Children who learn sign from birth are more successful at learning language than those who are exposed to it later, according to Australian researchers. Dr Adam Schembri, Director of the National Institute for Deaf Studies and Sign Language at La Trobe University says that finding held true even when hearing aids and cochlear implants were involved. A press release from the school quotes him as saying:
Bilingual education is the best way of ensuring that deaf children have early exposure to both a signed language and a spoken/written language, which will provide the deaf child with the best chance for successful language acquisition, in either or both languages. We know that bilingualism comes with a range of cognitive benefits, so we would advocate early bilingualism in both signed and spoken language for all deaf children.
The study was a joint effort by the La Trobe University and University College London and published in the journal Cognition. Read the press release here.
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