Window of Opportunity for Language Development

Did you know that the first few years of life are the easiest time to learn a language? This time period is called the Window of Opportunity for language development. Since young children are able to pick up language so quickly and easily, it is vital that Deaf children have access to a visual language as early as possible.

After the age of 5, if a child has not had proper access to a language, they may never be able to become fully fluent. A lack of language can also cause problems with critical thinking skills.

Fast facts about language:




  1. Cummins, J. (1979). Linguistic Interdependence and the Educational Development of Bilingual Children. Review of Educational Research, 49(2), 222-251.
  2. Early Start on Signing Vital For Deaf Children. Rosie Mestel –
  3. Humphries, T., Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G. et al. Language acquisition for deaf children: Reducing the harms of zero tolerance to the use of alternative approaches. Harm Reduct J 9, 16 (2012).
  4. Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Moreland, C. J., Napoli, D. J., Osterling, W., Padden, C., & Rathmann, C. (2010). Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. The Journal of clinical ethics, 21(2), 143–154.
  5. Malloy, T. V. (2003, July). Sign language use for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing babies: The evidence supports it. American Society for Deaf children.