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Deaf education term paper

"Language is an essential component of normal development for all humans. Unfortunately, exposure exclusively to spoken language usually is not very successful for deaf children who have more severe prelingual hearing losses. While it is important for parents to strongly support deaf children's spoken language, it should not be to the exclusion of sign language. Similarly, while it is important for parents to strongly support deaf children's sign language, one can not believe that this should be done to the exclusion of spoken language. The important thing is to establish an effective mode of parent-child communication as early as possible. Postponing the beginning of sign language learning until they have given up on speech training is a common pitfall for parents of deaf children. It is also one to avoid unless you want to put all of your eggs into one very precarious basket. After exploring all of the available evidence, one can see that it clearly points to three conclusions: (1) There is no single, correct answer to the language question that applies to all or even most deaf children, (2) there are places for both signed and spoken language in the lives of many deaf children, and (3) sign language will play a vital role in the lives of most deaf children and its value should not be underestimated. In the 1960s, about 90 percent of hearing parents used only spoken language with their deaf children, while the remainder used one or more of the forms of manual communication described below. Since that time, American Sign Language (ASL) has been on the rise, and recent surveys indicate that most deaf students sign at least some of the time. Still, fewer than half of the children who use sign language in school also sign when they are with their families, and only a small fraction of those are able to carry on normal, everyday conversations with their parents. This situation does not mean that signing is really unnecessary; in most cases, it means that children and parents are being short-changed in their interactions."

"The federal government continued to be a primary employer of many deaf scientists. Between 1950 and 1963, for example, twenty-one out of forty-six Gallaudet graduates in science-related fields were employed by federal agencies. For the years 1962 and 1963, ten out of eleven obtained positions in the US Army Corps, Army Map Service, Department of Agriculture, Coast Guard, Geodetic Service, or the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Research chemists such as James L. Casterline and Thomas D. Doyle continue to distinguish themselves today in the Food and Drug Administration. Several accomplishments by deaf scientists in the modern period have been notable. Frank Hochman became the first congenitally deaf American to earn a medical degree. Hochman was chief medical technologist at Somerset Hospital in New Jersey in 1972 when he decided to enter medical school. After encountering many negative attitudes in his interviews, he was accepted at Rutgers Medical School at the age of thirty-seven. He earned his M. D. in 1976 and set up family practice in the East Bay area of California. In 1975, England's John Warcup Cornforth won a Nobel Prize for his research in cholesterol chemistry. Deaf since the age of ten, he began with a small chemistry laboratory at home, developed an intense interest in the subject, and went on to conduct research on the chemical structure of penicillin, the synthesis of steroids, and, eventually, the use of radioactive isotopes to study the formation of the molecule of cholesterol from the acetic acid molecule. David James earned his PhD in mathematics at the University of Chicago in 1977 to become one of a very few African-American deaf persons to enter a science-related profession."

"Most research investigating the impact of deafness on early mother-child interaction has compared hearing mothers and their deaf infants or toddlers to hearing children and hearing mothers. Those studies, almost without exception, found hearing/deaf (Hd) interactions problematic compared to those of hearing/hearing (Hh) dyads ( Meadow-Orlans, 1997). These quotes are representative of the prevailing view of the impact of child deafness on early hearing mother-deaf child interaction, but the picture they convey may be unduly ominous. Because of their training, behavioral scientists tend to focus on results that show significant differences between groups, perhaps because behavioral scientists know the null hypothesis cannot be proven. However, this may result in a more negative picture than exists in reality. The goal of this paper is to review research on interactions between hearing mothers and deaf toddlers to identify positive, as well as negative, aspects of adaptations by hearing parents with deaf toddlers during the second year of life. Strengths, adaptive behavior, and signs of resiliency observed in hearing mother-deaf child interaction are noted, as well as aspects of early interaction that are problematic or detrimental to development."

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