By whose opportunity

Dictionaries define the term “opportunity” as “a chance, especially one that offers some kind of advantage and/or a combination of favorable circumstances or situations.” I said the same thing in my previous article about, “authority.”

Since the year 1880, deaf people have lost their opportunity to obtain an appropriate education including the mastery of American Sign Language and through it, the acquisition of English language skills. Prior to 1880, deaf children attended schools for the deaf where they became fluent in ASL as well as gained a good education in various subjects including English.

From 1880 to today, many deaf students have suffered from a lack of comprehension in the English oral-language-only approach to education. While this approach has worked to a certain extent with children that have a significant amount of residual hearing, for others it has led to academic failure. Such an approach eliminates educational opportunities for many profoundly deaf children. In the same way that waterproof prevents people from getting wet, the oral-only approach prevents many deaf children from receiving academic, vocational and social opportunities. It is really a deaf “opportunity-proof” approach for many deaf children.

If a child communicates effectively and succeeds academically, then the approach the child is using is working. If a child is not communicating effectively and is not succeeding academically, would it not make sense to try a different approach?

Thank you.

Of the Deaf People, By the Deaf People, For the Deaf People

© All Articles Written By Arthur Grant Dignan

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