Demographics result from the fact that most deaf children are born into hearing families, and also from the fact that, until recently hearing parents were often discouraged from learning sign language.
In recent years it has therefore begun to be more common practice to encourage hearing parents of deaf children to learn, to sign, and to expose deaf children to sign language as early in life as possible.
The presence of a large number of signers who have acquired their primary language after infancy has presented an unusual research opportunity for the study of the effects of age of exposure on the mastery of a primary language.
According to Newport and Supalla (1980), a number of such studies have shown that there is a substantial effect of age on the acquisition of ASL : native and early ASL learners show much more fluency, consistency, and complexity in the Grammatical structures of the Language.
The Oral Approach and Total Communication
The Oral approach has a worthy aim, to teach the hearing-impaired to produce and comprehend speech so that they can communicate with the hearing community.
1. Oral Approach Successful with the Less Hearing-Impaired
The oral Approach focused on the teaching of speech production.
It is secondary focus is on speech comprehension.
2 . Oral Approach Fails with the Severely Hearing-Impaired.
As was just noted, a great problem with Oral Approach is that it tends only to work for a portion of the hearing-impaired population.
There is good reason that persons who are severely hearing-impaired do poorly in producing speech.
Speech teachers of the deaf are trained to assist the deaf person in articulating speech sounds.
3. Speechreading is Not Easy
The comprehension of speech is usually fostered through both exploiting any residual hearing that learners may have and the teaching of speechreading, commonly known as ‘lipreading’.
With speechreading, an adept person can interpret about half of what is said, which, given the great amount of redundancy in ordinary speech, is enough to guess most of the content.
Public Recognition of ASL and Growth of Deaf Pride
ISLs out of the Closet and into Respectability
as recently as the 1970s some deaf educators (mainly those who opposed the use of sign language) denied that a sign language.
The strong belief held by many deaf educators and the general public that speech was necessary for one to considered a real human being could now be challenged. Signers could now, like speakers, be said to have a true language, even though they did not have speech.
It was during this same period that, with the boost given to ASL by educators and researchers, the ASL deaf community came out of the closet, so to speak.
2. Deaf Pride in the USA
2.1 The Issue of cochlear implants and other devices
Related to the issue of whether deafness is or is not an impairment is the issue of devices which many improve the hearing of deaf people. One such device is the cochlear implant.
Supports say implants allow some people to overcome their hearing disability, while opponents object to the very idea of trying to cure the deaf.
The implants are most effective for speech-language learning when implanted in children at about the age of 2.
2.2 A Sensible course of action
The activist deaf are against cochlear implants and any kind of cure that might come along. They want the deaf child for their deaf community.
That may be fine for the deaf parents of deaf children but certainly would not be fine for hearing parents who want their child for their family and their community.