No one-size-fits all approach to education for deaf children

A letter I wrote to The Sunday Times in response to the article ‘I was worse than a Tiger Mum’ that appeared on July 13th, was published today. I hope that this will open the minds of Singaporeans especially parents and educators to the fact that an oral approach to deaf education doesn’t work for every deaf child. May this article also help others to realise that embracing sign language and Deaf culture is a beautiful thing in and of itself.

There is also an online version of the article. The link is:

Many thanks to Alvan Yap the deputy director of the Singapore Association of the Deaf for the link.

My heartfelt thanks and sincere appreciation go to the Singapore Deaf community and many others for their positive feedback. 🙂

Article published in The Sunday Times on 27th July 2014

Article published in The Sunday Times on 27th July 2014


3 thoughts on “No one-size-fits all approach to education for deaf children

  1. Your information about outcomes is very out of date. The research shows that children who have access to LANGUAGE from early on, whether that language is spoken or signed do best. It is not true that sign users do better than spoken language users today, in fact, most of the research says the very opposite since hearing parents can’t provide fluent models of sign for many years. What you are saying was absolutely true many years ago, before newborn hearing screens and CIs, but it simply doesn’t hold water today.

    • Yes it is true that children who have access to language in the early years whether spoken or signed do best. However, the point I was trying to make was that not all deaf children can access speech even if from a young age depending on the severity and type of hearing loss. In fact, I read a newly published journal article “Should all deaf children learn sign language?” recently which revealed that sign actually facilitates speech.

    • “Sign and speech facilitate each other, rather than one hindering the other. The misperception that signing interferes with speech is based on what some call neuropolitics on the part of both the medical profession and the community of parents of children with CIs. In this common scenario, the medical profession puts the burden of success with a CI not on the technology but on the rehabilitative training the child receives, which amounts to putting that burden primarily on the parents. Parents, in turn, tend to be proud if their children make progress and take the blame if they do not; these parents shame each other and even hide from each other the fact that they sign sometimes with their children. All of these actions are misguided because there are no reliable predictors of which children (among those who receive training) will succeed and which will not.”
      From “Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language?”

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