When reading the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education ( Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 2007), a wealth of resources gathered from a variety of research claiming that placing Deaf children, regardless of their hearing level or implantation, in an oral- exclusive only environment is NOT recommended. It has been demonstrated that the basis for claiming superiority of approaches which specifically exclude signing, per se, has been consistently weak (Marschark & Spencer, 2006, p. 4; Powers, Gregory, & Thoutenhoofd, 1998, p. 132; Young et al., 2006, p. 327).
How can we avoid the delay in the acquisition of both spoken and a signed language in all native countries? Leigh (2006) suggests that these delays can be avoided by challenging the tacit connection between implantation and monolingualism; that is by applying principled "sign-inclusive" models. Here it says it all. Include signing models to expose to ALL DEAF children regardless of hearing level and implantation.
The problem lies with how a society perceives the Deaf. If deafness is viewed solely as a medical deficit, then it is unlikely that a bilingual individual approach or overall policy will be developed and offered; if it is seen primarily as a linguistic issue, then a bilingual approach or policy is more likely. This is what we all can do to change the society's view that the Deaf is a linguistic minority culture and it begins with yourself.
Knoors (2006) has argued for a No-exclusion service provision for Deaf child and their families, which would take into account the wide diversity of strengths and weaknesses of individual language learners, by exposing them to rich opportunities to develop both sign and spoken language. But it is not always idealistic for all deaf children to do both. Deaf children may have limits with speech production as well as in rare cases for the struggle to use sign language during the language critical age period (birth to 3 yrs. old).
Why is resistant prevalence in providing sign language exposure to cochlear-implanted students? We still haven't fully understand and be able to address developmental challenges inherent in the mental crossovers between signed and spoken languages (Marschark et al., 2006, p. 15). Some scholars have noted specific language development challenges, in relation to crossovers between spoken and manual modes of English, among cochlear-implanted pupils. BUT these findings have yet to be explored and corroborated, by tentative explanations have been put forward (Burkholder & Isoni, 2006; Geers, 2006).
Back to Knoors' proposal on No-Exclusion Service Provision, this model would be viewed as an enrichment rather than a disadvantage and children's linguistic aptitudes and abilities could be nurtured through ongoing assessments and quality service provision tailored, as far as possible, to the individual student.
Coming from The Language-Learning Situation of Deaf Students by M. Virginia Swisher TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 239-257, "Deaf children often have major difficulty learning the language of their parents, who in the majority of cases are hearing. The principal reason for these problems is limitation of linguistic input reaching the children: The hearing loss itself acts as a drastic filter on the linguistic data, and information obtained from aided residual hearing, as well as from visual sources such as lipreading and signed representations of spoken language, is typically fragmentary. In addition to the limitations of input, the very difficulty of the task of learning an auditory language with severely restricted information is likely to lead to loss of motivation. Another complicating factor is language attitudes and the fact that the deaf community uses a visual-spatial language, American Sign Language (ASL), which deaf people acquire without effort and which provides a focus for cultural solidarity. Attitudes toward ASL are complicated by its identity as a minority language in a majority culture, whose standard language influences it to some extent. Attitudes toward English are complicated by the fact that the learning of English is imposed by an educational establishment run by hearing people and that ASL is not used as a language of instruction."
This article has been published more than a decade ago and we have seen a growth in ASL/English bilingual education thanks to CAEBER (originally known as STAR) program that enables schools for the Deaf to use bilingual strategies in the classroom.