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Gallaudet Univeristy
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Language Development for Babies

"Parents should introduce deaf children to language as early as possible. The earlier any child is exposed to and begins to acquire language, the better that child's communication skills will become. Research suggests that the first six months are the most crucial to a child's development of language skills. All newborns should be screened for deafness or hearing loss before they leave the hospital or within the first month of life. Very early discovery of a child's hearing loss or deafness provides parents with an opportunity to learn about communication options. Parents can then start their child's language learning process during this important stage of development."

The above statement is from the Web site of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and reflects perhaps the one thing that the entire field of deaf education agrees upon: Early language support is critical.

There is a substantial amount of information available about early language development in deaf and hard of hearing babies.

The Clerc Center offers "A Good Start: Suggestions for Visual Conversations with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Babies and Toddlers."

The Clerc Center also offers Frequently Asked Questions: ASL/English Programming and Early Childhood Education.

Boystown National Research Hospital offers information on language and learning in babies who are deaf and hard of hearing. Language and Learning.