Research has found that “Deaf individuals who are exposed to language at earlier ages consistently outperform deaf individuals exposed to language at later ages on tests of signed language knowledge and processing” (Firkins 34). In fact, according to study from the California School for the Deaf shows that deaf children who are exposed to American Sign Language can acquire language at a faster rate than a hearing child.. Thier study shows that when hearing children are learning their first word at 12 months, deaf children who are learning American Sign Language will already understand a few singed phrases. While a hearing child will understand simple phrases, can says 20-50 words, and uses two word phrases at 18 months, the child who is learning American Sign Language will be able to say 30-70 words, look at a picture book with parents, and use 2-5 word phrases (Redeafined). This is only possible if parents are actively interacting with their child. Although you may not be able to hear your child speak their first word, giving them American Sign Language will allow them...
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...cause it is believed that it will “hurt auditory tissue development”. Only four percent of these implants work so, the rest of the deaf children who have these implants are left with wasted time and no language.
The importance of English to the hearing world is also a factor to the challenges Deaf learners face. There are many people who believe that using English is the only way you can do well in America. This idea causes parents to force English onto their Deaf children. Many parents put their child through difficult speech classes so they can learn to be “normal”. This is actually very harmful for the acquisition of language. Early exposure to language is very important. Late exposure to language will cause great difficulty in cognitive development which in turn make school very challenging. School will feel impossible for a Deaf child with no full language.
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