University of Edinburgh

Achievements of Deaf Pupils in Scotland

Presented in February 2004

Information on visual impairments/disabilities/learning difficulties reported in the 2000/01 questionnaire

Dr Jackie Grigor, Consultant Paediatrician, Edinburgh Sick Children's NHS Trust


Coding system for VI Classification

As suggested by Andrew Blaikie (Ophthalmology Research Fellow, Scotish Sensory Centre)

Not VI

No suggestion that the child should be VI although can't say for absolute certainty. Most common category is 'wears glasses'.

Possibly VI

Condition predisposes to VI, but not enough information to be sure that it is bilateral (eg:'cataracts' - this would only be classififed as VI if bilateral).

Likely to be VI

Condition usually leaves child with some form of bilateral incorrectable visual difficulty. Most brain conditions included here (eg: cerebral palsy [expect 70% have VI] and Downs Syndrome [some argue 90 - 100% have VI].

Definitely VI

Description of visual difficulty and condition makes VI a certainty.

Rule of thumb: = 6/18 or less (fourth from bottom of Snellen Chart).

Medical conditions (other than VI) and learning difficulties

  • 355 individual medical conditions reported
  • 6 times as many pupils were reported to have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (146) as the next highest specific learning difficulty, dyslexia (25)
  • 207 children were reported to have 'other cognitive or language processing disorders'.

Why do we need an overall percentage of 'deaf pupils with additional disabilities'?

  • Planning of additional resources
  • Viewing the 'whole child'
  • Explaining any underachievement?

Percentages reported of 'deaf children with additional disabilities'

30.2% Gallaudet Research Institute (1983)
38.7% MRC IHR: 'Trent Study' (1996)
43.4% Gallaudet Research Institute (2000/01)
30.1% MRC IHR: UK study (1998)

Do such percentages lead to lower expectations of achievement compared to hearing children?

If so, is this justified?

Do we know how the prevalence compares to the general population?

How much does an individual condititon impact on learning/access to the curriculum?

Who diagnosed the condititon and on what basis?

Coding System for classification of medical conditions

As suggested by Dr Jackie Grigor (Consultant Paediatrician, Edinburgh Sick Children's NHS Trust)

Not available for distribution: work in progress - please contact author.

ADPS Survey 2000/01 - children with one or more entries in questionnaire related to VI/medical/cognitive conditions.

Not available for distribution: work in progress - please contact authors.

'Other cognitive or language processing disorders among deaf preschool children and group A school pupils in Scotland, as reported in questionnaire 2000/01 (n=207)

mild learning difficulties 7
moderate learning difficulties 40
severe learning difficulties 24
general learning difficulties 24
developmental delay 20
behavioural difficulties 5
speech and language difficulties 52
other specific cognitive disorders


other difficulties 9

Some examples of 'other cognitive' entries

'language delay/immature speech'
'speech and language development impaired'
'yes but no specific label'
'problem with reading'
'language delay'
'mild speech difficulty'
'speech is not entirely articulate'

There is a need for:

  • caution over broad percentages which include categories for disability 'for which there are no objective criteria for memebership' (danger of labelling);
  • further investigation of meaningful impact of conditions on learning - quantity and quality;
  • teachers of deaf children to get clear information on conditions which affect learning.