Myths and Assumptions
Myth #1: Communication and Language are the same thing..
Communication contains two individuals, minimum. The sender as well as the receiver or the decoder. This basic form is accessible to all living things. Nonetheless, it is the most basic form of understanding and therefore, delivers the most limited understanding. However, Language contains a system of arbitrary symbols that is part of a conventional way of communication. It allows for the most understanding and is found in higher order animals (such as humans).
Myth #2: Spoken languages are verbal while signed languages are non-verbal.
Verbal implies that the meaning is delivered with words whereas non-verbal implies that the meaning is delivered without the use of words. If we look at these specific definition we know clarify that signed languages are in fact words. Therefore they are expressing their meanings with words making it a verbal language. Nonetheless, the stress and facial expressions that accompany both, spoken and signed languages, are identified as non-verbal.
Myth #3: People who sign do "the hand thing"
In this specific myth, "the hand thing" is referring to gestures. However, gestures are very far from a signed language. Gestures hold no true word meaning rather they are movements used to express concrete idea. All individuals can do gestures. However, sign language has grammatical rules and a structure. All individuals can not do sign language due to needing training and education in the practice of it.
Myth #4: Spoken and signed language are processed in the brain differently.
Both types of languages are used in the same area of the brain. Both utilize the Wernicke's region for receptive language and the Boca's region for productive language.
Sensitive Period of Language Acquisition
The sensitive period can be known as the time when it is critical for children to acquire language. Because hearing children are constantly exposed to language when around family and friends, deaf individuals are already at a disadvantage. It is said that by the age of 6, hearing children will have mastered the English language. Because of this, between the ages of 0-6 it is critical for deaf children to be given an equal amount of exposure to language in order to keep the playing field fair. Given proper exposure and resources, deaf children can maintain academic balance with their hearing counterparts. Nonetheless, if proper exposure is not given within the first 6 years, language development can be significantly damaged in later years.
Cooing, Babbling, One-Word Stage, Two-Word Stage, Multiple Word Stage
Deaf children and Hearing children, at an early age, continue to have equivalent milestones. In fact, it can be seen from the charts before, that deaf children will hit a milestone first, when they begin producing their first sign at around 9-10 compared to hearing babies where they begin to produce their first word at 11-12 months. However, hearing children begin to even the milestones as soon as 24 months comes around. Regardless, it is typically after 24 months that the delays and differences become increasingly significant. Nonetheless, the two charts below show that milestones between hearing and deaf children have the potential to remain the same if nurtured and cherished.
Hearing Children Milestones
Language interactions are crucial for children in order to witness, process, and begin to practice their own personal use of language. Intersubjectivity occurs when there is a clear set up of language that will be perform between two parties. Intersubjectivity requires reciprocal responses and an understanding of the intent of the communication. In order to effectively have intersubjectivity with children, the adult must modify their way of communicating. They can do this with many different ways but the most common, and effective, is simplifying the language. This can be referred to as "mothers". Techniques utilized in motherese with deaf children are using a larger signing space, a slower pace of signing, and a simplified language structure.