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My nephew is deaf and if he learns sign language he won’t learn to speak will he?
This is a common assumption that is even shared by some professionals. Like all children, deaf children have the ability to take from and use language according to need. A bi-lingual option ensures that deaf children have the opportunity to develop signed and spoken language, and can use either to meet their needs in different situations and at different stages. (Not to be confused with “Total Communication” which mixes sign with spoken language, often losing the integrity of both). Early language development is the crucial factor for all children, deaf or hearing, and children should have access to a language that is natural for them and that can be acquired with ease, just as we all acquire a native language. It is not a matter of choosing one language over another, or one method in preference to another method, but of respecting two separate languages, and making both visual and spoken language accessible.

Author: DeafSign.Com
Date Published @ DS: 25/10/2000 



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