Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where are the deaf children?


Approximately 95% of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) children are born to hearing parents (Mitchell & Karchmer, 2004).

D/HH children who received early cochlear implants and high-quality early intervention achieve similar levels as their hearing peers (Cheng et al., 2006; Geers, 2004).

In 1995 in the state of North Carolina, 40% of families chose auditory/ oral options compared to 60% who chose sign language-based options.

In 2005, 85% of families chose auditory/oral options compared to 15% who chose sign language-based options.

Paraphrased from: White, K. (2006). Early Intervention for Children with Permanent Hearing Loss: Finishing the EHDI Revolution. The Volta Review, 106, 3.

We need ASL in the picture. Luckily for us, researchers are hard at work proving that children who learn ASL along with CIs show even more benefit.



raychelle said...

Drastic changes in educational options within a 10 year span.... sigh. Wondering about the numbers for the past 3 years... hmm.

D/HH children achieve similar levels to their hearing peers in what? Academics? or spoken language ability?

And I wonder what high-quality early intervention means in that article.

We definitely need ASL in the picture - I truly hope DBC will develop a position paper that reflects that regardless of the parents decision whether to implant their child - as long as the child has access to ASL and English- bilingualism - from birth.

Anonymous said...

more than doubled in only ten years?
I think the statistic is too broad, ten years is way too fast.

K.L. said...

I saw some of the same studies. The levels they are talking about are hearing comprehension and expression. Basically, listening and talking skills. And the kids who get bilaterals are showing even higher levels.

But take hope. There are some studies emerging that show combining signing with early implantation show a much faster comprehension and a faster catch-up time to average hearing kids.

Jean Boutcher said...


I have read somewhere in the late 2007 or in the early 2008 that Thomas Klumenia (spelling ?), director of research at Gallaudet, said that 30 years ago 10% of deaf children attended mainstream school and 90% of other deaf children attended residential schools. Now the percentages flip-flopped 30 years later. More and more deaf parents send their deaf children to mainstream school. What I do not know for a fact is as to whether cochlear implant is a factor for the flip-flopped percentage.

Anonymous said...

Yes, very drastic. As an educator for the Deaf in the mainstream, I also see a quick decline in deaf kids in TC programs.

I do see the potential of full mainstreaming for CI kids who are functioning on or near grade level; however I do not support isolation among CI kids in their neighborhood schools.

What I hope to see is regionalizing of CI kids (signing or oral or somewhere in the middle) in the same school.

AL said...

Yes CI is a huge factor in the decline of students in ASL/TC programs. I know for a fact that the hospitals that do the surgery has a huge impact on where parents decide to send their children to for schooling. A lot of deaf programs, such as the Learning Center, are actively collaborating with hospitals and developing programs to meet the needs of CI kids. But will it be too late? We need to convince hospitals of the merits of a true bimodal and bilingual education, with peers who also are deaf.

Anonymous said...

Lane, yes things can happen fast. Thank the Oberkotter Foundation for their free resource materials sent to millions and millions of parents of deaf children. The Oberkotter Foundation can get the credit for the rapid expansion of oralism.

Anonymous said...

We need people to speak up.

The claim for the CI companies is that D/HH children achieve similar educational levels to their hearing peers.

They do not give specific numbers.

I have several children with CI in my classes. They are NOT academically equal to their hearing peers. I think I can get them there with extra tutoring - in ASL.

They do not talk about the kids whose CIs are failures. This percentage needs to be found and spoken about. What per cent of CIs are simply rejected later in life after the exciting training period?

OCDAC said...

The parents of deaf children see ASL as a bullying language not as a communication language.

They see the ASL knives on my backs and other people's backs and don't want it on their kids backs either.

The graphic probably echoes everywhere else.


Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

since you have such interesting stats...i'm just curious if you have any specific stats on autism and deafness? i have read approx 1 out of 60 kids born deaf ultimately end up w. AI dx. DS is 'autistish' and had AI MET when in school...dr says he doesn't quite meet it. anyway- was curious what types of stats, education info etc.. you have. we homeschool and find it a great mix for us.

ASL CI Users said...

Prince Andrew,
you bring an interesting question. There is a recent publication about that kind of research in Odyssey. Check this out:

Shel90 said...


You say that the hospitals where the surgeries are being performed have a huge impact on the parents' decisions on what educational programs to send their children to. I have a friend who did a research for her thesis on this issue. It seems that doctors are overstepping their boundaries by acting as educational consultants when they tell parents not to send their children to programs that use ASL.
In my opinion, I find that very unethical of the doctors because they are not trained in the field of Deaf education and have no business taking on that role. They are simply there to consult on the pros and cons of the surgery and ensure that the risks are minimal. Did I miss something here because the last I looked, doctors are solely responsible for health and medical issues not educational issues?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you focus on auditory/oral and see about making modification? But it appears bilingual approach is making its way. It will be 100%! Don't focus on ASL alone, you know many parents will not opt for ASL. It takes more than knowing ASL to understand. I use ASL, it helps but speaking also helps.

Just over 15 years ago, if I remember correctly the stats was something like, 10% of the deaf population (americans) went to college and 1% recieved Bachelor. Sorry no resource but I do remember the number being so low. and now... it's better. Hmmm, I wonder why?

Of course, doctors and audiologists will say CI is your best option. You should be your own doctor to explore if CI is your best option.

We can't sit here and worry about this drastic change. We can help make changes. I usually say you can't complain without a solution.

By the way, I would like to see more numbers.

starrynight said...

Those statistics in NC seem similar to those of the deaf preschool program I had just visited at a public school. It seems that more than 75% of deaf children in that program use oral/auditory method and the rest use TC or other visual methods. Most oral/auditory students would leave the deaf program to be mainstreamed full time at their home schools in Kindergarten or 1st grade. That is where I think most deaf children with CIs would go as their parents prefer them to go to their home schools with their siblings. Some of them would not consider themselves "deaf" but normal like typical hearing peers as they seem to view their CI like a pair of eyeglasses that help others see much more clearly. They can't hear well without the CI. Others can't see well without eyeglasses.

However, I agree that ASL would be an additional benefit for deaf children with CIs. I also have heard that some of those children didn't need ASL or sign language anymore when they have caught up with spoken language because their entire family is hearing and everybody else in their neighborhood is hearing. Who would they sign to?

Anonymous said...

Exactly... I wasn't expose enough to even think I would need to know or use ASL growing up.


Paul said...

It is audism at work in reducing ASL users. Thanks to their propoganda.

There is a need to accept ASL as a language for Deaf people and understand that CI alone is not helping much.

CI users still use ASL.