Language Access Issues for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
Taking action to provide full language access to deaf and hard of hearing children is a long battle. Still today, sign language is often being denied from them at home and/or education. Based on research, acquiring language at a late age impacts on their cognitive development critically. The organization LEAD-K is working to have sign language provided in all education programs nationwide. Go take action with LEAD-K.
Video ID: In a living room: Parent: (voicing) As your parent, I understand it is a challenge for you being deaf. Read my lips. (Turns and reacts in bewilderment to something off screen)
A specialist is seen outside through the window waving to get the parent’s attention.
Specialist: (signing) I am a deaf and hard of hearing child intervention specialist here to give you some suggestions. Tossing sign language out isn’t good. That will impact their language and cognitive development leaving them to fall behind. No. This is a common mistake. Don’t do this.
The parent reacts bitterly and shuts the blinds to put the specialist out of the sight. He turns back to his child. Parent: (smiles & voices) Anyway
Outside of the parent’s house, the specialist turns away irritated.
In a classroom:
Teacher: (voicing) To multiply… (Turns and reacts in bewilderment to something off screen)
The specialist is seen outside through the window waving to get the teacher’s attention.
Specialist: (signing) From the deaf experience, I am responsible to give a pathway on how to succeed with deaf education. Give them full language access by including sign language.
The teacher rolls their eyes and shut the blinds to put the specialist out of the sight. He turns back to his students.
Parent: (smiles & voices) Moving on.
Outside of the classroom, the specialist turns away and sighs with frustration.
In an office:
Audiologist: (voicing) As an audiologist, for you, a parent of a deaf child, you can do either speech or sign language. (Turns and reacts in bewilderment to something off screen)
The specialist is seen outside through the window waving to get the audiologist’s attention.
Specialist: (signing) History has shown that it is best if deaf and hard of hearing children embrace the both languages of English and ASL. Their learning acquisition will have better results than doing on oral-only approach without any sign language. Don’t do this.
The audiologist reacts irked and shuts the blinds to put the specialist out of the sight. He turns back to the parent.
Parent: (smiles & voices) Pshaw
Outside of the office:
Specialist: I am sick of doing this window thing. The next thing to do is go see the state representative. (Steps away)
Outside of the Capitol building:
Specialist: Here is the government building. This is for all the deaf and hard of hearing children who don’t have sign language resulting in their language access lacking. Do you think if I didn’t feel comfortable, I would back down from going in there? No. (Turns to the capital building)
In the government office:
Representative: I just discussed in-depth and signed the bill for deaf and hard of hearing children’s success. It is now required to provide full language access without any risk of missing out or misunderstanding, which means sign language has to be provided. Yes, they can learn to speak at the same time. (Sighs and smiles)
In front of the Capital building:
Specialist: Finally! (Poses with relief)
Text appears: “However, in reality the organization, LEAD-K is working on making this a reality in deaf education nationwide.” In a doctor’s office: Patient: Wow. Are you a Deaf doctor?
Doctor: Yes. And I have gotten to where I am today all thanks to sign language inclusion from when I was really young and small. As my patient, don’t you feel blessed?