A Psychology course I took last year taught me the significance of communication from infancy up to six years of age. Having been born Deaf and raised orally without any access to ASL, I can vividly recall as a Deaf child not being able to communicate with my parents, my teacher, nor my classmates, which is one of the reasons why I strongly support American Sign Language as an unequivocally valuable language for alleviating communication barriers.
I ended up doing intensive research on the topic of the Psychological factors of a Deaf/Hard of Hearing child raised without ASL and a Deaf/Hard of Hearing child raised with access to communication via ASL.
Here is a sample of my essay that proves that ASL does advance the Deaf/Hard of Hearing child's developmental process - when the neurons are developing the fastest.
"The first data that indicated to me that there are significant effects underlying the gradual development of a DHH child raised without access to sign language concerned the neurological connecting process. When you ponder how the neurons are connecting and progressing the fastest during the most critical segment of a child's development following birth, especially from three to six years old.
Edmondson (2006) emphasized in his article how there are crucial neural developmental activities that occurs during reciprocal communication that enhances neural connections in a four year old child’s brain, which is delayed in DHH children raised without sign language: “Consequently, one might hypothesize that many Deaf children's lack of early access to conversation, and in particular social facets such as speculation and comment about thoughts and states of mind, would severely limit their conceptual development” (p. 167). Edmondson illustrated how significant communication is to a DHH child’s neurological development"
(Edmundson, P. (2006). Deaf children's understanding of other people's thought processes. Educational Psychology in Practice, 22:2, 159-169. Retrieved February 11, 2010, from the Academic Search Premier database).
Segments of an essay written by Gina Dyson