ASL proficiency and English reading and writing

Anne-Claude Pr=?ISO-8859-1?B?6Q==?=laz Girod acpg at VTXNET.CH
Sat Jan 28 19:40:30 UTC 2006

De : "Barbara O'Dea" <odeab at UNM.EDU>
Répondre à : sw-l at
Date : Fri, 27 Jan 2006 14:58:09 -0800
À : sw-l at
Objet : [sw-l] ASL proficiency and English reading and writing

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
different works on this topic shows this!! (Prinz & Strong... and other
researchers too)
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!
My experience says NO too... and it's quite normal because 90% of the deaf
kid have hearing parents.... only 10% are born in deaf families.... so most
porfoundly deaf children arriving in a deaf school just have about no
language skills at all
2. Do schools, then, provide a language acquisition environment for those
who are not? My experience says NO!
My experience (here in Switzerland) says NO too!!! but I have to add that
most "bilingual school" try to offer a language acquisition environment
using SL... they hired deaf professionnals (even so it's far to be perfect!)
I would n't call these school bilingual (most of them just offer a few hours
sign language course...) and SL is not used all the time....
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!
My experience says NO too... but I personnaly tried to do so with the
children I used to work with (as a speech therapist) and It's just great to
notice how once deaf children master their own language they can get what we
expect from them in french, they already now what language is about, they
already have metalinguistic skills that help them work on a second language.
I'm 100% sure SW them acquiring more metalinguistic skills on their own
language, which they can then use learning another writing language.

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!
I'm very sorry to say NO too... but things can be changed!!! I'm giving my
time and energy to try and introduce SW into deaf schools here, and also
working to help the deaf professionnal showing politics how important it is
to develop true pedagogical tools to teach and work on SL... Not easy...
especially when there's just no money at all... and especially when the
politics tend to say deaf children have to be in "normal" classes with
hearing children (not in deaf schools any more...) The deaf community here
is afraid about this situation... and the influence it's going to have on
their language Signlanguage!!!

I like your posting very much.... because it just reminds me how much work I
still have to do... I'm just so sure about this I just can't give up!!
Maybe I'm too optimistic... oh well at least I will have tried!!

Take care and have a beautiful sunday



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>
<mailto: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

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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