by Arlyce Watson
(Silver Spring, Maryland, America)
I would like to share with you that I never learned sign language until age of 10. I had oral method training and used hearing aid to aid me to learn to speak. I speak well. I attended oral schools, aresidential school, and public schools. I had the benefit of various type of educational background. This benefit convinced me for years that sign language, especially bilingual is the best way to educate a child at an early age mainly because I had struggled for years with my English until I attended Gallaudet University. Then gradually my English was improving through the years. I would much rather be able to fill out income tax independently than to be able to pronounce the words, "income tax" because the speech itself certainly is not enough to instill in me the confidence to fill out the forms without help.
I have two hearing kids. I taught them sign language before their vocal mechanism could take place. My son, Dewey, signed banana at six months and squirrel at 16 months. I know very well that a hearing child cannot enunciate certain sounds, s, qu, and r at that age and yet he "spoke" to me in sign for it! He was ahead of his peers in reading, writing, and comprehension by two years. AGB can now bite the dust!
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