A Call for Early Intervention I am a recently retired SLP who had a classroom full of deaf high-schoolers with “speech/language” on their IEPs. I also worked with an agency high-schooler on language who received a cochlear implant in infancy, courtesy of Medicaid. These are my observations during the years I served this population. The ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   July 01, 2016
A Call for Early Intervention
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Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / Inbox
Inbox   |   July 01, 2016
A Call for Early Intervention
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.IN3.21072016.5
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.IN3.21072016.5
I am a recently retired SLP who had a classroom full of deaf high-schoolers with “speech/language” on their IEPs. I also worked with an agency high-schooler on language who received a cochlear implant in infancy, courtesy of Medicaid. These are my observations during the years I served this population.
The teen with an early implant was totally intelligible, popular with all his schoolmates, and as functional and social as any hearing person. He also had his own breakdance group that performed at school dances and parties. A student who had received a CI later struggled mightily with oral speech and language.
The teens that used only sign language were initially hostile and defensive. “Everybody has two hands. Why doesn’t the world learn sign language for us?” they asked. When they took ASL as their required language course, they didn’t understand why they did miserably. I told them it was because ASL is just like any foreign language, and is not the sign language they use at home and with their friends. These students were years behind their normal-hearing peers in literacy skills and developed few friendships outside the deaf community.
This country must provide for early intervention and training for deaf children. Expectations must be that the child will learn to communicate with everyone in some manner, not just with the deaf, and that they must learn a marketable skill from which they can derive economic independence and be able to fulfill their potential and make choices about their future.
Pat Keeley, Tampa, Florida

Thanks for sharing your experiences and viewpoint with Leader readers.

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July 2016
Volume 21, Issue 7