacy skills exist between children with and without hearing loss prior to school. Thirty-four children with and without hearing loss between the ages of 5 and 6 were administered the Test of School Readiness to study the differential script and nonscript literacy skills. Results indicate that the children with hearing loss perform similarly to children with normal hearing on nonscript-related items; however, they lag behind on script-related items.
Department of Education, A.Y.J. National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (Dr Gathoo), under the administrative control of Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment Government of India (Ms Kulkarni), Mumbai, India.
Correspondence: Varsha Gathoo, PhD, A.Y.J. National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai 400 050, India firstname.lastname@example.org or Kasturi Kulkarni, MA, MEd (HI), University of Mumbai, Mumbai 400 032, India (email@example.com).
The authors thank the children and schools that participated in the study, which helped to create a database for emergent literacy skills. They also thank to the authors of the Test of School Readiness, Drs. Varsha Gathoo and Suni Mathew, for permitting the use of the test as a research tool for the present study. The study would not have been possible without the support of the Department of Education, A.Y.J. National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai, India.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.