Dear 100 Hour Board & QueenLucy,
In Re: Board Question #22888, I have a different take on this topic from the two experiences given in the responses. I do believe that it is the family's decision and, when the child is old enough, the child's decision what ultimately happens. That basically is behind what Mrs. Franchise and LLL presented. That is the most important thing.
That being said, I would not rule out the use of ASL. Not Signed English or one of the others. In fact, no matter what the level of deafness, exposing the child, and the rest of the family, to ASL will be better all around. Studies on hearing babies who are taught sign show that they pick up n signing before they have the capacity of speech. You can communicate earlier. So a hard-of-hearing/deaf child would also benefit.
ASL is also a legitimate language. By exposing a child to ASL at birth as well as spoken language, The child's language centers are exercised properly and the brain connections are made. If the child cannot hear well it may take time before hearing and hearing aids are up to deciphering what is being said. If the child loses more hearing and becomes (or starts off) totally deaf, that child is still learning language and developing that part of the brain by using ASL
I don't know all the science behind language acquisition or all the language rules. I do know that if language acquisition is delayed at all, it affects how well a person can acquire ANY language.
I don't have any family members who are deaf or Deaf. I have a brother-in-law who has congenital hearing loss that didn't set in until he was a teenager. He is now up to two hearing aids that will need to get stronger as time goes on. He could hear and acquired language normally.
I also had a friend who was deaf. This person was not totally deaf but had severe hearing loss that has gotten worse over time. This particular person first went to an oral school, living away from home, learning Signed English (I don't know what kind) later, then finally learning ASL. This person can hear with hearing aids but it is still difficult unless face-to-face and in a quiet room.
One thing I can tell you is that if this person had learned ASL first, their ability to communicate orally would have been much better. It's also possible that if the oral school had been better at teaching this person would have been better too, I don't know. Or if the family had stepped up to the plate more (they didn't really - their attitude was, unfortunately, the "What do we do now? " "I don't know, let's pretend it doesn't exist" mentality)it might have been better. I just know that in this case, this person had difficulty communicating in written or spoken English. This person is very intelligent and has earned two degrees but because communication skills are not "normal" some people assume this person isn't educated or would "have a hard time fitting in."
This person has had to work very hard to overcome difficulties because of the earlier childhood language experiences and is doing well.
There are so many options open and this topic can be very devisive because of the opinions of the oralists versus Deaf (with a capital D - meaning Deaf Culture - which has multiple layers of thought itself). Also, the opinions of ASL users versus SEE2, SEE1, SE, LOVE, and even CUE users. Also cochlear implant users too. Being aware of these various levels of thought and the arguments behind each one is important. Your choice may have far-reaching consequences. Whichever you choose, make sure that ultimately, the whole family is there supporting the child throughout. I think that is the real key to it all.