American Sign Language
Before having my daughter, I was on the fence about whether we would attempt to do sign language with her. I LOVE the look of ASL, but I wasn’t sure what the impact would be on her language development. Then I read that multiple studies have shown children who are signed to as babies have “larger vocabularies and stronger verbal language abilities later in life.*” Add that information to the fact that my aunt is an interpreter for American Sign Language, and my interest in ASL has grown exponentially over the last year.
“He saw the crowd roar.”
One of the best baseball players never heard the crowd cheer for him. William Hoy was born on an Ohio farm in 1862. When he was only a toddler, he caught meningitis and lost his hearing. He went to the state’s school for the deaf where he learned to communicate with sign language. William did well and graduated as valedictorian, but there was one thing he could not do while he was in school—play baseball.
Donna Jo Napoli and Amy Bates’ Hands & Hearts is a sweet picture book for children who might be interested in learning a few ASL signs. It’s a beach day story of a mother and daughter having a wonderful time together. Off to the side of each page is an illustration of how to sign one of the words in the text.
One of the first things hearing parents ask themselves when they discover they have deaf children is how they will communicate with them, and how, eventually, will their children communicate with the world. The decision is not an easy one. There are many factors to consider, including how much hearing remains, whether or not a cochlear implant will be an option, and whether or not the child has additional educational issues. Proponents of each communication approach have what seem to be ironclad arguments as to why their way is the best.