Language Development

"Parents should know that there is an urgency to assuring that children who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to language as quickly as possible", Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano

ASL Facilitates English and Spoken Language Skills

All Deaf* children can be bilingual by mastering American Sign Language (ASL) and English (reading and writing). ASL and English competency supports spoken language skills. We know all Deaf* children can acquire language visually,

Studies show that the learning of signed language has a positive effect on young Deaf children's spoken language skills." (Snodden, 2008, p. 587)

Early access to language (spoken or signed) is the best predictor of positive spoken language outcomes. (Yoshinaga-Itano & Sedey)

Spatial attention in infants has been found to play a crucial role in the early development of language, whether spoken or sign, as well as to promote healthy parent-infant attachment. (D. Baldwin, 1995)

Many professionals believe sign language hinders speech development in Deaf children. However, a growing corpus of research on the relationship between sign language and spoken language shows that by "facilitating deaf children's acquisition of a signed language enables their access to full linguistic input, which in turn promotes written and spoken language development" (Snodden, 2008, p. 597).

A psychosocial case study by Preisler, Tvingstedt, and Ahlstrom (2002) on Deaf preschoolers using cochlear implants showed "children who had an insufficient command of sign language or whose sign-language development was discontinued also had very little or no spoken language [and the researchers observed] as their sign language increased, they also developed more spoken language" (p. 411).

A case study by Blamey (2003) on signing Deaf and hard-of-hearing children wearing hearing devices resulted in a link being made between high-level linguistic competence and speech perception ability showing high proficiency level in sign language to be an important predictor of speech development. A similar case study by Yoshinaga-Itano and Sedey (2000) also showed a significant link between linguistic ability and speech intelligibility in Deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

California Early Start Language Planning Guide for Children Who Are Deaf.pdf
deaf bill of rights.pdf

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Special thanks to Michele Tompkins

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