Sign Language Use for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing Babies: The Evidence Supports ItDrawing from a large body of research, there is a clear argument favoring the use of sign language with all children, regardless of their hearing status. This argument is based on three basic points:
- Early language learning experiences affect other areas of development and are critical to children’s future success.
- Sign language provides the earliest possible mode through which children can learn expressive language skills.
- All children can benefit from the use of sign language, with no risk to other language skills
- Hearing children
- Deaf children
- Hard of hearing children
- Any child benefiting from technological auditory assistance
- The brain is most receptive to language acquisition during “sensitive periods” early in a child’s development.
- Deaf and hard of hearing children who receive early intervention services have been found to have better language outcomes.
- High levels of family involvement have been found to produce greater language development outcomes in deaf and hard of hearing children.
- Acquiring a complete first language during early childhood is critical for later reading comprehension.
- Learning two languages (that is, American Sign Language and English) is advantageous for deaf and hard of hearing children.
- A child’s language foundation is an important factor in spoken language development.
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