For children with hearing disabilities, the acquisition of basic Japanese pragmatic competence skills during the preschool period is one of the important predictors for inclusive elementary school adaptation. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors associated with pragmatic competence skills, including analogy, of such children during this period in Japan. The participants were 33 children who had graduated from a preschool day care center for the hearing impaired between 2006 and 2012. Their spoken Japanese pragmatic competence skills were measured using the "Test of Question-Answer Interaction Development," or "TQAID" (Toyama, H. et al., 1994). Pearson correlation analysis was performed to identify factors associated with the TQAID scores. The results indicated that the following factors had a significant correlation with the TQAID score: (1) hearing level of the unaided better-hearing ear, (2) hearing level with hearing aids or cochlear implants, (3) verbal IQ score on the WISC-R, (4) non-verbal IQ score on the WISC-R, and (5) parent involvement. Multiple regression analysis showed that hearing level with hearing aids or cochlear implants and non-verbal IQ score on the WISC-R explained 34% of variances in TQAID scores. These results confirm the importance of maintaining a suitable hearing level, by fitting hearing aids or cochlear implants, to enable spoken Japanese pragmatic competence development among hearing-disabled preschool children in Japan.
2014 The Japan Society of Logopedics and Phoniatrics