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Friday, March 9, 2012

by Headmistress: "A Language for Thinking"

I've posted and discussed the value of teaching children Sign Language, whether they hear or not, for many years. I've also read many research articles and books on the topic, however, I've never read anything quite like this.

If you're not familiar with Headmistress (an author and a home schooling parent), you need to head over to her blog at The Common Room and at least read this post. It's informative and quite an eye opener from a fascinating perspective.


Though it's a bit lengthy, every word contributes to it's final conclusion.


  1. Thanks for the link. I left the following comments there and reproduce them here. (Please tell me if this violates some rule of blog etiquette of which I am unaware.)

    You are exactly right. Not signing with a deaf or significantly HoH (hard of hearing) child equals language deprivation.

    I know, cochlear implants get a *lot* of press coverage, to the point that the average person might think that CIs make sign language irrelevant. What most people do not understand is that even with the earliest implantation and the fastest progress, there is still a lag of months before the child has full access to spoken language. However, not every child receives an implant at 6 weeks of age and not every child makes the fastest progress with his or her CI. I have observed scores of children with CIs, and there is a range of outcomes, as you might expect. For some, full access to spoken language can take years. For others, their CI never provides full access to spoken language. If not sign language, then what kind of language fills these gap months or years? The answer is, mostly none.

    (Shakes head) I find it difficult to understand the resistance to signing with deaf/HoH infants and young children.

    Then, separately, I commented:

    This is a separate posting for a separate point.

    Language acquisition involves both reception and expression. All infants, even those with typical hearing, have a lag between their receptive abilities for spoken language and their physical abilities for spoken expression. With hearing babies, this is due to the delay in maturation of the nerves and muscles for speech. For this reason, signing with Hearing babies offers some benefits for early language development.

    The point is that parents should be signing with *all* babies, whether deaf, HoH, or Hearing.


    1. David, thank you for sharing this information and your thoughts. This is the kind of information that really needs to become more mainstream, and it is slowly getting there. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Awwww, thanks!

    I had to laugh at a 'bit lengthy,' I am always fighting my longwinded tendencies!

    Loved David's comments, too.

    1. Anything shorter, it would not have the same impact, Ms. Headmistress. :-) I'm so pleased to share it, and I was quite pleased with David adding his information as well.