Description of Research Report: Early Blindness May Be Associated with Changes in Performance on Verbal Fluency Tasks
Studies of how children who are blind acquire and use language have focused less on cognitive compensations and more on delays in development. Vision is important in the establishment of early communicative patterns, and sighted children regularly use contextual visual information, such as a speaker's gestures and eye gaze, to make sense of speech that is directed at them (Mills, 1988). Some researchers have argued that, in the absence of vision, children may be expected to have more difficulty understanding concepts and the relationships between them and in acquiring generalizations about language and the way it works (Andersen, Dunlea, & Kekelis, 1993). In contrast, it has been argued that linguistic experience may be more
important for children who are blind than for sighted children and that children who are blind may pay more attention to language (Chomsky, 1990; Perez-Pereira & Castro, 1997).