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The research reported by Conrad (1979) raises provocative questions regarding the relation between speech, thought, and academic achievement in deaf children. Conrad suggested that a primary reason for the difficulties many orally trained deaf students exhibited in the academic process was their failure to develop "internal speech" due to what he deemed the fundamentally misguided basis and practice of Oralism. In this paper the authors analyze one important aspect of Conrad's work. Though they generally support his position that the use of forms of manual communication in the education of deaf students is highly effective and desirable, the authors offer a reinterpretation of Conrad's work that they believe to be on more solid theoretical ground and that can lead to more judicious and appropriate strategies in educational practice.