Friday, August 28, 2009

{The views of John Egbert do not 100% accurately reflect my own. However, we do agree that all babies should be given the right to ASL exposure. Please visit the Deaf Bilingual Coalition's website for more information on this topic. Credit has been given to the author of this article at the end.}

Do Deaf and Hearing Babies Learn Alike?

This is my analogy about how Deaf and Hearing adults or children or babies are created differently just like a Mac or PC. They, hearing and deaf people are the same in very way just like a Mac or PC. But the only difference is the software program. The software disc that you put in the Mac or PC computer got data information that the Mac or PC understands what it written(embedded) in it and functions according how you communicate with the keyboard. The software disc could be Word processor program, accounting program, video game program, drawing program like Photoshop, etc.

Hearing and Deaf people are human bionic-computers. Before I go any further explaining more about what I will write on this post, you might ask this question, what is a bionic-computer?

Bionic-computer is a human being that its brain can compute to do things such as like calculating the coordination while walking or picking things up, etc. Your brain is always computing like a calculator doing the adding, subtracting, etc while controlling your balance, reaching for something, jumping or hopping over something, etc.

No one was born as a full functioning bionic-computer human being. Keep in mind that we all had to learn to crawl, walk, talk, sign, run, respond, think, etc since the day we were born. Our parents were the main educators, motivators, etc in the beginning of our lives. Then teachers, your peers, people, media, TV, etc became additional educators, motivators, etc.

This process is the education of our bionic-computer body(mind) that goes on until the day we die. One more thing that I want to say about the terminology of the two words; Software and Hardware.

The computer that you are using right now while reading this post is call hardware.
The disc that you put in the computer contains data so you can watch movies or video game or Microsoft Word is call software.

The Human Bionic-Computer is the hardware of the human anatomy. This would include the brain, internal organs, and other human organ systems such as Cardiovascular, Endocrine, Immune, Muscular, nervous, Reproductive, Respiratory, Skeletal and Urinary systems.
Your bionic-computer has stored program properties and self- metaprogramming properties, with limits determinable and to be determined.

You might ask, what is metaprogramming?

Metaprogram is defined as a set of instructions, descriptions and means of control of sets of program.How did we get the metaprogramming properties? You got them since the day you were born, from your parents, teachers, etc. It is the software education that you have and it is stored in your brain.

Now, let’s go back a little about what I wrote above; The bionic-computer has stored program properties and self- metaprogramming properties, with limits determinable and to be determined.

You might ask, what you mean by with limits determinable and to be determined. It means that it depends on how you have been educated, how much data flow you have gotten or able to receive from your parents or teachers in early childhood, etc.

It could also means that it depends on if you are deaf or hearing. In this society now days, a deaf person will have a good chance to get into the phrase of with limits determinable and to be determined. This is very, very important to keep this in mind as you read on in this post.

The title of this post is Deaf and Hearing Babies Learn Alike?
This is the same as if I had said, Mac and PC function Alike?
What is really the different between a Mac and PC computer?

They both look alike, same hardware, functions the same. They both have low level, average level and high level performance.

Just like in the society, we have low level, average level and high level minded human beings. You might ask, why do we have three levels. With the computers (Mac/PC), it depends on the speed of calculating, the amount of ram memory and the software program. With human being (bionic-computer), it depends on the early childhood of language foundation, how much you’ve learned the software program.

You might ask, what was our human software program?

Well, for a hearing baby, it was the data flow of informations that enter through the ears.
And for the deaf baby, it was the data flow of informations that enter through the eyes.
This means that the hearing baby and the deaf baby, both have different type of software input for eyes or ears.

The software makes our bionic-computer to function and the more data flow of informations that each receives through its eyes or ears, will categorize each of us accordingly as low level, average level or high level minded person.

Macintosh are the Deaf baby.
PC are the Hearing baby.

Hearing and Deaf babies, both require different software to be able function for its highest potential capability to learn… the earlier, the better.

This is why Deaf babies and children must have bilingual education- ASL/English(reading and writing) to be able learn to achieve the level at its highest potential capability. ASL is American Sign Language. These Eye software input bilingual education program are for babies that don’t have the natural Ear software input capability.

Over the years, we, the deaf people, or should I say, the Mac computers have been using the PC “ear” software indoctrinated by the so-call-experts ( i.e. AGBell ) thinking that we deaf (Mac) people could hear and speak 100% like hearing (PC) people. {ASLasl does not necessarily share this claim made toward the AGBell but does feel that awareness of the contrasting approaches to deaf education need greater attention}

The Deaf babies have been deprived of having the use of appropriated software program to be able to function fully like hearing babies since 1880.

Parents of Deaf children need to grasp this simple concept that once the child learns a language(ASL) to learn how to learn. Teaching speech and English language is so much easier.

DEAF BILINGUAL COALITION believes that all babies should learn sign language regardless if the baby is hearing or deaf because it has proven that all babies can learn signs as early as 4 months and every baby will not have their vocal chords fully developed enough to learn speech until they are 18 to 24 months. (Babbling is not speech).

But the ironic concept by Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Auditory Verbal Therapy do not allow deaf babies learn any visual language (sign language)

Bilingually yours,
John Egbert

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Signing with Babies, Much More than "MORE", "MILK", and "EAT"

I was pushing my eleven-month old son, J.J. in his stroller through the mall when he began to frantically wave his arm and turn his head as if to look behind us. I didn't think much of it and decided to keep going, however, my son had other ideas!

I was forced to turn around to avoid the scene I was afraid he might make. I retraced our steps to find a happy little J.J. dancing in his stroller. We had passed a store that was playing loud
music and my little dancer had found a beat he couldn't resist. That was the first time J.J. signed "music."

Until recently, signing with pre-verbal babies simply meant teaching the signs for "more," "milk," and "eat." Occasionally I even found a few parents that also incorporated "please" and "thank you" into their child's signing vocabulary. Today, signing with pre-verbal babies has taken on a whole new meaning.

Parents and caregivers are beginning to realize the benefits of teaching additional signs to babies and toddlers. Signing daily activities, favorite animals, and opposites gives parents and caregivers a window into the minds of babies and toddlers. Before they can vocalize what's
going on in their little heads, they can show us through sign.

As parents and caregivers, we learn to put up with a certain amount of whining and crying from our little ones on a daily basis. Although I was growing accustomed to it, I could tell that little J.J. was beginning to feel quite frustrated. That is when I decided it was time to teach him the sign for "help." Within a week, this became our favorite sign!

J.J. would sign, "help" throughout the day and I would enthusiastically answer his silent cry for assistance. This created a much happier J.J. (and Mommy) and we began to enjoy our time together even more. Signing allows us to connect with babies very early in their lives and helps us to see them as little people that have needs and wants, likes and dislikes, very similar to ours. This makes the bond that parents and caregivers experience with babies and toddlers even stronger!

Article by: Kelly Robson
Kelly is a fellow Sign2Me Instructor from Omaha, NE

Spreading of Deaf Culture by Teaching the Young Hearing

The largest threat to any minority movement is ignorance. The greatest asset is knowledge.

Current thinking is that the largest threat to the Deaf and their culture is the loss of American Sign Language (ASL). It seems that those who receive an early ASL education are only those who either have Deaf parents, parents who are linked to the Deaf community, or parents that have participated in Sign with your Baby.

Oral-minded early interventionist refuse to teach ASL to young deaf children and modern technology has all but eliminated the absolute necessity of it. However, the largest threat to Deaf culture is not the elimination of the language, but the isolation of it.

American Deaf culture stemmed from the formation of the schools for the deaf in the early 19th century. In their home communities, the deaf were often neglected, misunderstood, abused, and discriminated against just as other segments of society have been. Attending a residential school for the deaf was an opportunity to leave such an environment for a more communal one.

By segregating themselves into institutions, the deaf learned a new language called American Sign Language. This language allowed them to communicate with others who also signed thereby replacing feelings of victimization and injustice with feelings of community and ideology.

Thus the unique basis of Deaf culture is the ability to use ASL to fully communicate and interact with others. When more people can use ASL to communicate and interact with others, more understanding of Deaf culture can be dispensed and dispersed throughout the hearing population.

Imagine how different our modern educational system would be if in 1817, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc had established an American Sign Language program within the Hartford Grammar School rather than establishing a separate school altogether. The result could have led to an entirely different history for notorious colleges such as Yale, Trinity, Vassar, and Hartford.

Mirroring the effects of the establishment of the American School for the Deaf, had the Hartford Grammar School had an early education signing program, adult graduates would have moved on to establish other signing programs in their local elementary schools. Hearing and deaf would learn to communicate, share, socialize, respect, and value diversity side-by-side.

Children across the nation would have learned to view deafness as merely a difference rather than a defect. And educators would not have waited 160 years to perceive American Sign Language as an official language since it would have been used in the mainstream public education system for the past two hundred years.

According to the National Association of the Deaf’s Position Statement on American Sign Language, “Preparing deaf children to achieve optimal linguistic fluency in both ASL and English enables them to later engage in meaningful adult discourse as fully participating, contributing, and productive members of American society.”

Thanks to the research done by P.L. Griffith, Marilyn Daniels, and Joseph Garcia, we now know that the same can be said for hearing children.

Sharing ASL with the hearing by introducing it as early as possible into our mainstream educational system can provide hearing children with an early introduction to Deaf culture and Deaf language. With this knowledge, Deaf culture can be more supported, strengthened, and advocated. ASL can thrive in light of oralism and technology. And everyone can sign with their baby.