Sarah Klenbort wrote in Eureka Street about the tendency for hearing parents to be told by health professionals not to sign with their deaf children. She also shared her own experiences:
‘In September last year a five-year-old boy arrived at preschool in Sydney with no language. Owen is deaf and for five years medical professionals instructed his parents not to sign. The boy had been fitted with cochlear implants and told these devices would eventually give him access to speech. They didn’t.
Owen is now enrolled in the only bilingual preschool for deaf children in Sydney, eagerly learning Auslan (Australian Sign Language). His face lights up each time he learns a new sign; Owen loves preschool and is thrilled to finally communicate.
But he’s lost the most vital five years of language acquisition; studies show this will impact his linguistic and cognitive abilities for the rest of his life. He will never catch up to his hearing peers.
Last year, the bilingual preschool was cut to three days a week; when it reopens after the holidays, it will only be open two days a week. In 2017 it will probably close.’ Read more with the link below….
In 2013 I presented a paper at the International Conference of the World Federation for the Deaf in Sydney, where I gave the results of a survey of 72 hearing parents of deaf children in Australia. The majority said they had been told not to sign by speech therapists or medical professionals.’ Click to read the full article.