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Editorial CURRENT ISSUES IN DEAFNESS Forms of Manual Communication Most professionals in deafness now use some combined form of manual and oral communication in teaching deaf children. There is general, but far from universal agreement, that lipreading and residual hearing are not enough. Increasingly , the question is becoming, "Which form of manual communication is best as a part of Total Communication? ' ' The choices range from American Sign Language , to forms of Signed English, to Cued Speech, to Pidgin Sign Language, etc. Making a choice is based on educational priorities, the debate on how humans learn a language, the effectiveness of multimodal sensory input, the limits of visual perception, and other complex educational and psychological issues. For example, strong advocates of American Sign Language argue that ASL should be taught first and used as the dominant language in the classroom. They maintain English should then be taught as a second language using American Sign Language as the frame of reference. Supporters of Signed English systems feel that mastery of English has to be the top priority from the beginning. Thus, the child must be exposed primarily to English in the classroom and at home. Pidgin English advocates see their form of manual communication as the most practical approach to delivering Total Communication. They believe that other manual communication systems are either too cumbersome, too different syntactically, or too visually difficult to perceive to be functional. The issue is an extremely complex one. Psycholinguists have done some of the beginning research. However, feelings on the issue are intense . For the most part, rhetoric exceeds fact in the arguments put forth. This is a healthy, normal state at the beginning of the debate. However , the need now is for research which addresses the complex decision on the most effective manual system to use in Total Communication . The Rubella Exodus This year and perhaps next year will see most youth that were deafened by the rubella epidemic of 1963-65 leaving secondary school programs . For many schools the exodus of these students will represent a dramatic drop in overall enrollment. We have some data and speculation on the role to be played by sexually transmitted diseases and other causes of deafness on future numbers of deaf school-age children, but few solid facts. If schools are to plan properly, these epidemiological data are needed. Cochlear Implants We have had considerable inquiry about cochlear implants. The recently published manuscript by Dr. Schein is intended to be responsive to this issue. See the June 1984 issue. NOTES The Annals wishes to express its appreciation to Dr. Howard Quigley for his contribution to the annual Annals Index. See page 487 of this issue for the Index to Volume 129. McCay Vernon, PhD Editor A.A.D. I December 1984 447 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0375
Print ISSN
0002-726X
Pages
p. 447
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-22
Open Access
No
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