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Deficits and Disabilities

Language Development


Picture Above:
Top Left: deaf signers watching BSL (left side of brain)
Bottom Left: (right side of brain)
Top Right: hearing speakers watching English (left side)
Bottom Right: (right side)
These pictures show that the regions of the brain used by Deaf people watching sign, and that the hearing people watching and listening to speech are quite similar, even tho speech and sign are so different.

  • As previously mentioned, language is a skill that only humans can obtain. A commonly asked question in regards to humans and language is: What is so special about human brains that lets us understand language?
  • Luckily, those of us who are deaf can help us find the answer. Since deaf people develop language skills through speech-reading and sign language, they must make use of the parts of the brain that DO NOT use hearing.

  • Researchers have also discovered that the auditory cortex (the area that hearing people use to process sound) can also be used to process sign language by those who use signing as a form of language.
  • However, for hearing native signers (those born of deaf parents) this area of the brain is still mainly used for processing sound.
  • This research does in fact show just how flexible our brains can be.