Literacy Among Deaf Students Essay

3497 words - 14 pages

Literacy Among Deaf StudentsDeafness can be defined as extreme hearing impairment to the degree that a person cannot understand speech even in the presence of amplification (Rodda and Grove, 1987). A person can have a mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. These terms are used to define the type of hearing loss a deaf person has. Mild means that the person has difficultly hearing faint or distant speech, even when it is quiet. Moderate means the person can hear conversational speech but only at a close distance. People who are severely deaf can't hear conversational speech at all. Profoundly deaf means that the person may hear loud sounds but that is all (Andrews, Leigh, and Weiner, 2004). About 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born deaf or hard of hearing. According to Owens, Metz, and Farinella, there are approximately 10% or 31.5 million people in the Unites States that have some degree of hearing loss and that this number is expected to reach 40 million by 2025 (2011). Over 90% of these children are born to parents who can hear. Parents have to learn to communicate with their children in a way that they are not used to, they are basically learning a new language if they decided to teach their child ASL and assimilate them into the Deaf Community. Parents of deaf or hard of hearing children face many challenges, including the misconceptions concerning deaf people. Many people have the misconception that because someone is born deaf, that the person has a mental disability. And because a deaf person has a mental disability, that he or she is illiterate, or just not as literate as someone who can hear. This is not true. No matter if a child is born deaf or hearing, they all have the same opportunities. It is important for people to know and understand that having a hearing impairment is not a sign of lower intelligence. It is not in any way, shape, or form a mental disability. Deaf children are not limited to what they can learn. Deafness does not indicate a lack of intelligence or inability to learn.Literacy is best described as the ability to read and write. "It is the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential." (White and McCloskey, 2003) Literacy is not an impossible goal and children born deaf have every opportunity to be taught reading and writing. The best way to ensure that children will be literate is to have a good education, but before parents can chose where to send their deaf child to school, they must first take some steps to reach that point. The first step for any parent is to run tests for hearing loss. "Babies whose hearing abilities are assessed within the first few months of life and whose families are involved in effective early intervention programs for deaf and hard of hearing children are off to a good start…Researchers have found that when a baby's hearing abilities are identified...

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