An investigation of the cognitive profile of deaf and hard of hearing students on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition

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In the academic setting, the measure of intelligence is used to predict the success of learning or to identify possible disabilities due to identified strengths and weaknesses in cognitive processes. The predominant theory of intelligence is the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory in which broad cognitive processes are determined by the measurement of narrow abilities within each broad area of cognition. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V) is a cognitive tool that provides scores of both the broad and narrow cognitive processes, which can then provide a profile of strengths and weakness to be used for individualized educational planning. The purpose of this study was to determine if a cognitive profile exists on the WISC-V for D/HH students. Furthermore, if the cognitive profile is affected by known dependent variables (amplification, degree of hearing loss, mode of communication). Participants were first through fifth grade students who had been identified as D/HH and had been administered the WISC-V. A total of 49 students met criteria for the study. In addition to subtests and index scores, the degree of hearing loss, mode of communication, and type of amplification used was recorded. Results showed that overall the profile of the D/HH student was within the average range established by the WISC-V norms except in the area of Verbal Knowledge (Gc) which was slightly below average. The Vocabulary subtest was also found to be below average. Type of amplification did not appear to significantly impact the profile of the broad or narrow abilities. The degree of hearing loss identified moderate to severe and profound had a significant difference in Gs and Coding. The mode of communication had reported significant differences in NVI, Gv, Gf, and in Visual Puzzles, Matrix Reasoning, and Picture Span subtests. This study demonstrates that D/HH students perform similarly to the expected norms on the WISC-V verbal and nonverbal indexes. However, the Crystalized Knowledge Index and more specifically Vocabulary subtest are below the expected norms and are important factors when considering educational planning for D/HH students.

Deaf, Hard of hearing, Deaf/hard of hearing, Cognition, WISC-IV, Intelligence, Auditory impairment