Tuesday, November 28, 2006
To ASL or Not To ASL
Here is a picture of Ethan signing "Dad", his favorite word.
As many of you know, I'm a member of a few different online support groups that consist of parents of deaf children. They have been a tremendous help for me by providing me with up to date information on everything implant related as well as emotional suport. One of the parents on Ci Circle recommended this site for ASL and I love it. It's really fun because you can see signing in various categories and you can also quiz your knowledge. Click Here to see it!
We continue to use ASL and even learn new signs with Ethan. Many people who are raising young children with Ci's stop using sign in favor of a strong auditory approach, so this has been a controversial issue on my various lists. Those in favor of the auditory only approach even go so far as to site various studies showing stronger test scores and other success benchmarks. I struggle with this sometimes because we obviously want the best for Ethan, but I'm not convinced that they are right. The teacher in me wonders if test scores are really the best indicator of aptitude anyway, I'm more convinced when I see critical thinking skills and problem solving rather than a good test score. How can having a manual language foundation be anything but a huge help for learning spoken language? Studies have shown that children that are raised in a bilingual environment are slower to learn each language (they're doing twice the work) but that they eventually catch up and can then surpass the skill level of their peers.
I think we'll follow Ethan's lead. We're definitely planning for him to get by entirely on spoken English rather than ASL, but if he continues to use sign with us we aren't going to shut him down. What if he grows older and wants to become part of the deaf community? He might want to meet other deaf people his age or look at a deaf college someday, who knows? There is a local boy who was raised orally here in Athens and now he is attending a college for the deaf in Rochester, N.Y. His parents have said that he no longer wishes to speak and only wants to be around his deaf friends. This is a boy who was raised speaking and attended a mainstream public school! I find that pretty interesting.
This won't be easy, but I think we're in for a great ride with E-Boy.