I feel as if I have been preparing for this assignment for a long time. This topic is dear to my heart and to my personal experiences. I would love to contribute to what little literature there is about the lives of Deaf people.
I would like to learn more about the Deaf adults’ early childhood education experiences. Did they have positive or negative experiences and why? Three subtopics are as follows:
1. What experiences caused them to have positive or negative early childhood education experiences?
2. Did they receive visual language (American Sign Language) intervention services during early childhood education?
3. What were their experiences when learning American Sign Language?
Because of my personal experiences, I am inclined toward choosing subtopic #1 because it would allow me to keep my personal biases to a minimum. The participants’ responses will constitute the data that I am looking for. I have heard some parents and hearing professionals discuss that today the early childhood experiences of deaf students are different and more positive today. Maybe that’s true, but the stories from deaf adults tell me otherwise. Today, I still hear stories of how the turning point in their lives is when they learn American Sign Language. They would say that they did not realize how much they were missing, or how much easier life became since learning ASL. All of this is counterintuitive to everyone else except to deaf people themselves. People have said that the reading and math scores of deaf students have gotten from bad to worse.
My three professional and personal reasons for choosing these three subtopics can be applied to my revised early childhood education research topic.
1. Deaf children’s IFSPs and IEPs usually have a audiological and medical focus instead of a focus on their need for access to language or access to general education. The goal of the government-funded National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) is “to ensure that all infants and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention” (NCHAM, n.d,).
2. Consequently, there is an iatrogenic effect. An iatrogenic effect is an attempted medical cure that becomes a complication (Gerson, 2015). I keep hearing stories from educational interpreters who said that deaf students frequently come to kindergarten not knowing their names or colors. I also hear from professionals that this is “normal” for deaf students.
3. The complication from the medical focus of deaf children’s early childhood education is that, frequently, they become language delayed or even language deprived.
The three ways that I hope my researching these topics will have an impact are the following:
1. A public policy recommendation that intervention services for Deaf children and their families to include American Sign Language so that Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children will get 100% access to a language and that the families can communicate with their DHH children.
2. Their early childhood education will have a focus on both language development and educational.
3. DHH children will become more Kindergarten-ready.
Gerson, M. (May 4, 2015). The intricate knot of urban poverty. San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved from: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/may/04/gerson-the-intricate-knot-of-urban-poverty/
NCHAM. (n.d.) Retrieved May 2015 from: http://www.infanthearing.org/