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New Grant to Spur Deafness Research

The federal Education Department is putting $10 million behind a new center to study students with hearing difficulties, my colleague Nirvi Shah discusses over at On Special Education.

As I've previously reported, deaf students tend to have pretty abysmal reading levels, with the average 18-year-old deaf student reading at about the same level as an 8- to 9-year-old student with normal hearing. It's a prime area for education study, and some research is already showing interesting links between how the brain processes sound and how it develops general language and even math ability.

Susan R. Easterbrooks, who studies deaf education at the University of Georgia, where the center is to be located, is tracking deaf students' performance on state reading assessments; her research suggests deaf students may use visual phonics to help remember words even when they cannot use the phonemes to "sound out" new words.

For more on the grant, check out Nirvi's blog.

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