Comment on "Linguistic deficiency and thinking: Research with deaf subjects 1964-1969."
AbstractIn H. Furth's previous review of 39 studies, with some exceptions, deaf children performed as well as hearing children on cognitive tasks. Because Furth believes that deaf subjects are linguistically deficient, he concluded that the thinking processes of deaf children are similar to those of hearing children and therefore must be explained without recourse to verbal processes. He offers as evidence for language deficiency 1 standardization study which shows that the mean reading achievement of deaf students on the nationally standardized Metropolitan Achievement Tests (MAT) falls below 4th grade equivalence. The present authors argue that (a) the MAT was normative referenced and does not provide evidence for an inability to handle English sentences, and (b) there exists still other evidence of deaf student mean achievement at 4th and 5th grade equivalence. Deaf Ss cannot be regarded as language deficient without explicit demonstration to that effect. Failing this, the reviewed studies cannot be said to contribute evidence for or against the hypothesis that language is not related to or required for cognitive development.