Dr. Shirin D. Antia

Dr. Shirin D. Antia, 

Meyerson Distinguished Professor

of Disability and Rehabilitation,

University of Arizona

Wednesday, June 24, 2020,

2:30–3:30 pm,

delivered via Zoom webinar*

Note: The Arizona Senior Academy Building remains closed.

Childhood deafness influences all aspects of development, but particularly communication. Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) children’s disability is not conducive to learning language naturally from interactions with adults. Vocabulary acquisition, so important for reading comprehension and ultimately, academic success, is impeded. Dr. Antia will explain why and how childhood hearing loss affects communication development including vocabulary learning. 

The UA Center on Literacy and Deafness (CLAD) national study on vocabulary outcomes of DHH children found that students K–2 were below average. Given the importance of vocabulary knowledge, Dr. Antia’s group at the University of Arizona developed and tested the effectiveness of vocabulary intervention. 

She will describe the two kinds of instruction developed. Using “in-context” instruction, teachers introduce children to new words through interactive book reading and teacher-led conversation. In the second “explicit” instruction teachers draw attention to the new words, provide child-friendly definitions, and engage children in structured activities designed to elicit expressive practice in saying or signing the new words.

The vocabulary in the experiment drew on K-2 level science themes. Vocabulary targeted was unknown to the children, but selected for frequent use. Testing showed that children learned the target words in both situations but the “in-context” plus “explicit” instruction resulted in more rapid acquisition of more target words, and better maintenance of vocabulary than the “in-context” instruction alone.

Shirin D. Antia, is the Meyerson Distinguished Professor of Disability and Rehabilitation, at the University of Arizona. Currently she is a co-principal investigator of the Center for Literacy and Deafness (CLAD). She is past president of the Association of College Educators-Deaf/Hard of Hearing (ACE-DHH), has published numerous articles on inclusion of DHH students, and recently co-authored a book on social competence of DHH students. Dr. Antia has been honored as a UA College of Education Erasmus Scholar, and with the Lifetime Achievement award from ACE-DHH for her contributions to the field.

Written by Maria Dobozy, Academy Village Volunteer

*Directions for accessing the Webinar are available at info@arizonasenioracademy.org.


June 24: “Facilitating Communication in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children”