, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 333-360
Date: 16 Sep 2006

Text composition by deaf and hearing middle-school students: The role of working memory

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The aim of this study was to compare the compositional performances of deaf and hearing students and to investigate the relationships between these performances and working memory capacities. Fifteen prelingually deaf, sign-using students and 15 hearing students composed a descriptive text and performed working memory tasks. The deaf students had poorer compositional performances in terms of fluency and spelling. They also displayed shorter writing and phonological spans. Correlations indicate that greater visuospatial capacity is associated with better conceptual processing in hearing students, but with an increase in grammatical errors in both deaf and hearing students. In the conclusion, we evoke ways of improving writing skills in deaf students in relation to working memory.