Biden Plan Cites Research

Dr. Jodi Falk, Executive Director St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf, and Dr. Amanda Howerton Fox at Iona College had their recent research on Deaf education cited in President-Elect Biden’s Plan for Full Participation and Equality for People with Disabilities:

“…language deprivation for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in the early years of life can have lasting impact on a child’s language and cognitive skills. Biden will provide parents, health care providers, and early childhood professionals the resources needed to support these children, including access to….language-rich environments, and work with the community to develop development milestones. He will ensure that early intervention professionals provide equitable resources to support language learning to parents of children aged 0-5.” Read the full plan 

About the Research

The research is a literature review that looks at evidence in support of classifying deaf and hard of hearing children as ‘English Learners’ and the educational opportunities that label can carry. The review also looks at the implications for developing the literacy skills of signing deaf children, particularly as a ‘bridge’ between sign language proficiency and print-based literacy.

Here’s a passage from the review that talks about the long-term social-emotional impact of early signed communication at home:

Advantages of American Sign Language

“… two predictors of sound mental health for deaf adolescents are early signed communication in the home and the ability of deaf teenagers to communicate effectively with their parents. Furthermore, Allen, Letteri, Choi, and Dang found a statistically significant relationship between early language development and the socialization of young deaf children, “including less impulsivity and greater social adaptation.” There is also research to suggest that a strong Deaf identity, which often has its foundation in the use of a signed language within a Deaf community, leads to improved social relations, self-evaluation, academic achievement, and perceived family acceptance, as well as to higher levels of self-esteem, psychological well-being, and overall life-satisfaction.”


Here at ASDC, our mission to bring families together through American Sign Language. We help parents connect with their child through ASL and connect with the Deaf community through mentors. Join ASDC and get the resources you need to start learning ASL today!