Deaf Services Coordinator for Disability Services and Legal Center
by Sharon J. Dawson
(Santa Rosa, CA)
I am in total agreement with the preceeding article. It is so important to introduce ASL to babies as a tool for early intervention and also, for the augmentation of learning preparatory to language development for all babies.
I am another case in point... I was born deaf of a hearing family. I grew up in an oral environment. I had many years of speech therapy and auditory learning skills. Since I have some residual hearing, I seemed to do well as far as oral communication goes. But in the reception of information, it was very difficult, since, I didn't have the benefits of an interpreter.
Finally, at age 33 years, I took classes at the local community college and learned ASL. Today, at age 56, I am fluent and can traverse both deaf and hearing worlds easily. I am not knocking down my oral experience, as it was of benefit to me. I only wish I had both ASL and oral training together for complete accessibility to information while growing up. At least it would have been alot easier.
So, from my own experience, like countless others, I support one hundred percent, the need for a bilingual, bicultural approach to the development of language for deaf and hard of hearing children.
Please continue to spread this message and carry on the great work!
Sharon Dawson, Ph.D.
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