CURRENT RESEARCH FINDINGS
The Visual Language and Learning Center (VL2) is an NSF Science of Learning Center that does groundbreaking research on visual languages. They have produced a series of short research briefs in ASL as a resource for parents and educators.
These researchers and professionals have come together to write several articles talking about the importance of early language experience. This article describes research findings and provides evidence-based advice for using sign language with deaf babies.
Humphries, T., Kushalnagar, P., Mathur, G., Napoli, D. J., Padden, C., Rathmann, C., & Smith, S. (2016). Language choices for deaf infants: Advice for parents regarding sign languages. Clinical pediatrics, 55(6), 513-517.
This article looks at vocabulary development in deaf children and shows that early exposure to sign language improves vocabulary outcomes in deaf children with hearing parents.
Caselli, N., Pyers, J., & Lieberman, A. M. (2021). Deaf children of hearing parents have age-level vocabulary growth when exposed to American Sign Language by 6 months of age. The Journal of Pediatrics, 232, 229-236.
Some people have had concerns about using sign language with their child if they are planning to get a cochlear implant. This article shows that sign skills can be developed without interfering with spoken language skills, and encourages a bilingual approach.
Secora, K., & Smith, D. (2021). The Benefit of the “And” for Considerations of Language Modality for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 6(2), 397-401.
This article discusses the problems with thinking of language as only meaning spoken language, and explains the importance of language foundation regardless of whether you choose to use speech or sign later.
Hall, M. L., Hall, W. C., & Caselli, N. K. (2019) Deaf children need language, not (just) speech. First Language, 39(4), 367-395
This interesting study shows that hearing parents are prone to using simplified, vague, or directive language when talking to their deaf child as compared to hearing parents interacting with hearing children.
Su, P. L., & Roberts, M. Y. (2019). Quantity and quality of parental utterances and responses to children with hearing loss prior to cochlear implant. Journal of early intervention, 41(4), 366-387.
This article shows that native exposure to sign language does not interfere with spoken English skills.
Davidson, K., Lillo-Martin, D., & Chen Pichler, D. (2014). Spoken English language development among native signing children with cochlear implants. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 19(2), 238-250.