Author(s): QuintoPozos D, ForberPratt AJ, Singleton JL
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Abstract PURPOSE: This study focused on whether developmental communication disorders exist in American Sign Language (ASL) and how they might be characterized. ASL studies is an emerging field; educators and clinicians have minimal access to descriptions of communication disorders of the signed modality. Additionally, there are limited resources for assessing ASL acquisition. This article is designed to raise clinicians' awareness about developmental communication disorders in ASL and categorize types of atypicality that have been witnessed. METHOD: We conducted 4 focus groups and one 1-on-1 interview with a total of 22 adults (7 Deaf, 15 hearing) who work at bilingual-bicultural (ASL-English) schools for the Deaf. Experiences of these educators and language professionals were analyzed qualitatively using a combination of grounded theory (Charmaz, 2001; Strauss & Corbin, 1998) and a modified van Kaam approach (Moustakas, 1994). RESULTS: Participants confirmed observations of children with suspected communication disorders and considered the prevalence, possible etiologies, and psychosocial aspects of such disorders in ASL. They reported frustration at the lack of diagnostic tools for reliable identification and intervention strategies to be used in educational settings. CONCLUSION: This work provides us with practitioner accounts proving that developmental communication disorders do exist in ASL. Future reports will describe primary data from signers with atypical language attributes.
This article was published in Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch
and referenced in Journal of Communication Disorders, Deaf Studies & Hearing Aids