Cultural & Medical Perspectives

Deaf Don’t Care

By Audism, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Deaf Culture, Identity, Information

Transcript: Conrad dancing to an internal song. Word PITY appears by his shoulder, he brushes it off. Word PATERNALISM appears at his other shoulder, he also brushes it off. Big DEAF text appears and Conrad signs it. Big I DON’T CARE text appears and Conrad signs it. Word DISORDER flies towards him and Conrad puts up a hand to deflect it. Word DIAGNOSIS flies from other side towards him and he puts up a hand to deflect it. Words HEARING IMPAIRED comes towards him and he dodges it. Conrad then deflects word IDEOLOGY. He signs don’t care towards word CURE. Conrad sweeps away word AUDISM. Conrad deflects word ISOLATION. Big DEAF? text appears and Conrad signs it. Big I’M PROUD text appears and Conrad signs it. Words DISCRIMINATION and OPPRESSION appears above his shoulders and Conrad pushes them off. He ends it with a flourish move- a hand down his face and camera pans towards him. He smiles.

#Why I Sign Campaign

By ASL, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Deaf Community, Deaf Role Models, Early ASL Acquisition, Information, Literature, Website (literature) No Comments

Black background with texts "Why I Sign"

The purpose of sharing #whyIsign narratives

Families are still not given resources or support about including signing with their ddbddldhh children. Families often feel alone in their signing journey. For most, their baby is the first deaf person they meet. They often are nervous and scared to connect with the deaf community. Our diverse communities often desire to connect with hearing families, but lack knowledge of where families are & how to reach out.

 Through sharing #whyIsign narratives, people can:

  • Connect with deaf & hard of hearing children to other families

  • Connect to DDBDDHHLD & the diverse communities within

  • Connect with the signing communities (CODA’s, students, friends, community members, etc.)

  • Share resources and information about resources of raising a deaf and hard of hearing child

  • Understand that sign language is a right, not an option


Dinner Table Syndrome

By Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Information No Comments

What do John, Natalie and Kim all have in common? Christmas for them should be a time of happiness – instead it’s become a day that they dread – and there’s a term for it: Dinner Table Syndrome.

Early exposure to ASL does NOT hinder spoken language development

By ASL, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Language Development, Information, Research No Comments

The video is captioned for those not familiar with ASL. Please click on CC to turn the English captions on. The Gallaudet Linguistics Department has written a letter to AG Bell Association addressing the inaccuracies in their recent statement. We also created a series of ASL video responses in conjunction to the letter (which is available here…). This video is the fourth part of the series. Here we specifically explain how early exposure to ASL does not hinder spoken language development. Quick bio: Wink is a first year graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet University. Originally from Minnesota, Wink is a child of Deaf adults (CODA) and is a native user of ASL.

Why Deaf Model Nyle DiMarco Doesn’t Wish He Could Hear

By ASL, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Deaf Role Models, Identity, Information

Actor and model Nyle DiMarco is Deaf. He doesn’t understand the concept of silence — it’s just his default mode. DiMarco went on to win “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Now, he uses his platform to help Deaf children who don’t have the same access to sign language and community that he did as a child. | For viewers who need sound to access this video, a version with the subtitles read onto a soundtrack is available here:

Acquiring English as a Second Language via Print: The Task for Deaf Children

By Bilingual, Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Early Intervention, Early Language Development, Information, Research


”Only a minority of profoundly deaf children read at age-level. We contend this reflects cognitive and linguistic impediments from lack of exposure to a natural language in early childhood, as well as the inherent difficulty of learning English only through the written modality. Yet some deaf children do acquire English via print. The current paper describes a theoretical model of how children could, in principle, acquire a language via reading and writing. The model describes stages of learning which represent successive, conceptual insights necessary for second/foreign language learning via print. Our model highlights the logical difficulties present when one cannot practice a language outside of reading/ writing, such as the necessity of translating to a first language, the need for explicit instruction, and difficulty that many deaf children experience in understanding figurative language. Our model explains why learning to read is often a protracted process for deaf children and why many fail to make progress after some initial success. Because language acquisition is thought to require social interaction, with meaning cued by extralinguistic context, the ability of some deaf individuals to acquire language through print represents an overlooked human achievement worthy of greater attention by cognitive scientists.”

You can read more in this journal article by Robert J. Hoffmeister and. Catherine L. Caldwell-Harris.


Cochlear Implant Education Center

By Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Information, Research No Comments

A women and a child playing

The Cochlear Implant Education Center (CIEC) is a unit of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University. It is an educational resource center created in 2000 to share information about cochlear implant technology and its role in the education and lives of children who are deaf from birth through high school-aged. The CIEC has a unique focus in exploring and sharing considerations and practices related to the development and use of both spoken language and signed language for children using cochlear implant technology.

The CIEC has several resources, publications, and presentations on topics related to language, communication, and educational practices for children with cochlear implants which are available to professionals and families throughout the nation. The CIEC also provides supports to students with cochlear implants enrolled in the demonstration schools of the Clerc Center. The CIEC does not provide cochlear implant surgical services or mapping services for cochlear implant technology.


Cochlear Implants: Making Sure Families Are Aware of the Full Picture

By Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Information, Research No Comments

A young girl smiling at an audiologist

“When a child is identified as being deaf, a cochlear implant may be recommended early in the intervention process. For hearing families, this recommendation often comes with relief that there is a “medical fix” to providing their child with the ability to hear. While a cochlear implant provides significant benefit to many children, spoken language outcomes are extremely varied. This means that there should be a standard procedure, involving both medical and educational professionals, to provide families with the full spectrum of “what-ifs” and “what’s involved,” from surgery, to activation and monitoring of the device, to listening and spoken language training, to linguistic, educational, and social-emotional considerations. It is essential that families are provided with the full range of possible outcomes, opportunities, and needed services so they can make informed decisions about choosing a cochlear implant within the context of their “whole deaf child.”


A child signs to an infant he is holding.

Visual Sonority Modulates Infants’ Attraction to Sign Language

By Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Language Development, Information, Research

A child signs to an infant he is holding.The infant brain may be predisposed to identify perceptually salient cues that are common to both signed and spoken languages. Recent theory based on spoken languages has advanced sonority as one of these potential language acquisition cues. Using a preferential looking paradigm with an infrared eye tracker, we explored visual attention of hearing 6- and 12-montholds with no sign language experience as they watched fingerspelling stimuli that either conformed to high sonority (well-formed) or low sonority (ill-formed) values, which are relevant to syllabic structure in signed language. Younger babies showed highly significant looking preferences for well-formed, high sonority fingerspelling, while older babies showed no preference for either fingerspelling variant, despite showing a strong preference in a control condition. The present findings suggest babies possess a sensitivity to specific sonority-based contrastive cues at the core of human language structure that is subject to perceptual narrowing, irrespective of language modality (visual or auditory), shedding new light on universals of early language learning. Read more about this topic in Adam Stone, Laura-Ann Petitto, and Rain Bosworth’s research paper.


Kristin SnoddenAction Research with a Family ASL Literacy Program by Kristin Snodden

Action Research with a Family ASL Literacy Program

By Cultural & Medical Perspectives, Early ASL Acquisition, Information, Research

This article reports findings from an ethnographic action research study of Deaf and hearing parents and young children participating in a family American Sign Language (ASL) literacy program in Ontario, Canada. The study documents the context for parents’ and children’s learning of ASL in an environment where resources for supporting early ASL literacy have been scarce. Through semi-structured interviews and observations of six individual families or parent-child dyads, the study documents participants’ encounters with professionals who regulate Deaf children and their families’ access to ASL. At the same time, the setting of the ASL Parent-Child Mother Goose Program is presented as a Deaf cultural space and thereby a counter-discourse to medical discourses regarding Deaf identity and bilingualism. This space features the Deaf mother participants’ ASL literacy and numeracy practices and improvisations of ASL rhymes and stories to enhance their suitability for young children. The practices of the ASL Parent-Child Mother Goose Program leader also serve to define and support emergent ASL literacy. In addition, a Deaf cultural space inside a broader context of public services to young Deaf children provides a means for the hearing mother participants to facilitate critical inquiry of issues surrounding bilingualism, ASL, and a Deaf identity.

Visit the website