Congenital Rubella Syndrome 2

Fourteen years after the first Australian research project, 17 deafblind children from Project I, as well as 23 from the “deaf only” sample, were reassessed. The purpose of this follow up research was to determine if the tests administered during Project I were still predictive of a child’s learning and behaviour fourteen year later. In other words, how did the deafblind group and the “deaf only” group develop?

The outcome of the study was quite surprising. It was found that a test of learning potential at age 5, using the Hiskey Nebraska Test of Learning Aptitude, was a good predictor of learning achievement during school age.

The “deaf only” group did well in language learning (Australian Sign Language) and vocational training. Their social skills, however, were less well developed. Many showed great dependence on their mothers. The hearing of some had worsened over the years. It’s interesting to note that many of their stereotypic behaviours had completely disappeared. No one met the criteria for autism.

The deafblind group’s development was less favourable. The subjects who performed poorly in the original motor test had the lowest language skills (only a few simple signs). The most worrying finding was that independent living skills developed rather poorly over the years, and many subjects still showed many symptoms of autism. Behaviour problems were fairly prominent in this group. Several had ocular problems, which, for some, led to total blindness.

On the basis of these findings, I have formulated a number of educational strategies to consider for children with multiple impairments, including those who are deafblind due to CRS. Go to Jan van Dijk publications: http://nationaldb.org/ISSelectedTopics.php?topicID=73&topicCatID=7.

Recent (2009) information about adults with CRS can be obtained by downloading a report on this subject. Visit: www.sense.org.uk and search for 'adults with crs'.

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