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More to the Story: Language first

16 July 2014

The BDA's Chief Executive, David Buxton was quoted in The Guardian's piece yesterday.

Said David Buxton: "While the BDA's concerns were raised, the piece did not capture the whole story. Cochlear implants and other digital hearing aids are highly advanced technology, designed to help some Deaf children hear better. However, irrespective of aids, these children will always be deaf."

The BDA advised that they are more concerned about deaf children not learning language as equal as hearing children.

"The BDA supports therapies that facilitate the acquisition of English in parallel with BSL. There must be a focus on teaching fundamental literacy and numeracy skills to ensure every deaf child has the same opportunities for learning and development as hearing children," said Buxton.

Recent research by academics from City University London, by the Nuffield Foundation shows that the British education system is neglecting the needs of deaf children. Deaf children that communicate orally (as opposed to using sign language) were assessed and the results showed that these deaf children had severe reading difficulties and in some cases were more severe than problems faced by hearing children with dyslexia - see full article here

Buxton added: "The BDA supports a bilingual child-centred learning approach to maximise children's learning potential, increasing their confidence, and success for later life. The BDA supports the view that the acquisition of both languages will result in better pathways for educational results, access to better tertiary and career opportunities and increase the likelihood of deaf children being positive and active members in their communities. 

"This will in turn reduce dependancy on state funding, such as advocacy and language modification support, mental health and community care support. A bilingual approach to language development will help facilitate and promote their cognitive, emotional and social welfare."