Families Facing Choices
Key Words: Information, Deafness Related Issues, Deaf Education
Amy L. Pack
Goldberg, B. (1995). Families facing choices: Options for parents of children
who are deaf. ASHA, 37, 38-45.
Kent State University
Auditory/Verbal? Oral Approach? Bilingual/Bicultural? Three popular options,
two parents and one deaf child. When trying to make this difficult decision, the parents
need to ask themselves: What language should be the native language of our child?
Auditory/Verbal: Despite the degree of hearing loss, almost 95-98% of these
children have some residual hearing. The philosophy is with early identification and
amplification along with medical technology the child can be taught to listen and
therefore taught to speak. This approach also requires incredible commitment by the
Oral Approach: The goal of an oral school is to teach language competencies to
be able to communicate with the rest of the world and to become independent members
of society. This approach believes that since language is acquired at an early age, sign
can be learned at a later age.
Bilingual/Bicultural: This approach to deaf education is a combination of ASL,
language instruction, and English, both written and spoken as a second language. They
help encourage a strong sense of belonging to the deaf community, but also feel
comfortable in the hearing community and are aware of multicultural issues. In this
program, the child's ability dictates the amount of time dedicated towards speech therapy
and the focus is on developing the child to communicate and learn through accessible
Just as each of these programs are different, so is each deaf child. "A lot of
people think deaf children have trouble learning language. That's not so. They have
problems getting access to language."
Not every option is a possibility for every child. But, through early
identification and educational placement along with concentrating on the
child's strengths, that child has more possibilities to succeed.
Uploaded by: Jessica Soltesz/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major