By Mairéad MacSweeney, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.
I work with people who are born severely or profoundly deaf in order to inform our understanding of how the brain processes language. People born deaf can provide a unique insight into how the brain processes language. This is because the vast majority of the population are born hearing, and hear spoken language even before they are born, while still in the womb. They are always surrounded by it. But for a child who is born profoundly deaf, the situation is very different. By definition they have incomplete access to spoken language. In addition some deaf children may access a purely visual language – in this country – British Sign Language. We can look at language development and brain development in these children to gain unique insights into how…
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