American sign language interpreters in public schools: an illusion of inclusion that perpetuates language deprivation
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Citation (published version)Naomi Caselli, Hall Wyatte, Henner Jonathan. 2020. "American Sign Language Interpreters in Public Schools: An Illusion of Inclusion that Perpetuates Language Deprivation." Maternal and Child Health Journal, Volume 24, pp. 1323 - 1329. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-020-02975-7
PURPOSE: Many deaf children have limited access to language, spoken or signed, during early childhood – which has damaging effects on many aspects of development. There has been a recent shift to consider deafness and language deprivation as separate but related conditions. As such, educational plans should differentiate between services related to deafness and services related to language deprivation. DESCRIPTION: Many deaf children attend mainstream public schools, and the primary service offered to students who use American Sign Language (ASL) is generally a sign language interpreter. ASSESSMENT: We argue that while sign language interpreters can be an effective accommodation for deafness (i.e., students who are deaf and not language-deprived), there is no reason to believe they are an effective accommodation for language deprivation (i.e., students who are deaf and language-deprived). CONCLUSION: Using interpreters instead of appropriate educational supports may exacerbate symptoms of language deprivation by prolonging the period of time a child goes with limited access to language.