Responding to the myths with the realities.
Cochlear implants do not replace normal hearing. There are no guarantees that your child will attain spoken language acquisition. No matter how much time and effort you invest.
[There are no claims CI's replaces normal hearing, and if you are born deaf you, don't even start from that premise.]
There is a critical window for language development. If a child is not fluent in a language by the age of five, he or she may never attain full fluency in any language. Having a foundational language is crucial to the development of future language. Why wait until it’s too late?
[The issue is choice, sign language isn't an 'only' option.]
Sign Language comes naturally to deaf children. By signing to your deaf child or exposing them to fluent signers, you are ensuring language acquisition and avoiding language delays. If your goal is speech, that’s fine. Sign will not get in the way.
[It is more difficult for them to integrate and communicate with non-signers, aka the majority, and the reality suggests signers prefer to stay with sign-only, and that deters speech use, also peers are reluctant to speak too, so that feeds into the whole 'sign first' argument as being unrealistic. Parents have to make a conscious choice on child futures and should not have a stark choice between a deaf world, or a hearing one by limiting any ability to cross social-communicational divides, or forget inclusion and equality gigs.]
Introducing two languages does not interfere with the acquisition of either language. Consider children of immigrants: they are often bilingual, juggling between two languages, and according to PhD. Marc Marschark of NTID, all deaf children should be bilingual.
[It's a chicken/egg situation, logic suggests the host country's language and grammar should take priority. There are no ASL or BSL curriculums that are viable.]
Sign Language enhances the development of spoken language and literacy. Knowing sign does not impede a deaf child’s academic success; if anything, it helps them establish a healthy foundation to build upon. According to research from NTID, “Children who sign early on generally outperform those who do not sign during their early school years.”
[Sign is the language of visuals and silence, who needs to speak when you can sign ? or even caption? when it is often considered a right not to? Lack of coherence is the Deaf Achille's heel.]
Hearing children learn a second language, and this is considered a luxury and a sign of intelligence; however, for deaf children, being bilingual is a vital skill necessary for their language and social development.
[Bilinguality is largely a myth, and unproven, they cloud the sign grammar right issues to justify issues with the main grammars. Deaf are still demanding mono-lingual rights, why do that if it defeats bilingual access or acquisition?]
Knowing American Sign Language is the key to socializing and interacting with the Deaf community. Many hard of hearing and cochlear implanted children desire later in life to be involved with deaf people. And while they are children, having ASL skills gives them access to deaf peers, deaf mentors, and the deaf community.
[Agreed! but the issue is not just being able to communicate/integrate with peers, but doing the same with mainstream where you have to live and to work. Simply because the deaf have chosen 'own kind', defeats the point. The goal post has been moved that's all.]
Cochlear implants sometimes malfunction. No technology is beyond reproach. Sign fluency allows a deaf child to rely on their sign skills when in a jam. As a result, the child doesn’t miss the window for language fluency or access to communication when and if the technology falters.
[Sign effectiveness relies entirely on the recipient being able to understand, or you will need a terp, or an alternative communication mode, you cannot guarantee that will always happen. It is like stating I can speak french, so if in Russia, I will have no problems them understanding me because they probably all speak French too. At best sign is of little use, and you resort to Mime..]
Signing is more convenient is some settings. When in a quiet setting like a play or a loud setting like a rock concert, sign language comes in handy to communicate in a discreet and clear way.
[With whom ? and how does sign allow you to HEAR rock music? or singing?]
Signing allows you to communicate from a distance. Under water. Through sound proof glass. One of my favorite experiences was snorkeling and communicating with my family under water– freaking awesome!
[We hardly think an ability to communicate underwater is an absolute priority, false argument.]
Signing with your deaf child strengthens your bond. Many hearing parents fear losing their deaf child to the deaf community; however, clear communication is the key to healthy relationships that can’t be broken.
[Being able to communicate with your child IS important, but that does not necessarily have to be via sign language, there are alternatives, simply because we may not agree with them, does not make those alternatives any more impracticable.]
Beyond the American deaf community, there is a global deaf community. Most of the world does not have access to cochlear implant or hearing aid technology. Knowing sign language gives your deaf child access to deaf people around the world.
[No it doesn't. Uni-sign doesn't cross borders, and each country has own variations. E.G. the old deaf mosaic programs in the USA had to have SIX different interpreters to talk to just THREE different deaf signers from Europe. It also ignores the degree of sign proficiency in the user. Ability defines, not use.]
The whole series of pro-sign claims, just seem to be anti-cochlear promotion, they are here to stay, it helps if other deaf people accept the reality, and not suggest CI implantees have got it wrong, make them uncomfortable or suggest they won't 'fit in' with deaf signers, after all, they are deaf too.