Monday, December 31, 2007

Celebrate Deaf Rock on New Year's Eve!

play quicktime YouTube, click here play quicktime YouTube, click here

While there are musical concert showings in T.V. programs on New Year's Eve, here is a treat for you to enjoy this post-view of Beethoven's Nightmare concert given back in October. I finally got around to edit and compress these two video clips. The first one you will see the whole post-view of the show by combining almost all signed songs in a five minute clip. The second one features Rita Corey who is a renowned performing artist whose brother is Ed Chevy plays the bass guitar. She demonstrates her beautiful ASL song titled, "Roll Over, Beethoven!". Enjoy this Deaf Rock show on the New Year's!

Have a prosperous, peaceful New Year!

Oh, one more thing...while typing this post, it dawned on me that Beethoven's Nightmare should be playing on New Year's Eve so can we make it happen for 2008?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Photography by John Loengard

This quote from poet Maya Angelou-- caught my eye especially when dealing with sensitive issues found in the DeafRead b/vlogosphere and I thought it is fitting to share with you to remind about ourselves and to move on. This is a short, simple and sweet message for you.

"I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes-it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all (1995)."

As we reflect on this past year, let's think of our glass as "half full" instead of "half empty." Let us be proud of the accomplishments we made, and forgive ourselves of any faults. Let's learn from our mistakes-as well as those of our friends, families, and even vloggers/bloggers/commentators-and make a positive change in 2008!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Note: Maya Angelou looks like she is signing fascinating, heh? I am not sure if it is intended or just a gesture but you can interpret the way you think.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Excluding ASL from Deaf Children is a Bad Idea!

Quicktime View Youtube, click here

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.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Right of the Deaf Child to Grow Up Bilingual

Quicktime This video talks about why it is not a good idea to have oral-approach only.


Hi! I would like to share about the article written by Francois Grosjean who provided his perspective by researching Deaf children. The article mentioned that ASL should be the primary language of a Deaf child. Despite the use of various technological aids ( i.e. cochlear implants), sign language is mandatory period. Why? I will explain the reasons for you to think about it.

When hearing babies are born, they normally acquire language in the very first years of life that their parents communicate with them and that babies receive information by listening to surrounding sound environment such as T.V., radio, people having conversations, etc. Even some parents sign with their hearing babies making it more accessible. “Language in turn is an important means of establishing and solidifying social and personal ties between the child and his/her parents. What is true of the hearing child must also become true of the Deaf child.”

It is crucial for Deaf children to see a visual, 100 percent accessible, natural signed language that they are able to completely comprehend the information as they grow up.

But is this really happening for all Deaf children? Unfortunately, no. Why? Organizations like AG Bell, AVT (Auditory Verbal Therapy), etc. think it is not necessary to include ASL but focus on listening and speaking ONLY. That only approach HURTS! I will explain to you why.

First of all, we don’t know for sure if a Deaf baby will grasp information completely through auditory. All cochlear implant users don’t pick up the information in the same way. We know that some hearing aid users have developed strong listening skills and some of them don’t at all in spite of having the same decibel loss. Too often, people assume by exposing one language (oral) would do just fine until the moment they realize that this approach did not work. So what happens to that child? “He or she falls BEHIND in his/her development, be it linguistic, cognitive, social, or personal.” It becomes TOO LATE!

This issue is disturbing to DBC that this oral only approach is GAMBLING the Deaf child’s life away from academic development, social development, healthy emotional development, etc. We need to advocate more strongly on having both languages, ASL and English, for all Deaf children.

The responsibility, the duty and the goal of DBC are to make sure that ALL Deaf babies from the start have access to natural sign language that is acquired naturally as much as possible where two-way communication takes place. For a Deaf child to bridge to English (spoken English and/or written English), the most important part for academic success and future professional achievements is to master written English. Once a Deaf child has the ability to write well, he/she can do anything!

By using one language (oral) approach and excluding ASL with those who use listening assistive devices, is it a right way? No! We know that obviously oralism involves RISK! BET! GAMBLE!

Having the ability to develop cognitive/personal skills will be minimized when using oral only approach. Why limit the Deaf child’s ability? He or she would have developed much more advanced in these areas (linguistic, cognitive, social and personal). Oral approach with most Deaf children is not perceived as communicating in a two-way street in a natural way. Research states that for a Deaf child to use oral only approach impedes communication and that the daunting effort to develop speech skills is consumed rather than focusing on developing cognitive skills. When using ASL, “it allows the young Deaf child and his/her parents to communicate early, and fully, on the condition that they acquire it quickly.” ASL play an important role in the Deaf child’s cognitive and social development and it will help him/her acquire knowledge about the world. They can express about anything that is much easier and clearer for them to communicate.

Hearing parents can learn signs and they need to get more support. What DBC wants to see happening out there is the establishment of ASL Therapy Centers. We don’t even have one here in America but we always have numerous speech therapy centers even hotline phone numbers where immediate attention can be given. More fund is needed to establish such centers where support to facilitate hearing parents’ signing skills will be much more possible in the future.

In the meantime, DBC has been sharing an important message that every Deaf baby has the right to sign. Why is this so important? There are numerous benefits and opportunities using ASL when a Deaf child grows up. In this case, opportunities are more of GUARANTEES.