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Gallaudet Univeristy
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Critical Issue 1: Medical and educational professionals often do not recommend the full range of language and communication choicesto families.

The causes of this issue as an obstacle were believed to be related to:

  • The lack of identified funding to support research and professional education to impact change in this area.
  • Professionals’ fear of advancing different models than those currently promoted.
  • The way diversity and multilingualism are not valued in the United States.

Some of the identified challenges related to addressing this issue were:

  • Resistance from the medical community to including language and communication approaches inclusive of sign language and Deaf Culture for children with cochlear implants
  • The difficulty in promoting family and professional understanding of American Sign Language as a full and rich language.
  • The difficulty in convincing families to consider practices inclusive of sign, when medical professionals often do not understand and share this perspective.
  • Educational professionals biased to sharing only oral education options to families.
  • The belief of some professionals that parents won’t be able to learn ASL and develop the skills to use it as a language with their children.
Some of the strategies identified by conference participants to impact change in this area were:
  • The development of an educational video to be used for family counseling and professional training which discusses and demonstrates the benefit of approaches inclusive of sign language and spoken language for children with cochlear implants.
  • The development and dissemination of a reader-friendly research synopsis supporting consideration of approaches inclusive of spoken language and sign language for children with cochlear implants.
  • Encouraging educational professionals supportive of including both sign and spoken language for children with cochlear implants to work within their communities to identify a plan to share information with hospital cochlear implant centers.