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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sun Jun 25, 2000  11:42 pm
Subject:  Re: SignWriting can inspire speech....


On 6/25/00, Nancy Cole wrote:
> My students have speech therapy too, and I try to be encouraging
>with their voice. Also, I try to get them to go out in the real world too,
>and I emphasize writing at that time, since hearing people tend to
>misunderstand speech.
>
>But I'm curious...is German easier to learn lip reading than English?
>another of my 2 cents huh?
>
>Smile
>Nancy


SignWriting List
June 25, 2000

Thank you, Stefan and Nancy, Cecelia and Amy....all for your excellent posts!

And I just wanted to add a point....

The reason it was exciting (for me at least ;-) when Stefan shared
his experiences with us about speech, was because SignWriting has
been greatly criticised by hearing educators of the Deaf in the past
for possibly "hurting speech".

One of their biggest arguments against SW is that "Deaf students will
become so isolated with SignWriting, that they will never want to
learn to read and write English (or other spoken languages), their
speech levels will go way down, and they will not want to try to
communicate with hearing people"....That was what I was told by
hearing educators as far back as 1975...

At first this upset me a lot - certainly I didn't want to hurt
anyone. But the more I thought about it, the more I believed that it
might just be the opposite. That maybe by respecting and writing the
child's first language, they could respect and want to learn other
spoken languages too, with more enthusiasm?

So that is why, Nancy, it meant a lot to know that some Deaf students
were benefitting from SW in Stefan's classes - and my interpretation
of what Stefan said had more to do with inspiration - in other words
- they would get so excited about writing a sign that they then would
speak excitedly to tell the hearing person about the SW....so it
wasn't really based on lip reading, but more on excitement about
communicating...

Is that a correct assessment, Stefan?

I don't know if this will help other educators to look at SignWriting
more positively - but it is one piece of information that might be
useful....especially if there is some scientific documentation that
really shows improved spoken language skills because of SW...

But even if there is no documentation, all that really matters is
that in some way some children are benefitting -
--

Val ;-)

-----------------------------

Valerie Sutton


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