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Thursday, August 05, 2010



Thanks for sharing your thoughts on signing while also having an oral approach. It's so important for parents to hear that both philosophies can coexist. As teacher of the deaf/hh, I always enjoy working with parents who are open to helping their child in any way possible.It's all about finding what works best for your child and being willing to change over time as your child develops.


Wow...Jazzie is adorable, and has a beautiful voice!


Wow, what a neat video and precious little girl you have! Thanks so much for commenting on my post - I will be sharing your blog with my sister-in-law and know she will enjoy hearing your perspective and insights. Thanks again! :)


Hi Sandra,

Thanks for the nice note on my blog (fortheloveofava). I really enjoyed watching the videos of Jazzie talking and found them very inspiring! Her speech is clear and beautiful. Great job!


The claim that signing delays speech and negatively impacts reading/writing is actually false. The research says so (if you'd like me to try to dig up some studies I could. I'm sure I have them somewhere).

In any case - the cause for reading/writing delays in some deaf children was and still is caused by the lack of early access to language and language at home and the lack of teachers who were able to meet their needs. This was especially prevalent in the days of total communication (TC) schools where teachers barely signed and used Sim-Com. Also, schools for the deaf were all oral from the time of the Milan conference to around the 1960s or 1970s, then they switched to TC, which usually meant Sim-Com. Sim-Com for many of the teachers meant signing only a few words out of a sentence and saying the rest which left the deaf students lost. Also effective means for teaching reading/writing were non existent and many people believed that you had to give deaf students a dumbed down curriculum (false, but unfortunately I think some people still think this). The study that claimed that deaf high school students read on average at a 4th grade level is from the 1990s - which is years ago. I'd be curious to see a more current and credible study. Also, if the results of that study were accurate, the politics of deaf ed played a huge role. ie: teachers, curriculum, students who never learned to sign until they entered school when they were 5 or 6, "oral failures" who failed at oral schools and were sent to signing deaf schools with almost no language skills at the ages of 5-10, etc.

Many deaf children with and without CIs and hearing aids who use ASL are reading and writing on age level providing that they had that early access to language and are given language models and skilled teachers who can teach using bilingual methods. Most schools for the deaf are now switching to bilingual methodology - which is a good thing. Most schools for the deaf also have accommodations for hard of hearing children with hearing aids and children with CIs (also a very good thing). Both Kendall Elementary and Maryland School for the Deaf near me do, and many others do as well. I know a lot of Deaf kids with CIs who have fluency in both languages (spoken English and ASL) as well as age appropriate or above age level reading and writing skills. I also know a lot of Deaf adults with and without hearing aids/implants and speech skills who sign ASL who are college educated, have degrees, work in all sorts of fields and careers, and probably have better reading/writing skills then I do.

The two Deaf children that I take care of while completing grad school are currently above average in language and cognitive skills (oldest is 1 year ahead), which includes early literacy skills - and their first language is ASL and neither one of them has a CI or hearing aids (whether they will in the future I don't know. The oldest used hearing aids for a bit, but then they had to be returned to the county as they were loaners). They are currently almost 3, and 16 months.

Not to sound preachy. Just saying :) The claim by some professionals that signing delays speech and causes low reading/writing skills is outdated and false. Your intuition as a parent was correct, and backed by history and the facts :)



I know you are worrying about Jazzie that you shared with us many times 100%. Of course, I agree your decision is good for her coz be deaf guy is not easy to learn by himself or herself, except hearing well with aids.

Be Deaf is too hard in self-learn if they want to listen or hear in the hearing world. Just like me, I am SO deaf and late of implanted. CI can be helpful to hear basic sound and make sure be safe at outside, BUT too hard to find jobs coz cannot use conversation with others in working. SO many deaf people who have no aids or CIs, just sign in whole life. This is a big problem, some ppl don't mind that, because they are happy with ASL. However, I am not coz I am not sign user and just lip-read...I need to life, have to work...but how?

Example, you have said that Jazzie was so unhappy in swimming becasue of taking off CIs and could not hear other friends chatting. It is as same as me the working environment, I also cannot hear well in the meeting, don't know what they said, this is made me MORE anxious everyday, still be a huge problem for in my life.

That's why I absolutely agree to let Jazzie to hear with CIs, improve her skills and speech.

Now, She speaks very well in video and she can read herself coz you understand what she said. If were me, I could read when I was young, but nobody understands what I said.... So I never read or speak out at school. It would be affected on my writing or conservations for future working.

SO Cochlear implants are very important for deaf children. They can speak well with CIs, make better and better in childhood life.

Jazzie will be great in her future. So that you don't be worried a lot..

No matter what other ppl said but you must believe yourself and do the best for her. Cheer up, Sandra !

Betty =)


What a blessed little girl you have there to have a mom who followed her heart rather than the suggestion of professionals! Jazzie is absolutely amazing and speaks so well!

I do not have experience with deafness but have found signing to be a huge help in Hannah learning how to communicate and now, the beginnings of speech. At one point she probably used 40-50 signs and while this is now decreased somewhat it is because words for those signs have taken their place. So thankful for ASL and the communication opportunities it offers to SO many!


Sandra, as you know, Lindsi signs & speaks well for a CI user. We have always used sign, for many of the reasons that you cited. We did not have the benefit of an Oral Deaf school, like Jazzie (oh how I wish we had)...but we've been blessed with a great team of support & Lindsi (as Jazzie) is a really hard worker when it comes to her speech quality.
The biggest thing I see now, is in Lindsi's writing. She writes like she thinks, which is in ASL. She speaks better than she writes. Jazzie consistently corrects Lindsi's grammar in their texts to each other. Lindsi seems to tolerate Jazzie's correcting better than when I do it....=) Sometimes she can see where she's made the error & sometimes she needs me to re-write it out for her. We've worked a lot on her writing this summer. When she reads things back, she will read what she meant to write, but not necessarily what she DID write.......
Encouraged because this upcoming school year they will use one of the certified deaf Ed teachers to help across the board in vocab building & writing skills. Yea!!


From a person who doesn't have any experience with hearing impairment in my greater family, it seems like it would be no different than being bi-lingual. Sure, there may be some minimal delay in language acquisition on both fronts, but in the end the person is fluent in two languages. I think it's awesome. I wish I had kept my Chinese and tried harder with Spanish because as an adult I totally regret not being able to communicate in more than one fashion.


That is an incredible girl you have there! Her speech is perfect. I would never even guess she is hearing impaired if I didn't know. Sometimes the research is wrong and/or it is wrong for some but not everyone. It's very clear from that video that you made the right decision with Jazzie.
I also love her attitude, impressions and little accent she picked up through parts of it.


She is amazing! I love her facial gestures as she reads too! We followed what the AV professionals said and used very little sign with our son Aiden (simultaneously implanted at 10 mths). Aiden has now been hearing for about 16 months and is finally starting to really take off. In the past four months though, we've been watching a lot of Signing Times videos and using more sign with him, as we found the visual cue makes him more expressive (he's always been a very quiet child). What's funny is that he will now say a word and sign it at the same time or say it first and then sign it. We found it worked well for him while teaching him his colors and since then he has dropped the signs for them but still continues to name them all. We will continue to learn sign as we go along our "not-so-typical" AVT route, as it seems to work for our son.

I just found your blog, if you don't mind I'm going to add it to my blog roll. We just moved to Ohio ourselves earlier this year.

Two Kayaks

I think that the "research" indicating that signing might delay speech is faulty. My brother (a Speech and Language Pathologist) insists that not only does it NOT delay speech, but it encourages it and broadens it. You already know how I feel about signing. It is a second language, it is helping my children communicate with us and it is increasing their vocabulary as we speak.


Sandra, you are on my favorites list on my laptop and the person after you can be found here:

I was surprised tonight when I jumped onto their blog - reading about her niece having to have surgery and hopefully get CI's.

Please visit her blog!



I have no experience with deafness. I do have a son with Autism who was non-verbal for a long time. I was resistant to teaching him sign because I was afraid he would rely on the signing and not learn to speak. I was so wrong. The more signs he learned the more words he spoke. I could not be more pro-signing than I am now.


Do you think you could post a video of her signing? I am not asking this to attack you , I am just curious on her signing thats all.

Amy in NC

I love the southern accent she has acquired! :)

My junior and senior high schools were the only public schools in the the western half of the state (TN) that had a hearing impaired program. So I got use to hearing how some of the deaf students spoke with hearing aids. Jazzie speaks so well that I would have never known that she is deaf and has the CIs.

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