Refocus on Research, Not Rhetoric I was disappointed to see an article that supposedly “focused on options” containing so much unsubstantiated information and, worse, offensive assumptions about family choice that are counter to ASHA’s mission as both a promoter of scientific progress in the field of communication disorders and a protector of clients’ rights. Several ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   July 01, 2016
Refocus on Research, Not Rhetoric
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Development / Hearing Disorders / Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Inbox
Inbox   |   July 01, 2016
Refocus on Research, Not Rhetoric
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.21072016.4
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.21072016.4
I was disappointed to see an article that supposedly “focused on options” containing so much unsubstantiated information and, worse, offensive assumptions about family choice that are counter to ASHA’s mission as both a promoter of scientific progress in the field of communication disorders and a protector of clients’ rights.
Several times, the article states that the use of sign language improves spoken language development in children with hearing loss, without citing research. In fact, there is a large body of evidence showing quite the opposite (bit.ly/ci-communication; bit.ly/development-hl; bit.ly/speech-prod, among others). It is disingenuous to pretend that all methods lead to the same results.
But more disturbing than the article’s lack of research basis were the disrespectful assumptions and insinuations made about the motivations of parents who choose an auditory verbal approach. Parents choosing AVT don’t do so out of selfishness or ignorance, no baby is born with a “native” language, and providing medical treatment and (re)habilitation to a child with a disability is not genocide. Why give any more air time to such offensive and illogical arguments that do not respect family autonomy? Instead of continuing to run in circles with a debate that, quite frankly, is over (about 90 percent of families choose listening and spoken language), it’s time to focus on supporting families, providing evidence-based services of the highest caliber, and advancing research, not listening to extremists. Children need results, not rhetoric.
Elizabeth Rosenzweig, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

We appreciate you sharing your viewpoint. The aim of the article was to move the conversation away from debate and toward educating parents on options.

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July 2016
Volume 21, Issue 7