Friday, December 11, 2009

Deaf Children and Literacy

My daughter recently had her three year school evaluation in accordance with IEP elegibility requirements. Yes, she is still deaf. Yes, she still qualifies for an IEP. However, her academic test scores were all at or above grade level, so she only qualified for audiological services, not academic assistance. We were very happy with her progress.

That got me to wondering about reading literacy in general. When we first became involved in the early intervention program, the current data at the time ( ) coming out of Gaulladet showed a 4th grade reading literacy level for Deaf kids graduating high school. This was 10 years ago. I searched the web, and while I found a lot of small studies, with mixed results, there hasn't been a comprehensive overview that I could find since then! I am stunned and saddened that this issue has been so poorly followed up on. I would have thought that every Methodology out there would want to show the world the Holy Grail of performance, which is a high literacy level in the deaf children who follow their method.

I found a lot of studies touting the importance of (fill in the blank) in teaching deaf children how to read. This includes early ASL language acquisition, which I do not dispute. But even Gally does not have current data to show how early ASL helps with higher literacy levels. What does it take to get enough interest in this issue for academic programs to start requiring regular testing and follow up, and then to get it published?

Maybe I am just missing it, or not using the correct search words. If you know of published studies that actually show literacy levels in high school students graduating high school, that is less than 5 years old, I would love to have it. It would be especially helpful if the study showed what specific educational program they used.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Show and Tell

Last month, while we were at a family birthday party, my niece came over to ask a favor. Could my daughter and I come to her high school ASL class for show and tell? It seems that she (my niece) missed a number of days and her grades are not the best. She could get extra credit points for doing a presentation on different deaf related subjects. She asked her teacher if having her cousin who has cochlear implants do a presentation in class would qualify. Yes, it would.

So, My 11 year old and I will spend the day in her ASL class, talking about implants, sign language, speech therapy, audiologists, mapping, and anything else the kids can think to ask regarding my daughter's journey. My daughter and I have visited other ASL classes, and she loves it. The kids have alwasy been amazing with her and make her feel very special. I hope my niece gets lots of points for inviting us.