|Thursday, 01 May 2008|
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Research Supporting ASL
ASL and Spoken English - A Bilingual Program
An article by Sharon Graney, MS SLP, featured in Perspectives in Education and Deafness, Volume 16, Number 2, November/December 1997 issue, explains how using ASL can "facilitate the development of skills in spoken English for deaf and hard of hearing children."
Linguistics of Sign:
In linguistic terms, sign languages are as rich and complex as any oral language, despite the common misconception that they are not "real languages". Professional linguists have studied many sign languages and found them to have every linguistic component required to be classed as true languages.
Sign languages are not pantomime - in other words, signs are largely arbitrary and have no necessary visual relationship to their referent, much as most spoken language is not onomatopoeic. Nor are they a visual rendition of an oral language. They have complex grammars of their own, and can be used to discuss any topic, from the simple and concrete to the lofty and abstract.
Cognitive development in deaf children: the interface of language and perception in neuropsychology
…”the young brain is very plastic and works to capacity. When auditory information in unavailable, the brain allocates resources to processing of peripheral vision information.”
“The language difficulties endemic to the population are preventable and caused by lack of exposure to accessible linguistic input at the right time in human development, namely infancy and early childhood. The language difficulties caused by postponing exposure to accessible language until late childhood and adolescence are permanent and not ameliorated by substituting sign language for spoken language.”
“The relationship between ASL language ability and reading achievement was further investigated by Chamberlain (2001) who hypothiesized that well developed reading skill is predicated on well developed language skills…”
Study finds there's a critical time for learning all languages including sign language
“….. research has implications for early education of all children because it stressed the need for early language exposure at critical times in development. And now, it is equally important in education for the deaf to ensure linguistic competency in ASL.
The National Institute of Deafness and Communicative Disorders, the National Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, the Charles A. Dana Foundation and a University of Oregon post-graduate scholarship funded the research.”
New Language Learning Linked To Early Language Experience
"People have always thought that the human capacity to learn language simply disappears as the brain ages," she said. "Our research shows that when the young brain learns language, it develops a lifelong capacity to learn language. When the young brain does not experience language, this language learning capacity does not fully develop."
American Sign Language Spoken Here
Before William Stokoe's groundbreaking research, American Sign Language (ASL) was erroneously viewed as a pantomime, a poor substitute for spoken speech. Now ASL is recognized as a language with its own syntax, morphology, and structure.
“Before Stokoe's work, educators favored the "oralist" educational approach advocated by famed inventor Alexander Graham Bell. The approach emphasized teaching students to read lips and pronounce words without the use of signing. During this time, some schools even used physical punishment if deaf students tried to use sign language.
Both NSF and Stokoe were originally criticized for his research efforts, yet ultimately critics were silenced by Stokoe's results. He proved that ASL was a language under definitions set by linguists. The research has revolutionized deaf education in the United States. Educators now know that children who use signing from a young age develop a full range of cognitive skills. Stokoe's dictionary, re-published in 1976, is an established reference and a text for educators. ASL is even an independent research discipline, with graduate courses and doctoral studies in universities in the United States and abroad. NSF continues to support linguistics research through the division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences within NSF's directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.”
“… In other words, exposing a hard of hearing child to Sign Language early is not considered to be risky or detrimental (Ahlström, in press; Preisler, 1983, 1990).”
Mother of CI regrets not using sign language earlier: http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/483936.html
“Being able to use both modes of communication doesn't just come in handy when something goes wrong with the implant. Experts say it also allows deaf children to access the deeper meanings of the world around them, which could increase their future academic options.”
ASL and Spoken English:
“Using American Sign Language can facilitate the development of skills in spoken English for deaf and hard of hearing children.”
“In my experience, the opposite is true. The current trend to educate deaf children bilingually—with the use of American Sign Language—has opened new possibilities for developing spoken English. By appreciating the cultural identity of deaf children and using their natural linguistic strengths, a speech-language therapist can foster a communicative process that leads to the development of spoken and written English. In fact, the experience of many speech-language therapists in such environments has been that when deaf children develop a solid language base in American Sign Language, teaching spoken communication is easier.”
Marlon Kuntze on Helping Deaf Children to Read:
Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning
VL2 is a Science of Learning Center (SLC) on Visual Language and Visual Learning, one of six SLCs funded by the National Science Foundation. The purpose of VL2 is to gain a greater understanding of cognitive, linguistical, sociocultural, and pedagogical conditions that influence the acquisition of language and knowledge through visual modality.
Sign Language Acquisition Projects
Dr. Richard P. Meier, Principal Investigator University of Texas Children's Research Lab
Signed Language Assessment
The MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory for American Sign Language
Language Development of Hispanic Deaf Children
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center