Through Your Child’s Eyes: American Sign Language

By ASL, Bilingual, Bilingual Education, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Intervention, Early Language Development, Information, Research

Through collaborative efforts of VL2 Lab, California State University at Northridge and the California Department of Education in the dissemination of their video on the benefits of early exposure to a visual language and a bilingual ASL-English Education. A Spanish language version of this video is also available at the same link.

This movie, “Through Your Child’s Eyes,” was created from the vision of the California Department of Education and California State University, Northridge. Funding provided by the Annenberg Foundation.

This video reviews what we know about ASL and bilingualism (research that VL2’s work also corroborates).

All babies benefit from sign language. Thousands of hearing babies learn to sign before they talk. ASL is a language for the whole family and community. Vision is the natural pathway for brain cognition, connections and language acquisition for deaf and hard of hearing children. It taps into the child’s strengths. ASL supports the development of written and spoken English and other languages. Children can easily acquire and use more than one language at the same time. ASL is one of the most widely used languages in the United States. Time is of the essence. Infancy is a critical period for language access and language acquisition. But it’s never too late – hearing people of all ages can learn ASL.

Visit VL2 Website

Visit CSUN Website


Early Access to Language

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

Indiana School for the Deaf elaborates about the importance of early access to language. For a summary of recent research regarding the importance of early access to language for cognitive development, please check this research article.


Human Rights Day 2018

By ASL, Early ASL Acquisition, Early Language Development, Information, Language Deprivation, Research No Comments

Today is Human Rights Day 2018. It is Deaf babies’ human right to have full access to sign language from birth.

Unfortunately, 3 out of 4 Deaf babies do not have full access to sign language from birth and 98% of Deaf children do not have access to education in sign language. This is a gross violation of Deaf babies and children’s human rights.

Video also can be found at YouTube:

Human Rights Day 2018
by: United Nations

Deaf people as a linguistic and cultural group
By: World Federation of the Deaf…/LM-and-D-Discussion-Paper-FINAL-11-May…

WFD Position Paper on the Language Rights of Deaf Children by: World Federation of the Deaf…/wfd-position-paper-language-rights-de…/

Human Rights of Deaf People – Bilingual Education
by: World Federation of the Deaf

Annual Survey of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth 2011-12 Regional and National Summary by: Gallaudet Research Institute…/2012_National_Summary.pdf (page 11)

Nyle DiMarco unveils new language deprivation video: ‘We felt we could tell a story that touched the heart’
by: Nyle DiMarco Foundation…/nyle-dimarco-language-deprivation-awarenes…/


Promoting High Expectations for Deaf Individuals

By ASL, Audism, Information, Research

Resolve to support #deafsuccess this year with promoting high expectations for success!

Each week of this month, we will highlight a Key Impact Area (KIA) which helps address challenges to postsecondary success for deaf individuals. This week focuses on high expectations. What are ways that you or others in your community promote high expectations of deaf individuals? How can YOU be a part of the solution?

To learn more, read:

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.

Screenshot of research paper

Early acquisition of sign language What neuroimaging data tell us

By Early ASL Acquisition, Early Language Development, Information, Research No Comments

a screenshot of an academic journal article entitled Early acquisition of sign language What neuroimaging data tell us

”Early acquisition of a natural language, signed or spoken, has been shown to fundamentally impact both one’s ability to use the first language, and the ability to learn subsequent languages later in life (Mayberry 2007, 2009). This review summarizes a number of recent neuroimaging studies in order to detail the neural bases of sign language acquisition. The logic of this review is to present research reports that contribute to the bigger picture showing that people who acquire a natural language, spoken or signed, in the normal way possess specialized linguistic abilities and brain functions that are missing or deficient in people whose exposure to natural language is delayed or absent. Comparing the function of each brain region with regards to the processing of spoken and sign languages, we attempt to clarify the role each region plays in language processing in general, and to outline the challenges and remaining questions in understanding language processing in the brain.”

You can read more in this journal article written by Evie Malaia and Ronnie B. Wilbur.


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.


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.


A screen shot of Northeastern University website

Language Deprivation Syndrome

By Early Language Development, Information, Language Deprivation, Research

A screenshot of Northeastern university's website

Learn more about the impact of Language Deprivation Syndrome from Northeastern University’s Centre for Atypical Language Interpreting (CALI). This web resource will cover the basics and complexities of Language Deprivation Syndrome, it’s impact on Deaf children, and its possible link to neurodevelopment disorders.

This research is available in both a written format and ASL.