Shared attention, gaze and pointing gestures in hearing and deaf children

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This chapter illustrates the richness of pointing and gaze as integral elements of spontaneous oral interactions both in signing and speaking mother-child dyads. These attention-sharing behaviors help infants interpret their caregivers’ productions. The children will then use them as first communication tools. But they have a particular function for signing children since they are fully integrated into the formal linguistic system of sign language. A comparison between the use of pointing and gaze in the longitudinal data of one deaf signing and one deaf speaking little girl from eight months to two, shows that the deaf child uses gaze and pointing more frequently and with more diversified functions than the hearing child who combines visual and auditory means.


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