Language and Communication

This section of Info to Go includes resources about language acquisition, ASL/English bilingual education, and sign systems used in the education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. For spoken language and Cued Speech, please see Spoken Language.

Language Acquisition

Clerc Center Resources

Online Resources  

Early Intervention Network: Supporting Linguistic Competence for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Online resource developed at the Clerc Center sharing evidence-based practices essential to the development of linguistic competence in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Various programs implementing these practices from throughout the country are highlighted, and discussion opportunities are available for early intervention professionals (see below).

Online Learning Community: Early Intervention Community of Practice

An Early Intervention discussion group is offered as part of the Clerc Center Online Learning Community to support networking among professionals who work with young deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. It is a place where professionals can share strategies, resources and ideas.

Setting Language in Motion: Family Supports and Early Intervention for Babies Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (2016)

A web-based resource developed as a collaborative effort between the Clerc Center and The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of Boston Children's Hospital for early intervention providers, educators of deaf children, early childhood specialists, allied professionals, parents, and other caregivers. Seven modules are provided to share information critical to promoting early language acquisition for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This product is available in American Sign Language, spoken English, and Spanish with closed captions. An Activity Guide is provided to expand use of this resource (see below).

Setting Language in Motion: Activity Guide (2016)

A comprehensive set of approximately 40 activities to support use of Setting Language in Motion. Developed by early interventionists on the frontlines, it provides ideas, strategies, and resources to expand on each of the topics in Setting Language in Motion. Included are talking points and activities to guide family education and links to practical resources.

Webcasts

Language Learning Through Eye and Ear (2017)

Two-part research-based webcast, presented by Deborah Chen Pichler, a member of the Gallaudet University Linguistics faculty, addressing how deaf and hard of hearing babies acquire language and why one should sign with babies as early as possible. It provides early interventionists a foundational knowledge to engage in dialogue with parents and professionals about the neurolinguistic benefits of early exposure to visual language for all babies. It also provides research supported data to counter inaccurate assumptions surrounding dual language learning in deaf and hard of hearing children. Included is a reference list to support this webcast.

Dispelling Myths of Language Acquisition (2016)

Roberta (Bobbi) Cordano, 11th President of Gallaudet University, partners with Ron Stern, former Vice President of the Clerc Center, for a brief video sharing their mutual passion on the urgency of providing each child who is deaf or hard of hearing, full and early access to language through bilingual exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) and English. It addresses common misconceptions about language acquisition for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and links to a comprehensive resource list on this topic.

Maximizing Language Acquisition: ASL and Spoken English (2016)

Clerc Center and Gallaudet University professionals provide an evidence-based rationale for supporting language acquisition in both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. They discuss the important ingredients essential to learning language as well as common misconceptions that tend to drive language and communication practices. Accompanying the webcast is a comprehensive reference list.

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 Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) (2014)

Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, from Gallaudet University's Brain and Language Laboratory, shares breakthrough research related to the visual modality and what happens when, as she says, "the lion's share of knowledge comes from the eyes." She addresses the impact of that on brain structure and function, and findings on how this applies to early language acquisition.  

Gallaudet University Resources

Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)

A Science of Learning Center at Gallaudet University on "Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2)" established to advance knowledge and strategies related to how aspects of human higher cognition are realized through vision. They seek to determine the effects of visual processes, visual language, and social experience on the development of cognition, language, reading and literacy.

Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2)

Lab providing neuroimaging and behavioral studies examining knowledge about the biological mechanisms and environmental factors impacting the human capacity to learn and convey language, achieve reading mastery, and become a skilled bilingual.

Visual Language Visual Learning Center (VL2): Research Briefs 

Series of research briefs on visual language and visual learning developed as a resource for educators and parents to summarize relevant scholarship and make recommendations for practice. Briefs one through eight are available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. For a description of, and links to, each of these briefs, and associated descriptions of the briefs in ASL, see: Summary of VL2 Research Briefs in ASL

Research Brief 9: Family Involvement in ASL Acquisition

Research Brief discussing how parental involvement is a critical factor in deaf children's language acquisition.  

VL2: Parent Information Package

Online information packet developed by the Visual Language and Visual Learning Center (VL2) at Gallaudet University. It provides a Parent Toolkit to help families and children learn ASL together, bilingual interactive storybook apps to encourage reading to children in ASL, and interviews with parents, researchers, and deaf adults on growing up bilingual, and/ or learning sign language in life.

VL2: ASL Assessment Toolkits

Links to information about the measures that VL2 has supported in their goal to build a "one-stop shop" ASL assessment portal.

VL2: Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist (VCSL) 

A standardized comprehensive checklist, available through VL2, to assist in tracking young children's sign language development from birth to age five.

VL2 Storybook Apps

Links to numerous stories in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Children can watch the story in ASL or start reading it in English. At any point throughout the story in English, children can tap the screen to watch that part of the story in ASL. Children can also touch specific English words to see them fingerspelled as well as being signed in ASL.

Stakeholder Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics Journal article: Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language? (July 2015)

Article in the "Ethics Round" of the 2015 Pediatrics Journal. A panel of individuals with varying perspectives discusses what pediatricians should consider in counseling families about what they need to know about various approaches, to parent-child communication when a child is deaf.

Serve and Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry (Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University) 

Video from the Center of the Developing Child, Harvard University, about the fundamental importance of the "back and forth" of language interactions to the wiring of the brain, especially in the earliest years.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children: Federal Support for Developing Language and Literacy, May 2011 (Government Accounting Office)

This Government Accounting Office report examines: a) the extent of hearing loss among students in publicly funded education, b) the types of settings in which students who are deaf or hard of hearing are educated, c) the factors that help children who are deaf or hard of hearing acquire language and literacy skills, and d) the challenges to providing appropriate interventions to these students.

Language and Learning (Boys Town)

Section of My Baby's Hearing, a family website from Boys Town National Research Hospital, including information about early intervention, development of communication with a baby, ideas for nurturing language development, and support opportunities for the whole family. It is available in English and Spanish.

Language Planning Tools

Making a Plan: IFSP Considerations for Children who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CDC)

This document was developed by the Parent-to-Parent Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EHDI. It is designed to guide conversations between parents and their Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) teams as they address the unique language and communication considerations for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. Available in English and Spanish (translated into Spanish by the Texas School for the Deaf).

Tools for Developing Communication Plans: Louisiana

A tool to help IEP teams determine a student's current communication needs (deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf/blind) and establish a plan for ensuring the student is able to fully participate in all aspects of his/her education.

Communication Plan: Florida Department of Education

A tool developed by the Florida Department of Education to guide planning of language and communication supports for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Position Statement on Language Access: California Department of Education (2017)

This document provides California Department of Education's position supporting the right of children to have access to a complete language, visual or spoken, as appropriate from birth. In addition, it clarifies the right of parents to receive comprehensive and balanced information about all language opportunities, communication tools, and educational approaches available to make informed decisions.

The Radical Middle (DHH)

A platform for researchers, practitioners, families, and members of the deaf community to communicate and collaborate with others, who have a variety of expertise across modalities and educational practices, in a way that is understanding and respectful of philosophical perspectives that may differ. They support use of evidence-based practices with the understanding that there is not a "one size/one philosophy fits all" solution for all students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

ASL/English Bilingual Learning 

Clerc Center Resources

Webcasts

Language Learning Through Eye and Ear (2017)

Two-part research-based webcast, presented by Deborah Chen Pichler, a member of the Gallaudet University Linguistics faculty, addressing how deaf and hard of hearing babies acquire language and why one should sign with babies as early as possible. It provides early interventionists a foundational knowledge to engage in dialogue with parents and professionals about the neurolinguistic benefits of early exposure to visual language for all babies. It also provides research supported data to counter inaccurate assumptions surrounding dual language learning in deaf and hard of hearing children. Included is a reference list to support this webcast.

Dispelling Myths of Language Acquisition (2016)

Roberta (Bobbi) Cordano, 11th President of Gallaudet University, partners with Ron Stern, former Vice President of the Clerc Center, for a brief video sharing their mutual passion on the urgency of providing each child who is deaf or hard of hearing, full and early access to language through bilingual exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) and English. It addresses common misconceptions about language acquisition for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and links to a comprehensive resource list on this topic.

Maximizing Language Acquisition: ASL and Spoken English (2016)

Clerc Center and Gallaudet University professionals provide an evidence-based rationale for supporting language acquisition in both American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. They discuss the important ingredients essential to learning language as well as common misconceptions that tend to drive language and communication practices. Accompanying the webcast is a comprehensive reference list.

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 Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) (2014)

Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, from Gallaudet University's Brain and Language Laboratory, shares breakthrough research related to the visual modality and what happens when, as she says, "the lion's share of knowledge comes from the eyes." She addresses the impact of that on brain structure and function, and findings on how this applies to early language acquisition.  

Odyssey: New Directions in Deaf Education
(Annual magazine published by the Clerc Center)

Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Preschool Students ' Emerging ASL Skills: A Bilingual Approach (2017)

Success in Two Languages: Focused Programming Provides On-Target Development for Maine Preschoolers (2017) 

Developing ASL Text in the Bilingual Classroom (2015)

Bilingual Storybook Apps: An Interactive Reading Experience for Children (2015)

Auditory Technology and its Impact on Bilingual Deaf Education (2015)

The "Why" And "How" Of An ASL/English Bimodal Bilingual Program (2012)

Research-Based Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Assessment in a Deaf Bilingual Program (2012)

Evidence and Evolution: Research and Teachers' Intuition Lead to a Bilingual Program (2012)

Gallaudet University Resources

Visual Language Visual Learning Center (VL2): Research Briefs  

Research Brief 6: The Implications of Bimodal Bilingual Approaches for Children with Cochlear Implants

Research Brief 7: The Benefits of Bilingualism

Research Brief 8: ASL/English Bilingual Education

Research Brief 9: Family Involvement in ASL Acquisition

Stakeholder Resources

Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K)

A national campaign to promote language acquisition and kindergarten-readiness through bilingual language acquisition and learning in both American Sign Language and English for Deaf and hard of hearing toddlers and youth aged 0-5. The Nyle DiMarco Foundation is partnering with LEAD-K to support this mission.

National ASL and English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education

Website of the National ASL and English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education, a non-profit organization of professionals dedicated to the development, management, and coordination of ASL and English bilingual early childhood programs for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families. They host a national conference on this topic.

Ski Hi: Deaf Mentor Program

A Deaf Mentor program and curriculum is available through the Ski Hi Institute. The goal is to assist families and agencies in implementing home based training for families seeking to learn more about the cultural aspects of raising a child who is Deaf; including learning of ASL. They offer a Deaf Mentor Curriculum through Hope, Inc. Publications.

Raising and Educating Deaf Children: eBulletins
(Associated with the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Oxford UP)

Bilingualism for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (2016)

Sign Systems  

Stakeholder Resources  

Manually Coded English (CDC)

Information clarifying the differences between the uses of sign systems used to support the English language and the use of American Sign Language (ASL). Included is a video of MCE in action.

S.E.E. Center

Center that provides training on Signing Exact English.

Signing Exact English (Hands and Voices)

Document from Hands and Voices, describing Signing Exact English (SEE), what is involved, and what families should know.

Signing Exact English (SEE)

Responses to frequently asked questions about SEE.

Sign.Com

Resources to help learn and teach Signed English, including a complete dictionary containing almost 3,000 words.

Last revised November 2017

This site was supported by federal funding. Publication of this material shall not imply approval or acceptance by the U.S. Department of Education of the findings, conclusions, or recommendations herein. Gallaudet University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, hearing status, disability, covered veteran status, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, place of business or residence, pregnancy, childbirth, or any other unlawful basis.