Children using cochlear implants alone simply are not acquiring anything close to language fluency. Therefore, it is important that medical professionals do not give families the false impression that the technology has advanced to the point where spoken language is easily and rapidly accessed by implanted children Humphries et. If, however, a deaf child is exposed to sign language from an early age, that child will have a natural and effortless language as a foundation for all other learning, including listening and speaking.
As Skotara et. If a deaf child is provided nutrition to the brain via sign language, that child will develop typical language and cognitive abilities. By learning a natural first language from birth, basic abstract principles of form and structure are acquired that create the lifelong ability to learn language Skotara et.
Language Acquisition Essay
This forms a foundation for learning listening and spoken language, if desired. A brain cannot speak the words for concepts it does not possess. Sign language provides the venue for learning these critical concepts. Thus, it is vital that a deaf child be provided immediate and frequent access to sign language. The two are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they can and should be learned concurrently, as bilingualism has many benefits for brain development.
With sign language, a deaf child will always have a fully accessible language. With sign language as a foundation, a deaf child is able to build other cognitive processes that lead to a lifelong ability to learn and perform on par with their hearing peers. I had the recent misfortune of stumbling upon an article written by a speech-language pathologist who is an auditory-verbal therapist.
The content of this heinous piece of work was well-written and appeared professional. Not only am I ashamed that this woman is a part of my field, but I am positive that I lost brain cells reading her work. Below is the original article with my responses added in bold:. So what could be the problem? However, media hype is just that: hype.
Here is what I discuss with parents: Using hyperbolic statements to demean actual research behind bilingual language development is childish and small. I believe that parents have the right to choose whatever communication method will work best for their family. This results in severe and permanent language deficits and lifelong learning deficits simply because someone like this author convinced parents that forcing a round peg into a square hole with all your might and focus will make it go in.
By only signing key words, parents are providing their child reduced language input, when they have at their disposal a full, fluent language their native language s already in the home. This is another reason why I encourage parents who choose a sign language approach to become fluent… yesterday. This is, quite simply, disgusting and offensive. Sound asinine?
Language Acquisition Essay - Words | Cram
The other assertation in this appalling passage is that parents have to be fluent in American Sign Language in order for their child to learn it. This, again, proves that this author has no knowledge of neurolinguistics and should therefore refrain from commenting on language development.
That is exactly what this author is prescribing to, even though we know that is exemplary pseudoscience. We have to help infants and toddlers learn the relationship between words and their referents. This paragraph truly shows the level of incompetence this author has surrounding American Sign Language and languages in general.
The level of ineptitude displayed in this passage will take me a while to deconstruct, so bear with me. That being said, there is a very archaic and unproven belief that iconicity in a language somehow makes it subpar or substandard. The examples of signs provided i. Parents are often sold on the many myths promoted by those who have a significant financial interest in selling baby sign materials.
Essay about Language Development
But do they have any merit? Baby signs serve to decrease parental responsiveness. This is simple operant conditioning. If I do X [the sign], I get Y [more food]. You can train a rat to do this. The fact that children can produce signs earlier than spoken words is rooted in objective evidence that has been proven across multiple fields. The fine motor skills of the hands develop prior to the fine motor movements of the lips and tongue.
Recommending early access to language for deaf babies and providing parents the resources to do so is simply best practice. Again, because this author has no other counterargument she is resorting to absurdities in an attempt to make a futile point. Topshee Johnston et al. By age two, it was impossible to tell the difference between children who had used baby signs and those who had not.
For every poorly conducted research article that states this, there is a robust study that states the opposite. This is not a matter of deaf children, but one of basic bilingual language development. Kirk et al. This study directly contradicts what this author wrote only three paragraphs ago. However, for children identified at one year of age or older, there is a negative effect—that is, when you combine spoken language and sign language in children over one year of age, their spoken language suffers. Again, the pseudoscience is rich here.
Using sign language after your child received a cochlear implant DOES NOT work against their listening and spoken language development.
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At least three people have posted the article on my wall or shared it with me. And the video of the college engineering student who designed gloves that simulate ASL signs. And the one of a bride signing a song to her husband or her father at her wedding. Every day I see these videos, articles, and products going viral.
The internet seems to love the idea of American Sign Language. An alarming number of deaf children are subjected to inadvertent language deprivation during their critical language-learning period. The repercussions of depriving a young brain of language are severe and long lasting. Children that do not receive access to a robust language signal within the first five years of life demonstrate a variety of potentially irreversible cognitive-linguistic deficits. This includes deficits in the ability to understand language, use language, and organize thoughts into cohesive sentences.
Additionally, and perhaps more poignantly, it also includes deficits in cognitive functions such as spatial concepts and awareness, time concepts and sequencing, number sense and counting, and memory. Language is brain food. A brain with rich language input is like a body with healthy nutritive input. While hearing aids and cochlear implants are fantastic technology, they are also subject to the unknowns of technology. They break. They malfunction. Children reject them.
Perhaps we should start sharing articles detailing the importance of providing a deaf child early access to a signed language the same way we share the article about an ASL-friendly Starbucks. Perhaps we should infuse deaf children with the same awe and admiration for ASL as we spread around the internet. The cochlea is a small, fluid-filled, ice cream swirl-shaped structure in the inner ear. Its inner canals are covered in tiny hair cells. After sound travels through the outer and middle ear, converting from acoustic to mechanical energy, it reaches the cochlea.
The mechanical energy from the middle ear bones converts to hydraulic energy when it creates pressure waves on the inner ear fluid of the cochlea. The fluid puts pressure on the tiny hair cells, which activate the auditory nerve. It is at that point that the final conversion of energy occurs, from hydraulic to electrical. The electrical impulses are sent to the brain and interpreted as information. Like other organs in the body, the cochlea performs an astonishing and uniquely human function.
However, unlike other organs in the body, when surgery is performed on the cochlea there is limited concern for bodily rejection. There is a common misconception that cochlear implants are like eyeglasses. An implant allows you to hear, much like glasses allow you to see. However, the important distinction is that cochlear implants have direct interaction with the brain. The intentional disregard for this crucial fact is the most dangerous mentality. This type of blatant overlook is not typical with other surgeries, for obvious reasons. When a pacemaker is placed, the recipient is educated extensively on the potential complications, including failure of the device.
When an organ is surgically replaced, the chance of the body rejecting the new implant is openly discussed. Recipients of surgically implanted prostheses of any kind are always informed of the risks of failure or rejection. They are never informed that their artificial structures are seamless replacements for the original organ. We owe it to implanted children to do the same when educating their parents. Because of this, cochlear implants are not sufficient as a standalone approach for language intervention Kral et.
Implanted children must be taught sign language as a preventative measure to ensure proper brain development.
Stages Language development
A cochlear implant is a man-made device that is surgically implanted. Just as a pacemaker does not replace the function of the heart, a cochlear implant can never fully replace the function of the cochlea. And just like a pacemaker, its recipients must be properly educated about the repercussions of its potential rejection. He was tall and shy, with dark tousled hair. He came into my room tentatively and sat still and quiet in his chair.
I pointed to myself and signed my sign name. Then, I pointed to him and gestured for him to introduce himself. How old are you?