Kennedy, C., Watkin, P. and Worsfold, S.
Language ability after early detection of hearing impairment - reply
New England Journal of Medicine, 355, (7), .
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I was surprised that the article by Kennedy et al. (May 18 issue)1 about language acquisition in deaf children did not mention signing or sign language. Deaf children cannot hear. This creates natural limits on the effectiveness of speech as a medium for the acquisition of language. Hearing parents can and do learn to sign. Deaf children gain real language competence through signing. The introduction of sign language into the infant's environment as the result of hearing screening should be the test of the efficacy of screening and progress in language acquisition.
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