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Keywords:

  • Hearing loss;
  • attachment;
  • parent-child interaction;
  • home background;
  • personality;
  • social behavior

Parent-child communication plays a central role in social growth, as it does in other domains of development. Over 90 % of deaf children, however, have hearing parents who frequently do not have a fully effective means of communicating with them. This paper examines the role of effective parent-child communication in the social and emotional development of deaf children. Evidence concerning relations between early communication and social-emotional development of deaf children is reviewed, and superficial differences in the ways that parents interact with deaf versus hearing children are distinguished from differences that may have more significant and enduring effects. Hearing parents and their deaf children are found to develop alternative, often nonverbal, interaction strategies. Of primary interest is the extent to which those strategies have impact comparable to the strategies of hearing parents with hearing children or deaf parents with deaf children.