Sign Language Helps Deaf Children Learn Languages

While some hold that teaching a deaf child to communicate in sign language before he/she learns to read lips or is provided with a cochlear implant (or some other assistive hearing device) significantly decreases his/her ability to acquire spoken or written language, research conducted at Gallaudet University shows the opposite to be true…What is fact is that a child’s early language experiences provide him/her with a lifetime ability to learn. The key is for the child to develop fluency in a first language as early as possible in his/her life.

via Early Sign Language Acquisition Helps Deaf Children Learn Spoken and Written Languages.

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  • MM

    I’d need statistics to be convinced, I tend to think these claims are spin for sign usage more than an proven in to deaf people being multi-lingual. Most deaf I know sign OK have LOTS of problems with English, and other languages they wouldn’t even attempt.  I don’t personally know ANY born deaf person that signs well, and can speak fluent chinese or serbo-croat, I would suggest they would be an complete exception to the rule, not an norm of any kind.  Other language acquisition tends to be very localized to family etc.  I can speak some welsh, and English and sign a bit, but wouldn’t consider myself bi-lingual even.

    • Rob Williams

      I understand what you mean. Statistics would be good, but the article didn’t provide them. However, I do think that at least the concept of teaching children a primary language early will help them to develop an ability to learn more — as opposed to delaying their language development. So far, it’s just my opinion.