Equal opportunities in mathematics: what does research on how young deaf children learn teach us?

Mariana Fuentes


In this article we review research on teaching and learning mathematics by young deaf children. Research proves that deaf children show a delay in learning mathematics but reveals that the number development process should be very similar in deaf and hearing children. Previous and recent studies agree that the difficulties young children have in learning mathematics are linked to difficulties obtaining information in an incidental way from their environment. Considering deafness not as a cause but as a risk factor of difficulties in learning mathematics (Nunes and Moreno, 1998) opens a way of overcoming difficulties via adapting teaching strategies to the learning capabilities of deaf children. Research recommends taking advantage of deaf children’s preferred ways of processing information and of their better spatial processing skills. The reviewed studies reveal a hopeful future regarding the achievement of equal opportunities for deaf and hearing persons in this important area of knowledge.


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