University of Edinburgh

Deafness, spoken language acquisition and learning English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Presented on Tuesday, 1st May 2018


This one-day course offered a mixture of lectures and interactive workshops on the following topics:

  • Bi/multilingualism and EAL: Sequential bilingual development; Bilingualism and language difficulties.
  • EAL and deaf children: Exposure to spoken languages; Hearing speech sounds; First language? Non-verbal communication; Communication and interaction.
  • Practical issues for teachers: Supporting families; Supporting EAL pupils; Assessments.
  • Resources and references.

Merle offered an individual Q&A session in a surgery-type format; participants were encouraged to bring particular questions, or case data, that they wanted to discuss.

Participants said:

"It was great to discuss different cases and hear tips to be put into practice."

"Interesting and relevant. Practical suggestions. Particularly loved the videos of O's progress!"

Target Audience

All professionals working with deaf young people either in mainstream or specialist provision, and parents & carers.


Dr Merle Mahon, Language and Cognition Research, Psychology and Language Science, UCL London


10.05 am Bilingualism basics Home languages and supporting families Merle Mahon

11.15 am Deaf children learning EAL

1.15 pm Assessment issues: Supporting EAL deaf children in the classroom

2.30 pm Q & A Surgery session: participants’ questions/cases & Top tips

3.30 pm Course Evaluation and close