Study Shows Sign Language Can Benefit Deaf Children
To sign or not to sign? This question has been a long-standing focus of discussion within the medical and educational speech/language communities. Some argue that teaching a deaf child to sign may hinder their ability to speak as they grow and develop. Additionally, they often claim a deaf child who is simultaneously introduced to sign language and spoken English may become confused.
However, a large number of professionals believe sign language is a tremendous benefit for deaf children. A study conducted at La Trobe University in Australia further supports this side of the debate.
The Australian study was released in 2012 and evaluated deaf adults who had learned sign language at different periods:
- At birth
- Between the ages of 2 – 8
- As a second language later in life
According to the results, the children who were exposed to sign language at birth were able to get a more accurate grasp of British Sign Language. They also had more success at learning language than children who learned sign language later in life. The researchers acknowledged that, even with the advancements in technology for cochlear implants and hearing aids, the benefits of early sign language are evident.
Unfortunately, research pertaining to the effects sign language could potentially have on a child are almost scarce. What little there is usually focuses on the positive effects of this form of communication. Some of the most recognized researchers and educators in the field of hearing loss admit there is no evidence against sign language and claim it can actually increase a child’s chances at learning spoken language.
Hope Can Help
At Hope Therapy Center, we understand that your child’s development is a top priority. For this reason, we’ll work diligently to help them flourish. Our caring speech therapists and pathologists will ensure that you and your child feel right at home.
Whether your child’s communicating ability needs to be evaluated with the best methods or is ready to begin developing with sign language, we can help.