:: Mishka Zena | Is Oralism Child Abuse? ::

Is Oralism Child Abuse?

Commentary: Many years ago, I discussed oralism  with a Deaf person and she said Oralism is  child abuse.  As a product of oralism, I was taken back by her comment.  That comment stuck in my head for many years. When I first heard her comment, I found it outrageous. Not any more. I agree with her that oralism is a form of child abuse because it deprives the deaf child its fundamental right to full access to a real language.  There are some successful oralists, but there are many more who are not able to master spoken English.  I would like to hear your thoughts. MZ

Lost during the strong interest in encouraging the deaf child to master verbal and auditory skills is the lack of language access the child has, often forever impairing the competency in a language for life and the inevitable loss of self-esteem due to lack of accessible communication. As humans, we have rights to full access of language, and yet we are repeatedly denied these rights as children by hearing people who lost the sight of importance for full language access. The deprivation of fully accessible language is forbidden in prisons as an unusual and cruel punishment. Yet yet this is routinely practiced on deaf children by hearing people who already are aware of a visible language, but refused to  expose the babies ASL due to an internal bias of sign language. 
Under the definition of ADA, we are accorded full access of language just like our hearing peers.

At what age does the rights of deaf babies and children to a fully accessible language begin? 

Mishka Zena’s blog

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