Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Document Type


First Advisor

Lawrence H. Pick

Second Advisor

Deborah Maxwell McCaw


Although there has been a copious amount of research on deaf children’s language acquisition and academic abilities, our knowledge concerning the development of nonverbal cognitive functioning in this population remains limited. The Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) is a commonly used neuropsychological tool for the assessment of visuospatial, visuoconstructional, visuomemory, and executive functioning abilities. As a language-reduced test, it seems ideal for use with deaf children. Previous studies using different scoring systems indicate that deaf children perform average to slightly above average on the ROCF compared with hearing youth. However, minimal normative data and established cognitive developmental patterns for deaf children have resulted from these studies. The purposes of this pilot study were to determine whether the Developmental Scoring System (DSS) could be used to examine ROCF performance among deaf children and adolescents, as well as explore their specific patterns of cognitive development. Overall, this study found that deaf youth do appear to developmentally progress at relatively similar rates to hearing children and that the ROCF with DSS scoring is an appropriate assessment tool for this unique population. Interpretation of results suggest that considerations for age of hearing loss identification, gender and ethnicity be made when using the ROCF with deaf youth.



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