We recently watched the Oscar-winning short film, The Silent Child, written by Rachel Shenton. I learned that 70% of deaf children worldwide are not taught sign language. They are cut off from communicating with others often by the people closest to them, family and teachers. It’s amazing to me the percentage of parents who won’t learn sign language to communicate with their child.
The Silent Child illustrates what happens when a deaf child is left alone to make sense of what’s going on around them. Imagine everyone misunderstanding what you want and need.
The deaf community is often put in the position of accommodating a hearing world. Families with deaf children don’t–and often won’t–learn sign language. But these language skills are critical not just for later learning but also for human connection.
We need language to thrive.
“If children are deprived of language, they will not thrive.”Bruce Bucci, deaf studies instructor, Boston University
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