Linnaeus Centre HEAD, Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Sweden
Mary Rudner’s research interest is in the link between language and memory. In particular, she is interested in how signed and spoken languages are organized in the brain.
There is substantial evidence that domain general cognitive skills support language processing across the modalities of sign and speech. Swedish special schools for deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children have a bilingual curriculum whereby written Swedish is learned through the medium of Swedish Sign Language (SSL). We investigated the cognitive underpinnings of learning to read in children who were beginning readers and who attended Swedish special schools for DHH children. We found that word reading and its development were associated with the ability to process signs at the sublexical level. Further, we found some evidence that development of word reading is supported by training the links between signed and written language. This suggests that sublexical processing may be a supramodal mechanism underlying word reading and its development.