Where Does Speech Fit In? Spoken English in a Bilingual Context
This paper discusses some of the factors, including the use of American Sign Language (ASL), which influence deaf and hard of hearing children's spoken English development. Current trends in the education of deaf and hard of hearing children have opened new possibilities for innovative and effective ways to promote the development of spoken and written English. Factors involved in spoken English development include amount of residual hearing, the use of amplification, language competency, family support, and intelligence level. There is a strong belief that children who sign will not learn to speak, yet skill in the use of ASL can be used to support the task of learning the less accessible spoken language. There are numerous advantages to educating deaf children with this bilingual approach, one which keeps the sign language and the spoken language separate. This separation of languages allows the teacher to more accurately assess the intelligibility of the child's speech production without signed cues and the child is able to practice the spoken language in a way which will foster communication with typical mainstream Americans. Yet parents and teachers need to remember that not all deaf children will be able to acquire the same level of skill in spoken English. The goal for every child should be to develop his or her language skills and to maximize each child's communication skills--whether they are written, spoken, or signed. By perfecting old techniques and continuing to adopt theoretically sound new practices, including knowledge of bilingualism and second language acquisition, the education of deaf and hard of hearing children can evolve to better serve the needs of each child and his or her family.
Sharon Graney. Where Does Speech Fit In? Spoken English in a Bilingual Context (1998). Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center: Washington, DC.
Sponsoring Agency: Gallaudet University
Reading Level: Average
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Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education CenterURL: http://www.gallaudet.edu/clerc_center.html
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Intended User Audience:
This material is written primarily for individuals who work with young children (preschool through elementary school) who are deaf or hard of hearing. Parents, teachers, speech and language pathologists, as well as other personnel who work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, can all benefit from this material.
The intention of developing this material is to share some ideas with people who work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Although parents and children did not directly participate in the development of the material, the author and her colleagues developed this material based on their experiences with a lot of parents, teachers, and other service providers, and their experiences observing children. They hope to share information and start a dialogue on how to work with this group of children, providing both sign language and spoken language.
This material has not been evaluated. There is no plan for field testing at this time. The paper was written as a description of experiences, observations and practices already being used with Deaf and hard of hearing children and is not meant to be interpreted as a research project.
The amount of materials disseminated is unknown. However, it has been given out for free at several conferences throughout the country to people who work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
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