Signer: Ju-Lee A. Wolsey
Hello! Welcome to vlog #6. The new theme focuses on ”language planning and experiences of diverse bilingual families who have deaf and hard of hearing children.”
Three different researchers discuss and share their research related to families about:
1. Bimodal bilingualism
2. Family Language Policy (FLP)
3. Language choices
The overarching theme found the importance of access to ASL and English. Families valued ASL for their deaf children.
All information is provided in ASL and English. I hope you enjoy watching! Thank you!
Children with Cochlear Implants: Deaf Parents’ Perspectives, Attitudes and
Beliefs about Bimodal Bilingualism
Signer: Dr. Julie Mitchiner
In my mixed methods study, I explored Deaf families who have children with cochlear implants on their perspectives, beliefs and attitudes about ASL and English bimodal bilingual approach. Bimodal bilingualism is defined as using two languages in two different modes, specifically on a visual language and a spoken language.Families’ experiences facilitating their children’s linguistic development in both languages were also explored in this study.
I collected survey responses from 17 Deaf families which collectively had 24 children who have cochlear implants and conducted follow up interviews with 8 of the families. All of the families in the study had high expectations and positive attitudes towards bilingualism in ASL and English which was not surprising because the parents had the firsthand experience of being bilingual themselves. Their common reason for providing their children with cochlear implants is to facilitate their spoken language skills. Many families felt it was critical for their children to develop spoken English skills alongside with acquiring ASL so they can thrive in life. They felt English is the majority language in our country, therefore it is mandatory for their children to develop English skills, either spoken and/or written.
Also, several families expressed their frustrations towards barriers and oppression due to their deafness. Societal forces can be one of many factors influencing their decisions to provide their children with cochlear implants. ASL was also highly valuable to the families which is not common with hearing families in other studies as they believed ASL is critical for their literacy and cognitive development; it is part of children’s culture and is the primary language in their homes. The results showed different factors that influenced families’ attitudes and beliefs about both languages has contributed to their perspectives.
This study helped increase our understanding on the potential value in broadening possibilities for children with cochlear implants and recognizing the advantages of bilingualism in ASL and English for social, cognitive and linguistic growth. Supporting bimodal bilingual approach will also minimize the risks of language deprivation, because the outcomes from cochlear implants are still unpredictable.
Mitchiner, J.C. (2014). Deaf parents of cochlear implanted children: Beliefs on bimodal bilingualism. Journal of Deaf Studies & Deaf Education, 20(1), 51-66. https://doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enu028
The article can be found at:
Family Language Policy in American Sign Language and English Bilingual Families
Signer: Dr. Bobbie Jo Kite
This study was a qualitative analysis of interviews focused on eight hearing families with deaf children aged 0-5 years old which revealed the families’ beliefs, language ideologies and attitudes about language development in ASL and English. Most families cited being a bilingual family as the guiding force for their family language policy (FLP). The families also proudly framed their child as a bilingual individual. It was very important to the families that their Deaf children were happy and felt whole. The findings also indicated that the families were intentional in their use of ASL as the primary language, and English as the second language in the areas of reading, writing and speaking.
Following the child’s lead in formulating their family language ideology played a critical part of their Family Language Policy. The families also relied heavily on resources and felt most successful when paired with a Deaf role model or Deaf mentor. All families enrolled in ASL classes to improve their ASL skills so that they could be language models for their Deaf children. There were some challenges with implementing bilingual development of ASL and English in their FLP, particularly receiving ASL services and working with medical professionals. Many families relocated to access better educational opportunities that aligned with their beliefs.
The findings indicate that the connection to the Deaf community and Deaf individuals through the Deaf Mentors Project is a key to providing families with support to resist various forms of oppression from the medical community. The process of the early linguistic acquisition of ASL-English bimodal-bilingual development and its contribution to young Deaf children’s linguistic outcomes as a foundation for future academic engagement and lifelong success is supported through family language policy.
Kite, B. J. (2017). Family language policy in American Sign Language and English bilingual families (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (10683198).
Language Choices among Immigrant Families with Young Deaf Children
Signer: Dr. Christi Batamula
In a qualitative study, I interviewed eleven immigrant families with young, deaf children. The families immigrated from various countries of origin and there was a mix of deaf and hearing parents. Part of my study focused on language choices the families made for language use in their home and, specifically with their deaf child(ren). All of the families have chosen to enroll their deaf children in schools that use an ASL and English bilingual approach. Some of the families have a goal for their deaf child to learn spoken language as a primary language, though they see the benefit of using ASL.
Most of the hearing families reported that they use some sign at home, but that they primarily use English or the language from their country of origin. Most of the families want their child to be multilingual. The families decisions for including ASL for their child was influenced by many people. Teachers and staff at their child’s school helped the families who felt unsure about their child signing, or how to interact with their child, understand that ASL would give their child access to the world around them and that they, as parents, played a major role in interacting with their child and teaching their child about the world.
This study also found that members of their community with deaf children using ASL also helped them locate the school, and reassured them of their child’s abilities. These families, gatekeepers, are a vital part of the community as they can quickly gain the trust of the new, immigrant family.
Batamula, C. (2016). Family engagement among immigrant parents with young deaf children (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (10244555).