DEX’s views are not just founded on our personal or individual professional viewpoints, but backed up by a Best Value Review and international research, including a literature review.
What we found, from visits to 34 schools in the UK and in Norway and Sweden, interviewing deaf and hearing children, parents and professionals, and observing deaf children in classrooms and at breaktimes:
Normalisation of deaf pupils in mainstream provision and Deaf monolingual schools – this means not allowing deaf children to have the Deaf experience or to learn to be Deaf, and expecting deaf children to cope with, or without, hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Always calculate which means the deaf experience of living in a hearing world, by lipreading and listening via aids which is hard work as using hearing aids and cochlear or titanium implants, and lipreading, are not the same as having “normal” hearing. There is a myth that hearing aids or various forms and lipreading can replace hearing. This is a false myth.
This daily struggle is like having to do a mental crossword without pen and paper, and requires having to calculate all the time, rather than just listening naturally as hearing people do. Although many deaf people make it look easy, it is actually a massive feat, which can take a lifetime to improve. This “always calculate” also relies on the deaf person’s ability to learn spoken languages, since it is extremely difficult to lipread words one does not know. All deaf children rely on lipreading to a certain extent, although they may not be aware of it. Lipreading is very rarely taught formally, so it is a skill that deaf people have to master on their own. The same applies to listening through aids, though in some cases this is taught, particularly for those who are implanted. This is one of the reasons that there can be good results from implantation.
However, it is our professional and researched experience that relying totally on aids to hearing is totally insufficient for deaf children and it should be supplemented by learning sign language: bilingualism and biculturalism – see Bilingualism.