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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Julie Rattray

J. Rattray & M. Suzanne Zeedyk (2005). Early Communication in Dyads with Visual Impairment. Infant and Child Development 14(3): 287-309.

Author(s) from Durham


The ability of dyads with restricted access to the visual channel of communication to establish a reliable pre-linguistic communicative signalling system has traditionally been viewed as problematic. Such a conclusion is due in part to the emphasis that has been placed on vision as central to communication by traditional theory. The data presented in this paper question these assertions. The results of a longitudinal study exploring the nature of early dyadic interactions in dyads with visual impairment are presented. The dyads' use of three types of non-visual behaviour - touch, vocalizations and facial orientation - were investigated in terms of their potential as alternatives to visual communication. It is argued that the results are evidence that visually impaired dyads engage in sophisticated communicative exchanges prior to infants' acquisition of language.