March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/14/2016  |   11:05 AM - 11:35 AM   |  Topical Session 1   |  Royal Palm 1/2   |  7 - Family Perspectives and Support

Communication and Psychosocial Functioning in Children with Hearing Loss and Additional Disabilities: Supportive Factors and Interventions

Children with hearing loss and additional disabilities face complex challenges in communication and interpersonal functioning. Despite the high proportion of children in this particular subgroup, little research has been done to investigate factors that contribute to the development of communication and social skills in the presence of both hearing loss and an additional disability. To address this gap in the literature, several measures were administered to parents of children with hearing loss and additional disabilities to examine the role of factors internal and external to the child on the child’s communication skills and psychosocial functioning. Results of correlation analyses showed that stronger parent-child attachment (i.e., closeness, empathy, and understanding) corresponded with healthier child psychosocial functioning, including better self-esteem and fewer experiences of child emotional distress, and better parent-child communication. In turn, stronger parent-child communication was positively related to the child’s individual communication skills. Importantly, changes in parent-child attachment relative to child age were observed, such that parents of older children yielded weaker attachment. In summary, the results suggest that the parent-child relationship plays a fundamental role in the development of child communication skills and psychosocial functioning. Directions for comprehensive and age-appropriate supports that address the complex needs of children and their families, including therapy approaches that aim to strengthen parent-child attachment (e.g., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy), and communication strategies, will be discussed.

  • Describe the complex interpersonal challenges faced by children with hearing loss and additional disabilities and their families.
  • Identify key factors that are correlated with the development of skills necessary for child communication and interpersonal relationships among this special group of children.
  • List child and family interventions that address the key factors that support communication and interpersonal skills in children with hearing loss and additional disabilities.

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Angela Turner (Primary Presenter), Gallaudet University, angela.turner@gallaudet.edu;
I am a predoctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Denver in Colorado. My graduate training includes a specialization in working with individuals who have hearing loss. My research and clinical interests involve working with children with hearing loss and additional disabilities and their families to support their unique needs and strengths, particularly as they develop the skills necessary for healthy interpersonal relationships.


Financial - Receives Grants for Other activities from Gallaudet University's Research Support and International Affairs.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.