Development and Deaf Children

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a. Erik Drasgow discussed in his article how important early exposure is for deaf children (Drasgow 1998). Unlike hearing children who are exposed to language early in the womb, deaf children get their exposure to language at birth (Drasgow 1998). Drasgow explains that studies show the earlier language is developed the higher children excel in language skills (Drasgow 1998). Deaf children born to deaf parents will acquire language as easily as hearing child born to hearing parents develops a spoken language (Drasgow 1998). It is vital for a child receive complete exposure to a natural language within their first twelve months (Drasgow 1998). Suppose a child does not have access to language until the age of six or seven, that child may never acquire a natural language (Drasgow 1998).

Parents. Parents are the biggest influence for children, hearing or deaf. A deaf child born to deaf parents adapt language normally, because the parents know how to relate to their child. However, a deaf child born to hearing parents, who have no prior exposure to the deaf culture, struggle to learn how to communicate with their child. The absence of communication will interfere with a child’s development (Easterbrooks & Baker 2002). Hearing parents do try their best, but there are things a deaf child needs. The knowledge of visual and spatial relationships is a skill most hearing parents do not understand, however their child will need that understanding (Easterbrooks & Baker 2002). Also, we have learned that the signed language relies heavily on facial expressions and non-manual markers. If hearing parents choose manual communication they are so focused on the signs the parents lose the important facials that make up the signed language (Ea...

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