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Cognitive development

These pages detail assessments that can be used to assess and monitor deaf children’s cognitive development. This information should be used alongside Key principles and effective practice.

The assessment of cognitive development in deaf children is extremely important and should be carried out by those familiar with communicating with deaf children. It is crucial that any communication or language difficulties don’t impact on the results of the assessment. It is also important to use an assessment which looks at a range of areas of development. It may be that the deaf child has an uneven pattern of development, with differing areas of strengths and weaknesses, and only a full assessment will bring this to light.  

A full assessment may highlight another area of difficulty. It has been estimated that between 30 and 40% of deaf children are likely to have another difficulty, the most common being a moderate learning difficulty. In the past, these difficulties may not have been diagnosed in the presence of severe to profound deafness. Today, with early diagnosis of deafness and better hearing technologies being fitted earlier, it is important that any cognitive assessment is carried out in good acoustic surroundings, with the best hearing technology used, to enable the assessor to uncover any other areas of difficulty the child may have.

Most of the tests in this section provide a range of assessments. Many can only be used by an educational or clinical psychologist. Use the links below to find out more.

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth UK Edition (WPPSI-IV)

Age range? 2 years, 6 months-7 years, 7 months
Who can use it? Registered Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) practitioner psychologist

Wechsler Non-Verbal Scale of Ability (WNV)

Age range? 4-21 years, 11 months
Who can use it? Registered HCPC practitioner psychologist

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth UK Edition (WISC V UK)

Age range? 6-16 years, 11 months
Who can use it? Registered HCPC practitioner psychologist 

British Ability Scales, Third Edition (BAS3)

Age range? 3-17 years, 11 months
Who can use it? Educational and clinical psychologists

Test of Non-verbal Intelligence (TONI-4)

Age range? 6 years-adult
Who can use it? Psychologists and teachers

Raven's Educational Matrices

Age range? Depends on matrix used, but between 4 and 18 years
Who can use it? Any relevant professional 

Griffiths III

Age range? Birth-6 years
Who can use it? Paediatricians and health professionals who have received training

Cognitive Ability Tests (CAT4)

Age range? Between 7 year, 6 months and 17 years
Who can use it? Teachers

Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVRT)

Age range? 8-14 years
Who can use it? Teachers