ASL proficiency and English reading and writing

Barbara O'Dea odeab at UNM.EDU
Fri Jan 27 22:58:09 UTC 2006

I hope no one minds that I've changed the subject line (thread) for my 
response to Anny's posting.

The fact that Deaf people learn to read English at all, never ceases to 
amaze me.

There seems to be "agreement" that there is a relationship between ASL 
first language proficiency and the degree of English reading and writing 
proficiency. With this in mind, I have few questions/comments.
1. Are most Deaf children proficient in ASL when they start school? My 
experience says NO!
2. Do schools, then, provide a language acquisition environment for 
those who are not? My experience says NO!
3. Do schools hold off "trying to" teach English reading and writing to 
Deaf children until they have ASL proficiency at least equal to the 
English proficiency hearing children have when they are expected to read 
their first language - English? My experience says NO!

So, there is "agreement". What are educators doing about it? Is this 
"agreement" part of pedagogy developed for Deaf education? Sad to say, 
my experience says NO!


Anne-Claude Prélaz Girod wrote:

>did you read Cecilia Flood thesis ?
>that's a good start about how SW can bring self esteem....
>I personnally don't have experience using SW with deaf children but I'm
>profoundly convinced it can help them acquire litteracy in the oral
>language... skills in sign language can help deaf children develop better
>skill in the oral language
>There are different works on bilingualism (nothing to do with SW BUT... )and
>the advantage of developping good skills in SL in order to help chiuldren
>develpop skills in their second language : did you read the different
>articles of Philip Prinz and Mickael Strong US (I can find the article if
>you are interested  I should have it somewhere in my papers...)
>Did you also read François Grosjean's works on bilingualism (university of
>Neuchâtel, Switzerland)... (I have these document in my computer so I can
>send them to you if you're interested... just have to check with François
>(he used to be my teacher) if it's Ok for me to do so!!)
>both works tend to show how important it is for deaf kids to develop good
>skills in their first language (SL)....
>I wrote a short text on using Sw to help deaf children develop litteracy...
>but it's in french...  (you can find it on the
>Hope it helped
>>De : "Shane Gilchrist O hEorpa" <shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at>
>>Répondre à : sw-l at
>>Date : Thu, 26 Jan 2006 22:33:00 +0000
>>À : SW-L at
>>Objet : [sw-l] detailed argument for SignWriting to be used in Deaf Education
>>hi everyone,
>>sorry for not contributing in the past month - as much as I love you
>>all, work demands my fullest attention of lately!!!
>>as some of you know im one of the Trustees for the Deaf School here in
>>Belfast, im trying to put together a detailed argument why we should
>>teach sign-writing to deaf children in my School - perhaps you can
>>tell me why it is important for them to learn this - and for what
>>Shane xx
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