When a child is born, his brain is a wondrous organ, primed to learn language and make sense of the world. Hearing or deaf, children are born with an auditory cortex and language centers in the brain. They are sponges, soaking up experiences and language input.
Morphemes are the smallest units of speech capable of conveying meaning. Words like “dog” and “bark” are “free” morphemes, because they stand alone and have meaning. Grammatical morphemes are tiny markers that can be added to these words to add to or change their meaning. They are “bound” morphemes because they don’t work on their own, they must be connected to a “free” morpheme. From 1-morpheme “dog” and “bark” we can make “dogs” and “barked.” By adding the grammatical morphemes of plural “-s” and past tense “-ed,” we change the meanings of the words.
We began our trip today at Centeno, a school for deaf children in Costa Rica that uses sign language. The school is just one department on the campus of the Center for Inclusive Education in CR. I’m not so sure what they mean by “inclusive,” though, because it was a school of all deaf children, across the street was a school for all blind children, and next door was a school for all children who had developmental disabilities. Inclusive? Not quite. Maybe it’s because they the children at this school are “included” in education at all, but it was a very sad thing.
I recently came across this Family Communication Self-Evaluation checklist. I believe it illustrates several points (does the child have access to ALL of the same information as hearing peers? is communication easy for both parents and children? etc.) that are crucial for parents to consider when choosing a method of communication/education for their child with hearing loss. I have only read this excerpt, not the entire booklet, so I do not know what, if any, communication methodology the authors support. However, I believe that the points presented align well with a listening and spoken language approach to educating children who are D/HOH. Here are some things to consider: