[Source Education Week]
New research is stirring fierce debate over the use of sign language among young deaf children who use surgical implants that create a sense of sound.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that the long-term use of sign language holds back the speech and reading skills of children who use devices known as cochlear implants. These implants bypass damaged parts of the ear and send electrical impulses directly to a user’s auditory nerve.
Supporters of sign language, on the other hand, say that a visual language is an essential foundation of literacy for deaf children, even for those who use cochlear implants.