Modalities, Research and Personalized Programming

IMG 2558 (5)Which Approach Should I Use With My Child Who is Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing?

USD Modalities Fact Sheet

For hundreds of years, parents of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing have been faced with two exclusive choices for the education of their children: a Listening and Spoken Language (LSL, Oral) approach or an American Sign Language and English (Bilingual/Bicultural) approach. Many families have felt torn about which modality to provide for their child, and some have faced intense pressure to make permanent decisions prematurely.

At the Utah School for the Deaf, things are different.

In our school, parents can choose the “LSL only” approach, the bilingual ASL/English approach, or they can customize the educational experience for their child with the best of both worlds.

Now, they can literally have it all!

Families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing in Utah have a wealth of resources and tools to select from at the Utah School for the Deaf.  Here, children may learn to speak, listen and/or sign to communicate with the world because the Utah School for the Deaf offers both of the traditional programs or any combination of the two that will meet the needs of the child.

How do we do this?

During the regular Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meetings, our professionals evaluate the progress, strengths, and weaknesses of each child with their parents.  Using this knowledge the IEP team determines appropriate goals, services, and placement for the child. Parents can send their child to a USDB school (Salt Lake, Ogden or Orem) or they can choose to place them within their local school district – with or without the support of USD specialists.

USD then implements the IEP team recommendations for each student. USDB recognizes that each child’s path is individualized and can change over time.  If at any time a current placement no longer meets the needs of the child, the parent can request a meeting to discuss other options.

This web page is intended to offer access to facts, research-driven data, and expertise from a variety of professionals in the field of deaf education to assist parents along this journey. 

Pictured: Mom Kimberly and infant Pearl share their personal success story. 

Printable Document Available

Please review the following links for more information:

USDB Programs

Other Helpful Links

Relevant Research Articles

Avoiding Assumptions: Communication Decisions Made by Hearing Parents of Deaf Children

DesGeorges, J. (April 2016).  Avoiding Assumptions: Communication decisions made by hearing parents of deaf children.  American Medical Association Journal of Ethics. 18(4), 442-446.  

Evidence-based Answers to Common Questions by Parents of Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children

Humphries, T., Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Napoli, D. J., Rathmann, C., & Smith, S. (2019). Review Article: Support for parents of deaf children: Common questions and informed, evidence-based answers. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 118, 134–142.

Research Briefs

There are Adverse Neural and Performance Consequences When Language is Not Accessible

Emmorey, K. (2002). Language, cognition, and the brain: Insights from sign language research. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hall, M. L., Eigsti, I.-M., Bortfeld, H., & Lillo-Martin, D. (2018). Executive function in deaf children: auditory access and language access. Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research, 61(8), 1970–1988.

Harris, M. (2010). Early communication in sign and speech. In M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 316-330). New York: Oxford University Press.

Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Henner, J., Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Novogrodsky, R., & Hoffmeister, R. (n.d.). American sign language syntax and analogical reasoning skills are influenced by early acquisition and age of entry to signing schools for the deaf. Frontiers in Psychology, 7.

Humphries, T., Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., & Smith, S. R. (2016). Avoiding linguistic neglect of deaf children. Social Service Review, (4), 589.

Humphries, T., Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Napoli, D. J., Padden, C., Pollard, R., et al. (2014). Medical Science Educator, 24(4), 409-419. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/dnapoli1/lingarticles/What%20Medical%20Education%20Can%20Do.pdf

Kushalnagar P., Mathur G., Moreland C. J., Napoli D. J., Osterling, W., Padden C., et al. (2010). Infants and children with hearing loss need early language access. Journal of Clinical Ethics, 21, 143–154.

Marschark, M., Schick, B., & Spencer, P. E. (2006). Understanding sign language development of deaf children. In B. Schick, M. Marschark, & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Advances in the sign language development of deaf children (pp. 3-19). New York: Oxford University Press.

Mayberry, R. I., Lock, E., & Kazmi, H. (2002). Linguistic ability and early language exposure. Nature, 417(6884), 38. doi: 10.1038/417038a

Mellon, N., Niparko, J. K., Rathmann, C., Mathur, G., Humphries, T., Napoli, D. J., et al. (2015). Should all deaf children learn sign language? Pediatrics, 136(1), 170-176. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from http://deafchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ASDC-Pediatrics-2015-Mellon-peds-2014-1632-Should-All-Deaf-Children-Learn-Sign-Language.pdf

Morford, J. P., & Mayberry, R. I. (2000). A reexamination of “early exposure” and its implications for language acquisition by eye. In C. Chamberlain, J. Morford, & R. Mayberry (Eds.), Language acquisition by eye (pp. 111-127). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Van Staden, A. (n.d.). Comparing native signing, late-signing and orally trained deaf children’s “theory of mind” abilities. South African Journal of Psychology, 40(1), 97–106.

The Brain is Not Biased to Learning Language Through Speech

Bavelier, D., Newport, E., & Supalla, T. (2003). Children need natural languages, signed or spoken. The Dana Foundation. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/Default.aspx?id=39306

Kovelman, I., Shalinsky, M. H., White, K. S., Schmitt, S. N., Berens, M. S., Paymer, N., et al. (2009). Dual language use in sign-speech bimodal bilinguals: fNIRS brain-imaging evidence. Brain & Language, 109, 112-123.

Krentz, U., & Corina, D. (2008). Preference for language in early infancy: The human language bias is not speech specific. Developmental Science, 11(1), 1-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00652.x

Petitto, L. A., & Kovelman, I. (2003). The bilingual paradox: How signing-speaking bilingual children help us resolve bilingual issues and teach us about the brain’s mechanisms underlying all language acquisition. Learning Languages, 8, 5-18.

Walker, E. A., & Tomblin, J. B. (2014). The influence of communication mode on language development in children with cochlear implants. In M. M. Marschark, G. Tang, & H. Knoors, Bilingualism and bilingual deaf education (pp.134-149). New York: Oxford University Press.

Many Children Do Not Receive Enough Linguistic Input to Learn Spoken Language at a Typical Rate

Blamey, P. J. (2003). Development of spoken language by deaf children. In M. Marschark & P.E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 232-246). New York: Oxford University Press.

Geers, A. E. (2006). Spoken language in children with cochlear implants. In P. E. Spencer & M. Marschark (Eds.), Advances in the spoken language of deaf and hard-of-hearing children (pp. 244-270). New York: Oxford University Press.

Harris, M. (2010). Early communication in sign and speech. In M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 316-330). New York: Oxford University Press.

Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. (2007). Year 2007 position statement: Principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. American Academy of Pediatrics, 120, 898-921. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/120/4/898.full.pdf+html

Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. (2013). Supplement to the JCIH 2007 position statement: Principles and guidelines for early intervention after confirmation that a child is deaf or hard of hearing. Pediatrics, 131, e1324–e1349. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/18/peds.2013-0008.full.pdf+hml

Kral, A., & Sharma, A. (2012). Developmental neuroplasticity after cochlear implantation. Trends in Neuroscience, 35(2), 111–122.

Nicholas, J. G., & Geers, A. E. (2006). The process and early outcomes of cochlear implantation by three years of age. In P. E. Spencer & M. Marschark (Eds.), Advances in the spoken language of deaf and hard-of-hearing children (pp. 271-297). New York: Oxford University Press.

Pisoni, D. B., Conway, C. M., Kronenberger, D. L., Horn, J. K., & Hennings, S. C. (2008). Efficacy and effectiveness of cochlear implants in deaf children. In M. Marschark & P. C. Hauser (Eds.), Deaf cognition: Foundations and outcomes (pp. 52-101). New York: Oxford University Press.

Sinclair, M. (1988). Panel criticizes U.S. on education of the deaf; in debate on the Hill, “mainstreaming” of hearing-impaired students is reexamined. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgov&AN=edsgcl.6468679&site=eds-live&scope=site

Spencer, L. J., & Tomblin, B. (2006). In P. E. Spencer & M. Marschark (Eds.), Advances in the spoken language of deaf and hard-of-hearing children (pp. 166-192). New York: Oxford University Press.

For Children Who Have Little or No Access to Sound, Effective Communication May Be Largely Visual

Baker, S. (2011). Advantages of early visual language (Research Brief No. 2). Washington, DC: Visual Language and Visual Learning Science of Learning Center. Retrieved on May 17, 2016, from http://vl2.gallaudet.edu/research/research-briefs/english/advantages-early-visual-language/

Emmorey, K. (2002). Language, cognition, and the brain: Insights from sign language research. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Harris, M. (2010). Early communication in sign and speech. In M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 316-330). New York: Oxford University Press.

Marschark, M., Schick, B., & Spencer, P. E. (2006). Understanding sign language development of deaf children. In B. Schick, M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Advances in the sign language development of deaf children (pp. 3-19). New York: Oxford University Press.

Mayberry, R. I., Lock, E., & Kazmi, H. (2002). Linguistic ability and early language exposure. Nature, 417(6884), 38. doi: 10.1038/417038a

Morford, J. P., & Mayberry, R. I. (2000). A reexamination of “early exposure” and its implications for language acquisition by eye. In C. Chamberlain, J. Morford, & R. Mayberry (Eds.), Language acquisition by eye (pp. 111-127). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

The Brain Has the Capacity to Develop Two Languages and Modalities

Kovelman, I., Shalinsky, M. H., White, K. S., Schmitt, S. N., Berens, M.S., Paymer, N., et al. (2009). Dual language use in sign-speech bimodal bilinguals: fNIRS brain-imaging evidence. Brain & Language, 109, 112-123.

Petitto, L. A., Katerelos, M., Levy, B. G., Gauna, K., Tetreault, K., & Ferraro, V. (2001). Bilingual signed and spoken language acquisition from birth: Implications for the mechanisms underlying early bilingual language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 28, 453-496.

Swanwick, R. (2016). Deaf children’s bimodal bilingualism and education. Language Teaching, 49, 1-34. doi: 10.1017/S0261444815000348

Van Staden, A., Badenhorst, G., & Ridge, E. (2009). The benefits of sign language for deaf learners with language challenges. Per Linguam : A Journal of Language Learning, 25, (1), p. 44-60.

Natural, Interactive Language is Important for Shaping Brain Architecture

Center on the Developing Child. (2016). Serve and return interaction shapes brain circuitry [Video]. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Retrieved on May 17, 2016, from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/serve-return-interaction-shapes-brain-circuitry/.

Kuhl, P. (2004). Early language acquisition: Cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 831-843. doi:10.1038/nrn1533

Use of Sign Will Not Impede (and Can Support) Spoken Language Development

Davidson, K., Lillo-Martin, D., and Chen Pichler, D. (2013). Spoken english language development among native signing children with cochlear implants. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education,19(2), 238-250. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1093/deafed/ent045

Giezen, M., Baker, A., & Escudero, P. (2014). Relationships between spoken word and sign processing in children with cochlear implants. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education,19(1), 107-125.

Mitchiner, J., Nussbaum, B. D., & Scott, S. (2012). The implications of bimodal bilingual approaches for children with cochlear implants (Research Brief No. 6). Washington, DC: Visual Language and Visual Learning Science of Learning Center. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from http://vl2.gallaudet.edu/research/research-briefs/english/children-cochlear-implants/

Seal, B. C., Nussbaum, D. B., Belzner, K. A., Scott, S., & Waddy-Smith, B. (2011). Consonant and sign phoneme acquisition in signing children following cochlear implantation. Cochlear Implants International, 12, 34–43.

Wilbur, R. (2000). The use of ASL to support the development of English and literacy. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 5, 81-104.

Yoshinaga-Itano, C. (2006). Early identification, communication modality, and the development of speech and spoken language skills: Patterns and considerations. In P. Spencer & M. Marschark (Eds.), Advances in the spoken language development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children (pp. 298-327). New York: Oxford University Press.

There are Numerous Benefits to Facilitating Both American Sign Language and Spoken English with Young Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Bavelier, D., Newport, E., & Supalla, T. (2003). Children need natural languages, signed or spoken. The Dana Foundation. Retrieved May 5, 2016, from http://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/Default.aspx?id=39306.

Easterbrooks, S., & Baker, S. (2002). Language learning in children who are deaf and hard of hearing: Multiple pathways. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Grosjean, F. (2008). Studying bilinguals. New York: Oxford University Press.

Knoors, H., & Marschark, M. (2012). Language planning for the 21st century: Revisiting bilingual language policy for deaf children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17(3), 291-304.

Meynardie, E. (Director), Petitto, L. A. (Researcher), & Scheuermann, S. (Producer). (2014). What the eyes reveal about the brain: Advances in human language acquisition—Insights from Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) and the Brain and Language Lab for Neuroimaging (BL2) [Webcast]. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://www.gallaudet.edu/clerc-center/learning-opportunities/webcasts/what-the-eyes-reveal-about-the-brain-webcast.html.

Nussbaum, D. B., Scott, S., & Simms, L. E. (2012). The “why” and “how” of an ASL/English bimodal bilingual program. Odyssey, 13, 14-19. Retrieved May 5, 2016, from http://www.gallaudet.edu/Images/Clerc/articles/Odyssey_SPR_2012_NussbaumScottSimms.pdf.

Petitto, L. A. (2009). New discoveries from the bilingual brain and mind across the lifespan: Implications for education. International Journal of Mind, Brain, and Education, 3(4), 185-197.

Rinaldi, P., Caselli, M., Onofrio, D., & Volterra, V. (2014). Language acquisition by bilingual deaf Preschoolers: Theoretical and methodological issues and empirical data. In M. M. Marschark, G. Tang, & H. Knoors (Eds.), Bilingualism and bilingual deaf education. New York: Oxford University Press.

Swanwick, R. (2016). Deaf children’s bimodal bilingualism and education. Language Teaching, 49, 1-34. doi: 10.1017/S0261444815000348

There are Numerous Benefits to Individualized Language Planning for Young Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Easterbrooks, S., & Baker, S. (2002). Language learning in children who are deaf and hard of hearing: Multiple pathways. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

French, M. M. (1999). Starting with assessment: A developmental approach to deaf children’s literacy. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University, Pre-College National Mission Programs.

Hafer, J. C., & Stredler-Brown, A. (2003). Family-centered developmental assessment. In B. Bodner-Johnson & M. Sass-Lehrer (Eds.), The young deaf or hard of hearing child: A family-centered approach to early education (pp. 127-149). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Jamieson, J. R. (2003). Formal and informal approaches to the language assessment of deaf children. In M. Marschark, & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 275-288). New York: Oxford University Press.

Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. (2007). Year 2007 position statement: Principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. American Academy of Pediatrics, 120, 898-921. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/120/4/898.full.pdf+html

Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. (2013). Supplement to the JCIH 2007 position statement: Principles and guidelines for early intervention after confirmation that a child is deaf or hard of hearing. Pediatrics, 131, e1324–e1349. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/18/peds.2013-0008.full.pdf+html

Moeller, M. P., Carr, G., Seaver, S., Stredler-Brown, A., & Holzinger, D. (2013). Best practices in family-centered early intervention for children who are deaf or hard of hearing: An international consensus statement. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 18(4), 429-445. Retrieved May 17, 2016, from http://jdsde.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/429.full

Stredler-Brown, A. (2010). Communication choices and outcomes during the early years: An assessment and evidence-based approach. In M. Marschark & P. E. Spencer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of deaf studies, language, and education (pp. 292-315). New York: Oxford University Press.